by Nina: The Class ends. Still in the zone, I’m gifted with Conner Youngblood singing and playing guitar. I sit there in a complete trance, soaking in the magic of music, no distractions to compete with my sense of peace. My mind is flooded with happy ‘highly’ epiphanies, reaffirming that the secret to being ‘well’ is a 360 approach.
On the way out, I scan the shelves and spot one of my favorite cannabis brands (the Hemp only version) — Papa and Barkley.
I’ve spent the last two decades chasing calm. I thought I had it down pat. Yoga, sun, rest, prayer, pleasure, and great cannabis — all while loosely following the Earth’s cycle.
When I began taking The Class this summer my mind and body transformed immediately. Through The Class, I realized why the calm I mastered and polished up with cannabis was becoming more challenging to execute. As someone who hates yelling, it never occurred to me I was really angry. And how come we don’t talk about anger? Perhaps it’s another emotion that has a stigma attached to it. It certainly does for women. It explains why my cannabis usage is up for what I considered a ‘disposition of no change.’
Meet Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class. Many ‘A-listers’ refer to The Class as ‘Church’ as it’s something much deeper than exercise. A cathartic purge of toxins, both biological and emotional — trauma and anger release, joy and fitness — all rolled into one.
Founder Taryn describes The Class as ‘an expansive, heart-clearing and body-strengthening release. This Class will challenge and enlighten you, all while building an incredibly strong, lean, resilient body.’
The Class begins with jumping jacks, that spill into long exhales as we shout HAAAAA! The anxiety diaphragm that never really exhales, automatically exhales to its fullest, and it feels soooooo good. The yang to my cannabis inhale, yin. I’m breathing again, without having to ‘focus on the breathe.’
Taryn Toomey: The creation of The Class is really 40 years in the making. I had a rocky childhood and experienced a lot of trauma, so essentially I was seeking a way to heal myself. I taught the method for two years with no name, really with the intention to track what was going on inside of me. I've always had a very fiery personality and found that after I moved my body I was able to have a more grounded, kind approach with myself. Being around community and music, a safe space to self express through sound not words, resonated with me. That’s really where it began.
As I look around The Class, and we’re sweating, shouting and sometimes crying, I begin to understand when our shouts as a collective become insanely loud is when Taryn touches on certain topics that aren’t so obvious — like confusion. Truly, I’m not alone.
Taryn: Your body will change physically, but that is not the intention. It’s a side effect. The burpee is not about the burpee. We're using intense physical movements to get the thoughts going. In that place is where we begin to practice - it's just a thought. We can condition the thought by believing it or by reconditioning a new thought. This is the power of choice. Without the awareness that you are having the thought, you cannot make a choice to stay with it, or to redirect it. You can apply our practice to anything. Through physical intensity, we are unleashing emotions and bringing them to a place where it stares us right in the face.
Caleb’s drumming vibrates through the room. I’m zeroing in on my angst living in a world that’s the opposite of connection but rather miscommunication. Have I really been reduced to emoji speak now?🤢 I’m angry we’re forced to communicate in this meaningless way — and I’m BEYOND angry that the right to my privacy has been swindled away by a group of unstoppable master manipulators.
Our HAAAA’s spill into free form dance from Taryn’s mood altering playlist. Happy and free, easily transitioning from drama to joy. The room is uninhibited and it doesn’t feel weird at all. Taryn guides my mind with ‘where are you going?’ A far cry from my hacked social media brain, that’s not an easy transition for my ADD.
Taryn: The reason why we continuously repeat actions, often through an entire song is to release the brain from focusing on choreography. We put the motion into play and then drop into a consciousness practice, observing thought. I found this approach worked because you're not thinking about what to do next. You’re having to marinate and deal with the frustration, irritation, strength, and whatever else comes up. In there the practice begins. Do it or don't. Stay present or stop. Lift the leg up or don't. And then it's just one more...and one more....and one more. And then boom it's over. Child's pose.
We’re hot, sweaty and completely still. Taryn tells us to ‘clean the heart.’ We open the heart, moving the arms with light wrists and hands. Prana flows through my wrists, reversing the damage of typing and letting the energy flow.
Taryn: I just knew that I always felt things deeply in my heart. Present day, I am still very affected by hurtful words, comments, and judgements. I have always felt them in my physical heart space. So after we've ignited this fire in the body, it only made sense to drop into the heart and massage it back and forth with the physical sensation. Close your eyes, bypass your brain, and drop into the heart and listen. Cleaning the heart out. For me, that's really what it is. It is a heart-centered practice, physically and emotionally.
Full circle from where we began The Class, now with open hearts, throats, no anger, and free spirits. We go back into jumping jacks, every mirror is fogged, the room is strong, energized and in sync.
Taryn: It's important to bring it full circle because the main thing we don't want to do is ask people to bring up and activate things and then leave them undone. It is a slow and intentional engagement of all things physical, mental and emotional, with loads of work built in to keep one safe while doing so. Integration is very important. We must pacify the nervous system to allow people to feel integrated before sending them back out into the world. This has been something we focus a lot of attention on in teacher training because we understand the power of what we are inviting people to experience in the room.
The Class ends and I’m light. Since taking The Class regularly my cannabis usage is cut in half, keeping my high, higher and the wellness dance exactly where it needs to be.
On the way out, I spot Papa and Barkley’s CBD.
Taryn: I use CBD when I wake up, in the middle of day and before I go to bed. I think it's important in the wellness industry for the basic things like reducing inflammation, managing pain and improving overall heart health. I've personally always been the girl that believes in using myself as my own case study. When I first heard about CBD I tried it to see what the hype was about and I experienced many of the effects that it claims to have. Particularly, I noticed a decrease in anxiety and a great improvement in my ability to sleep. I love the idea that you can take something that doesn't eventually lead to substance abuse, which then leads to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing...
Taryn, whats next?
Taryn: We are working to bring The Class to as many people in the world as possible, from all walks and stages of life. We will be expanding our reach through a digital platform this fall, giving people the opportunity to access The Class whenever and wherever. We have a lot of exciting things brewing for the upcoming year. We’re on a mission!
Taryn Toomey, Namaste. It’s been a pleasure 🙏
I hit the sidewalk, automatically look at my iPhone and leave it alone. I have the power.
Photo Credit: @RachaelDunville
I manipulate my mind to fight my mind being constantly manipulated
— Highly Epiphanies