A Busy Person’s Guide to Staying Sane and in Shape

A Busy Person’s Guide to Staying Sane and in Shape

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From left: the first class at the Serene House, a fitness pop-up at Bandier; Taryn Toomey.

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Courtesy of Taryn Toomey

Taryn Toomey’s 75-minute class — a category-defying blend of bootcamp, yoga and emotional catharsis — is the not-so-secret weapon of New York City’s fiterati, including Naomi Watts and Christy Turlington. Toomey began offering classes (invitation by word-of-mouth) in her TriBeCa building’s basement in 2011; she officially debuted “the class” (lowercase, because it’s more down-to-earth than “The Class”) in 2013. Sessions, in which Toomey helps followers rid themselves of “the sludge” (emotional and physical) and instructs them to “change the way your mind talks to your body,” sold out for weeks. The Class With Taryn Toomey, as it’s called, now has eight teachers. Later this month, Toomey will debut a fine jewelry line and open an outpost in Los Angeles.

Toomey, a former executive for Dior and Ralph Lauren, understands that most of us don’t have time for a 75-minute workout — especially during fashion week, which begins today. (One of her reasons for leaving fashion: “I was always running to yoga five minutes late, and I thought: ‘I must be in the wrong field if all I’m thinking about is getting to yoga.’”) Last night she taught a shorter class for editors and showgoers at the Serene House, a fitness pop-up at Bandier, a purveyor of fashion-focused workout clothes — and she’ll close out the week with another sweat session.

Here, she shares her tips on how to find zen and stay in shape — or at least, not fall prey to the madness — in between all the shows (or whenever).

Pause

In class, this is called “the pause.” It could be five or 10 seconds during a conversation — “you don’t even need to say anything,” Toomey say. It could be two minutes where you step outside. “It’s when you’re overwhelmed and you feel so much pressure that you want to lash out,” she says. “That’s when you give yourself a little space so you don’t throw fire on top of tension.”

If you have the two minutes — and this could be in the makeup chair or waiting for a show to start — try some yogic alternate-nostril breathing: Hold down one nostril, inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, then release for a count of four. “It’s a super-awesome back pocket tool for anything,” says Toomey. (Note: Avoid this if you’re pregnant.)

Shake It Off

Another bit of class you don’t have to be in TriBeCa to use. Toomey leads disciples through what she calls “the shake,” which is as simple as it sounds: Shaking your knees, arms and shoulders and fluttering your lips, which she says “releases the compression in the system.” She suggests putting on a fun song and doing this for five minutes. “It’s great for endorphins. And the flush of fresh oxygen in the bloodstream really gives you a bit of release.”

Run — Strategically

If you want to fit in a quickie workout, Toomey likes a 19-minute one she calls “the afterburn,” which you can do on the elliptical in a pinch but is really best on the treadmill or outside. Warm up for five minutes with a slow, steady jog. Then do three cycles of the following: Run one minute so hard that “during the last 30 seconds you don’t think you can go anymore.” Recover 2 minutes. Then cool down for five minutes. “It spikes your metabolism for the rest of the day,” she says. Don’t think you have time? That’s a story we tell ourselves. “There are always little slivers,” she says. (Warning: Don’t plan to hit the makeup chair or get your hair blown out immediately after this workout — you’ll likely still be sweating for up to an hour.)

Skip the Extra Coffee

Sure, have your cup in the morning. But Toomey thinks often we automatically reach for caffeine, drinking so much that we “miss the window of time from when it helps to wake you up to just making you anxious.” Drink some water. Pause. Eat a snack if you need one (see below). Pause. Only then — and if you still think you need it — have that second or third cup of coffee.

Snack Smart

During fashion week, especially, it’s easy to do too much grazing. You want to eat enough to fuel yourself, but not so much that “all your energy goes to the digestive system and you become even slower,” Toomey says. For snacks, she recommends a hardboiled egg with some hummus, a grapefruit or some almonds portioned out into Ziploc bags “so you don’t lose track and suddenly eat 2,000 calories.”

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