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Mindful : April 2019
Taryn Toomey presents at the Glamour Celebrates 2017 Women Of the Year summit. Toomey has also collaborated with Lululemon on a clothing line, has recently started offering specialized classes at Equinox and Pure Yoga, and has put her name on a palette of muted pastel nail polish and bath salts. She designs her own high-end line of crystal gemstone jewelry, and even sells hats and capes that mimic her signature look. Indeed, what ignited as her own drive to exercise more mindfully—that is, to move her body in a way that freed her mind so as to open her heart—is erupting into a kind of empire of Toomey-inspired everything. Following Toomey on social media is so pro- found it could turn your day around, maybe your life. “To those who inspired it but will never read it,” she posts as encouragement to journal. In another she writes, “One of the most expen- sive things you could ever do is pay attention to the wrong people.” And yet. There she is, on a motor boat on Lake Como. At the Savoy Hotel in London. Lounging in Marrakesh. She’s even getting a bikini wax! Clearly the Ralph Lauren account exec turned spiritual crusader likes nice stuff, and who doesn’t? But as she crosses that border from cre- ator into celebrity, is her ever-increasing price tag ($5,000 -a -week “Retreatments,” travel not included) putting this work out of reach? Jennifer Wolff: In my first class you chanted about the birth experience, among other things. In fact, you didn’t seem to be teaching or leading a class as much as acting out the kind of cataclysmic epiphany many students come to The Class to experience. By the end you were on your knees pounding your fists into the floor, your hair stuck to your cheeks, your eyes somewhat crazed, and saying “Fuck this” and “Fuck that.” What was that? Taryn Toomey: Some- times I feel like I’m on the battlefield out there. I’m not just teaching. I say what comes through me. I’ve given birth twice, and I remember feeling, “I can’t do this anymore. This is so intense. When is this going to end?” And then boom, you start pushing and a baby comes out and you have a love that you never knew possible. I don’t often talk about the birth experi- ence, but that’s where I was that day. So for me, the rea- son I can teach and do what I do is because I’ve had a lot of shit go down and been in a lot of pain for a long time, and I’m teaching from the depths of a lot of things. People look at me and are like, “ What is this girl doing?” I still do this with a very soft, humble, scared heart. I’m still trying to heal myself. What do you think it is about The Class that is such a reve- lation for people? I have a true belief that there is not one human bet- ter than another and I am there with everyone. The thing I always do first is gain the trust of the room. And I do that by letting people know that they don’t have to do any of it. I’ll say, “ You can just stand and place your hands over your heart and breathe.” I give people permission not to do it, and then usually theyareabletodoitabit more. It’s gaining trust of the psyche from one’s own self. If you tell someone they have to do some- “The intention is that it’s basic. There is no choreography. You close your eyes and go. It’s actually a form of self-study. And when stuff comes up, what do you do? You breathe. You practice your ability to tolerate feeling and you stay right there with yourself.” PHOTOGRAPHBYCRAIGBARRITT/GETTYIMAGES 26 mindful April 2019