(Photography: Mark Champion)
These days, when you can find thousands of streaming yoga and fitness courses online, it’s hard to really settle on one class you really like. Enter The Class, which got me in the feels right from the start – from their dreamy and aesthetically pleasing virtual studio to the incredibly soothing music to – of course – the incredible instructors that lead you in a workout unlike anything you have ever experienced before.
The Class is the creation of former Dior executive turned yoga instructor and overall wellness influencer, Taryn Toomey and it’s been said to be a mix of modern dance, HIIT, yoga, meditation, with a little bit of self-care thrown in. It quickly became a cult-favorite of folks like Drew Barrymore. Classes range from 15 to 60 minutes, with varying degrees of strength and speed, and an emphasis on truly listening to your body and slowing down if you need to.
My favorite class has been with instructor Amanda Martinez. Why I love it? I can’t really describe it. It’s something that you have to experience to really appreciate. What I know is that I have never felt more worked out and soothed than after taking her virtual courses. Sometimes I crave taking classes twice a day – it’s that powerful and makes you feel that good.
We talked to Amanda about how she came to be a Class instructor, what Latina wellness means to her, her skincare routine, and the tendency for us Latinx people to try and always “make everything work” (sound familiar?).
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Could you take us through your journey to becoming an instructor?
I had been taking Class since 2016, and to be a teacher was a giant and seemingly distant dream of mine. From 2018 on, I really threw myself into taking The Class, and then 2020 hit. Throughout shutdown I was taking Class A LOT. Every day and sometimes twice a day. Like so many, I needed an outlet for the total chaos happening in the world, and The Class offered that and so much more. I found out they were auditioning and decided to give it a go. I had already auditioned once before in 2019 and been told no, but I’m a big believer in divine timing. I know now that I wouldn’t have been ready if the answer was yes back then. Ironically, 2020 was the most terrible and the absolute best year of my life. Of course, I would not have chosen a pandemic as the way, but for me…I needed the time to be able to really show up and give the training my all. I needed to get clear about myself to get clear about how to authentically give and be of service.
What drew you to The Class?
Self Agency is what was and is still encompassing my love for The Class. I think as teachers, we are there to guide the path, yet the roads are built and cleared through the student. In the past, I have relied on an if/then sense of change. By this, I mean internal shifts were conditional to the external factors placed in front of me. I could only change if conditions were optimal. Now I know that I am the one to feel it, see it, shift it, and clear it. Anytime I choose. That is the most precious gift I have ever been able to give myself, and the catalyst to that is every single one of my cohorts at The Class.
When I take The Class, I notice an emphasis on taking it slow if you have to. I felt almost relieved because I have postpartum injuries that make it hard for me to do certain moves. Is that part of the philosophy, to make it okay to modify and take it at your own pace?
I love this so much! Good for you for listening to your body! I think this goes back to Self Agency, and that The Class is an offering. You take what serves you and leave what doesn’t. As a person of color, I feel an ingrained tendency to make everything Work. Effort. Proved Worthy. I don’t think I’m alone in that if I were to ask my fellow BIPOC. What I want for my community is for us to meet our edges and see what comes from it. That doesn’t have to mean faster, bigger, more, more, more. Sometimes we need to get quiet, go a little slower to really hear ourselves. If quick is what you need in the moment, go there. If slower is how you get to clarity, do that. No matter what, if it’s what YOU need, it’s exactly as it should be. It’s perfect.
What does the term Latina wellness mean to you?
It means showing up in the fullness of your culture, heart, and spirit. It’s a wellbeing that comes from being proud of who you are and where you come from.
What’s the one thing that always calms you when you need calm?
Tapping a.k.a Emotional Freedom Technique is a tool that I was recently trained in and is really helpful when I’m feeling anxious. You tap on energy centers within the body to relieve stress. Think of it as acupuncture without the needles. Also deep, intentional Breaths. Movement of any kind. I know that’s more than one, but they all help!
How do you take care of yourself when you’re not feeling 100%?
REST. Rest is by far the thing that I have neglected for more years than I’d like to admit, and it’s THE thing. That and baths.
What are three skincare or fitness or fitness wear products you can’t live without?
Old Navy activewear is my absolute favorite and body inclusive for sizing. VERY IMPORTANT.
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
I wiggle my toes and circle my ankles in bed, and before I get out of bed, I have a little talk with myself about what I want the day to be like. Then I get up, stretch, love on my pups, and make my wife and I coffee.
Finally where can folks take live classes led by you?
For now, The Class digital platform is the place to take live classes with me. They offer a two week free trial as well. We’ll be in person for classes in the next few months though, and I’m super excited for that!