The Class Founder Taryn Toomey’s Top Trick to Staying Focused

By Lindsey O'Connell

Have you ever wondered how Jennifer Aniston and Gisele Bündchen got their toned bods (well, other than discipline!)? Her name is Taryn Toomey. The fashion industry pro turned wellness CEO started The Class in 2013 with the goal to reinvent the way we look at fitness, and focus on the “practice of self study.” 

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself suddenly brought to tears in one of the classes (and not just because it’s hard physically). She explains, “Students are invited to witness their response to whatever arises during the movement—anything from physical discomfort to unexpressed emotions.” 

We chatted with Toomey about how things have changed for her since the pandemic hit, ways she’s prioritizing health in these challenging times, and how self care connects to everything she does.

Read on to learn how Taryn Toomey lives a nutritious life…

How have things changed for you since COVID-19 hit? The work of The Class has always been an ‘inside job” centered around bringing awareness and creating a space to process and release, so we can engage with one another from a more connected place. Our mission and the core of who we are has always remained the same. I’m so grateful that the work has remained true to what it’s always been, and that we ‘heard the call’ to set up our Digital Studio before these uncertain times.

What are some of your tips to staying focused…especially now? I often suggest scheduling your workouts or self care as if you are scheduling a meeting, and mark it in your calendar. Then, commit to tolerating the feeling around it while you implement a new way of being. I think community is key to helping you stay the course, encouraging one another, and creating a circle around you that you can go to for support when you feel like you want to quit.  

Once your body and mind begin to change to your new way of being, it becomes your new normal, and there is less effort needed to implement the action. We say in The Class all the time, “practice your practice, and then you become your practice.”

What is your fitness philosophy? Take care of yourself…your heart. Tune in to the intelligence that is in your own body. You choose. There is a big difference between resistance and injury. We are not looking to create injury.  We are looking to activate resistance. In THAT space, we begin to practice.

How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice?  I prefer to work out in the morning on an empty stomach as I find this to be most effective for both my headspace and my body.  I usually try to leave one hour open in the morning for a workout so I can set myself up for the day. That being said, this isn’t always possible when running a company and having back-to-back meetings. I will get one in whenever I see a window. Movement is a very important and medicinal part of my life, so I prioritize it every day. This may seem obvious, but my workout of choice is The Class, especially these days when practicing from home on our digital platform.

How do you motivate yourself (and your clients) to work out? I believe in the medicinal power of music and movement. I often suggest creating a playlist that ignites and energizes the system.  Select songs that have a strong beat and energy, and move to them.  I love songs that swell and crescendo because they have the potential to create endorphins. 

As for students practicing from home, I really think it’s about discipline and commitment. Stand on your mat and acknowledge or remove distractions. Consider that you are bearing witness to showing yourself your own ability, to committing to the sensations that come up with toleration, and maneuvering through change. It’s really about perspective—if you change your perspective and realize how you are showing up for yourself, and WITH yourself, as the collective moves together—the possibilities are endless.

Has it been hard to stay on track with your nutrition while in quarantine? I often use myself as my own case study, so I have tried many different ways of eating and cleanses to see what feels best for me. In doing so, I’ve learned how certain ways of eating made me feel versus others. I have found a way of eating that feels best for ME. It’s become a natural part of my daily routine, and a form of self care.

What’s your go-to breakfast? I intermittently fast, so breakfast usually comes around 11 a.m. and typically consists of a greek yogurt sweetened with monk fruit or a pumpkin smoothie. 

Your go-to workday lunch?  I like to eat seasonal foods, so right now, I have been making a lot of soups with pumpkin, butternut squash, and broths. I often add some apple cider vinegar and cayenne to help detoxify and cleanse the system. 

What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Well, it’s not in my fridge, but you will always find seaweed in my pantry. It is a staple food item in my home. 

Your favorite food indulgence? Lily’s chocolate

Other than water, what do you sip regularly? I wish I had a more interesting answer, but…just water! Sometimes I will add chlorophyll drops or lemon to help flush and detoxify. 

What causes you stress?  Technology

How do you pamper yourself when you need it? I enjoy getting dinner with girlfriends that I feel safe with or having friends over for a potluck—laughing, talking, and enjoying one other’s company. I think that’s incredibly important when you think about overall wellness. I find it to be very therapeutic.  

These days, things obviously look a bit different. I pray and meditate every morning and evening, and some days many times in between.  My self care is my connection to spirit, the Divine. I purchased a harmonium during quarantine which I have been using for my personal practices to open and close each day. Since the beginning of The Class Retreatments, Kevin Courtney has played his harmonium in the mornings and evenings, with long rounds of rolling Aums. I have wanted a harmonium since those early days. It has become a daily ritual for me to use it for opening and closing my meditation and prayer. 

How do you express and spread love? Actively listening and holding space for those I care about. 

What is your evening routine to wind down at the end of the day? One hour prior to getting in bed, I take a magnesium and supplement that helps relax the body. I check emails, text messages, or anything electronic prior to getting in the shower or bath. I let this be the final moment for all electronics. I turn my phone off and put it away so I slow down and close off the feedback from the outside world.

I’ll do some sort of water ritual; i.e. bath or shower before bed to wash/rinse off the day physically, emotionally, and mentally. I find this incredibly important, understanding that we collect our day on our physical body, and we need to clean it off.

I crawl into bed and read for a bit. When my body has relaxed and my mind settled, I spin around and put my legs up on the back of my headboard for 10 minutes. I place my hands on my body, taking time to follow my breath. I use this time to take stock of my day, not obsessing or analyzing…simply noticing. There is a moment of reflection. From there, I lay down and rest.


About Lindsey O'Connell
Former Editorial Director, Nutritious Life

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