When I first watched the trailer for The Class by Taryn Toomey, I was a bit intimidated. Even as a health & fitness expert for almost 15 years, upon first glance, this workout looked more like a radical trip down self-discovery lane than it did an exercise routine. In all honesty, parts of the trailer sort of freaked me out. But friends and celebrities have been raving about the transformation, both physical and mental, after taking The Class so I decided to give a shot.
Putting my judgments and fears aside, I signed up for the 14-day free trial. I vowed to do a few classes during this time and really give it my all to see if I’d recommend this workout for my clients. As a personal trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor and professional life coach, I was intrigued to try it for myself.
All in all, it was a pretty weird experience — but not in a negative way. It was weird in a sense that I’d never worked out in quite this style. It was a combination of yoga, dance, HIIT, meditation and psychological discovery all rolled into one. The Class works with the physical body and the emotional and spiritual states to create a holistic and integrative approach to exercise.
It’s also a good system because there are live workouts (great if you need extra accountability or find an instructor who you really love), but there’s also a library of saved workouts that you can watch on demand to fit your schedule. Each class encourages users to focus on feelings, sensations and breath.
The Class with Taryn / 13 minutes
I decided to start with the founder herself, Taryn Toomey, and do the shortest class possible. I figured that I can endure anything for less than 15 minutes, so I came to my mat with an open mind!
We started with a pep talk from Taryn but not in the “ra ra” sense that you may expect before you start a workout. It was more about meeting yourself where you’re at on the mat, and just allowing yourself to feel inside of your body. How do you feel? What do you feel? Then we went “outside” of our feelings and into our physical body.
We did a series of movements, like jumping jacks and cat and cow.
Every few minutes we would “go back in” and put one hand on the heart and another on the belly.
The class ended with a two-minute meditation, which helped me fully relax and release and left me intrigued enough to come back the next day for another class.
The Class with Taryn / 20 minutes
We started the class with a breathing exercise, then went through a couple minutes of squats.
We took another break to breathe and feel after being in action, like we should do in everyday life, Taryn recommends.
During the squats and arm movements, she encouraged us to breathe out big and make a noise if we felt we wanted to release something from our body.
We then alternated between jumping jacks and dancing around while swinging our arms to let things go.
Next, we held the plank position and moved into a mountain climber. Taryn encouraged us to analyze the relationship between “wanting to feel” versus “not wanting to feel”; both the physical sensations of intensifying the workout into mountain climbers and also the emotional feelings we may have outside of exercising.
About halfway through this class, we laid down and moved into more relaxing bridge movements with softer music. Then the music built louder and faster and we moved into bicycle crunches (something I’m familiar with as a Pilates instructor!).
We got up again and danced around, shaking things up. After moving into jumping jacks, we slowed it down with breathing and meditation led by Taryn. She encouraged us to accept our bodies and our feelings, and to let go of anything that was stuck inside of ourselves.
The Class with Soeuraya / 40 minutes
We started slowly with breathing exercises, acknowledging where we were emotionally on the mat. Today I was feeling particularly sluggish — blame it on my poor night’s sleep or being fatigued from playing two hours of tennis the day before — but I hung in there. Soeuraya encouraged us to let go of judgement and just accept where we were.
We started moving with some slow squats and something I particularly loved: opening and closing the arms to open up the shoulders and chest. This looked like it took a lot of effort and I found myself saying, “Oh no. Not this.” But I did it anyway and it felt so amazing in my body! It was as if my sluggish feeling was disappearing. I’d compare this to the "runner's high" feeling after running that first challenging 1/4 mile, and then feeling a release and letting go and just doing it.
Next we moved into a lot of dancing around, then some mat work in a plank position and then onto our backs.
This workout was like a life-coaching session mixed into an exercise routine, and I absolutely loved it. Instead of focusing on this workout class as a time to zone out, I felt encouraged to zone IN to what I was feeling, not only in my body but also in my mind.
Livestream with Genieve / 60 minutes
I did a full one-hour class that was an elongated version of the previous classes, and felt super accomplished afterward.
At the end, I was rewarded with a final relaxation, like in yoga, lying on the ground with my eyes closed. Genevieve guided us through a progressive body-scan relaxation — going from the feet, up the legs, up the torso and into the head. Her calming voice coupled with the relaxing music allowed me to fully release my body while still remaining alert.
Livestream with Erin / 60 minutes
This time, I joined the class right after playing tennis. I was ready to keep sweating and try out another live class.
This was the first class in which I had to do my least favorite exercise: burpees. But it was unlike the annoying and fast burpees that I’ve been forced to do in workout classes before; it was to the beat of the music with Erin encouraging me through the screen to “feel” my body. Then I stood up and placed one hand on my heart and breathed.
Next we moved into a wide-leg, open-toe squat with punching, and was told I could close my eyes. I love doing yoga with my eyes closed (it puts me into a more meditative state and I feel more relaxed), but I had never done high-intensity workouts with my eyes closed, and it felt liberating!
Another exercise we did was jumping side to side into a modified side lunge while swinging our arms. Then we moved into a march while swinging the arms and doing the same side lunges. It was a more invigorating way to do an exercise that I typically do.
All in all, I definitely recommend adding The Class to your regular workouts. I’m going to keep the membership and try one class a week to detoxify my body, mind and emotional state.
After the 14-day trial, you can purchase access to the live-streaming classes and the library for $40 a month. I plan to take one class a week, so that'll come out to just $10 a class. I love the coaching and introspection that’s woven into the physical movements, and I think a lot of other people would, too.