We Talk To The Dynamic Natalie From The Class
Tell us about The Class by Taryn Toomey?
The Class is a full-body, cathartic movement experience that sculpts, shapes and strengthens the body while accessing and releasing emotion, stress and energy. In The Class you build a lean, strong body and cleanse the emotional and spiritual self through intense physical exertion, therapeutic instruction, and heart-pumping music. The challenging movement creates contraction and release that cleanses age-old emotional habits stored in the body. Cardio blasts flush the system to create new fertile space for positive change, unveiling untapped strength in every possible sense of the word.
Tell us about your journey to teaching The Class?
In my 20s, I was performing in theater and dancing for bands. The thing that always drew me to live performance was that people intentionally go to see theater or a concert to have an experience. They enter into a space in which they are invited to feel deeply. The lights dim, the music comes on, and anything could happen. But meeting Taryn was a watershed moment for me. I was transitioning out of that world but unclear about what to transition into. I met her while she was teaching what would later become known as The Class for friends in the gym of her building. We hit it off immediately and we formulated a work/study program. The Class is a blend of all I hoped movement could be: expressive, cathartic, challenging, healing, community building.
What kind of results do you see from your students?
The Class is certainly physically rigorous so our students do see a definite change in their bodies quickly (leaner, more toned, stronger). But it is also much more than that: it is an emotional and energetic experience. Many of our students tell us that the work done on the mat has a direct correlation with how they act and react to challenge and intensity in the rest of their lives.
Describe a typical day (or week) of work for you.
Even though I now live in LA, I am very much involved with all that happens for The Class's larger umbrella. So I like to check in with emails early in the morning before I go teach class. That means that I wake up at either 5:15am or 6am depending on what class I'm teaching, work for a little bit, and head to either the Venice or Brentwood studio. I am very particular about how I set up the space for class so I give myself plenty of time before the students arrive. After class, if I have a few minutes, I like to chat with the folks in our community over a tea or smoothie before heading back into the land of emails. One of the greatest parts of my job is that I get to produce our retreats and our detox program. Gratefully, sitting down at my computer doesn't have that "email slog" feeling. At the end of the day if I'm not teaching or going to an event, I take my dog on a long walk with my iPod and begin planning class for the next day. Dinner with my husband, rinse and repeat!
Who do you admire in this space?
I'm currently on the plane back to LA from producing our Martha's Vineyard summer retreat where we had the great pleasure of 2 - 3 hour long classes with Taryn, afternoon yin yoga with Kevin Courtney, and sessions with Thomas Droge. I greatly admire these powerhouses of self-discovery and healing. I also read quite a bit of poetry and the work of David Whyte is endlessly inspiring.
Where is your favourite place to nourish yourself in LA?
I love Beaming for something healthy and delicious to go. The superfood porridge bar that they did with Breakfast Criminals is unreal. I love Gjusta for a casual sit-down chat with a friend.
What do you do on a daily basis that you find keeps your life on track in a holistic way?
SLEEP. I do what I have to do to get 7 hours of sleep. Sadly, that makes me quite the grandma socially but to be able to function at my best, I make that a big priority.
What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?
I just want to keep learning. I want to keep deepening my work as a student so that I can continue to strengthen myself as a teacher.
Anything to add?
We had the most amazing 14 year old gal on our retreat, Alex Prakke. The first time we've had a daughter that young join us. As I was washing dishes, she asked me how she can stay positive around people / friends who are negative. First of all, what a profound line of questioning for someone so young. It took me a second. But I think that you can only stay in your light if you have a clear understanding of your own values and boundaries. Without them, someone else's harsh mood, look, words, could turn what might be a tough 5 minutes for them into a bad 5 minutes, days, weeks, months, years for you.