I recently attended The Class by Taryn Toomey, a 60-minute workout led by TT herself that could best be described as a mashup of classic calisthenics, boot camp, yoga, and group therapy. There’s a lot of yelling involved by both Toomey and her disciples, lots of positive affirmations and commands to push harder, deeper, faster. Toomey burns sage before class starts, and her soundtrack runs the gamut from Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon” to “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock. To say I love it would be an understatement. No, maybe “love to hate it” will prove truer. The Kid Rock jam was a high point. Being told to “unfuck” myself while pounding out five full minutes of burpees is quite another. I left Toomey’s class that night feeling at once frazzled and empty, liked I’d hollered and sweated all the agita right out of me. I also couldn’t walk normally for two days afterward, so sore were my gluteals.
If you look at Toomey’s website, you might think The Class is a Zen blend of, well, classic calisthenics, yoga and group therapy. Her marketing omits the boot camp part. But that’s what made it such a great workout! Feel-good language, down dogs, and lunges are all well and good, but if you want to leave the studio with that delicious exhaustion, like your body is completely cashed out, you need to do stuff like…jumping jacks and beating your chest while screaming.
Y7, a yoga studio here in New York, has gotten super hot lately thanks to its hip-hop-infused yoga classes. If I hear of a third fitness brand pushing similarly amped-up vinyasa, I’ll call it a trend. Experiencing Toomey’s class got me thinking hard about my own teaching style (when I earn RYT-200 certification this April). How can I rev up the flow to create a singular experience? How much of that stuff truly matters to get people in the door over and over? (Y7 admits that it’s not for every yogi, and Toomey’s marketing might want to match The Class’s reality.) Music and spoken cues can transform a rote sequence into something wild and heart-pounding. But how loud is too loud?