"Have you been to The Class? You would really enjoy it. It's intense, but I can tell it's right up your alley, and you'll just find this clarity.", my friend (and fellow meditation junkie/spirit sister/card reader) Alma said to me. Never one to shy away from a coincidence, I silently thanked the Universe.
I looked up from my Mr. Tori's Tea with a smile beaming so wide, one could easily mistake me for the Cheshire Cat. "You are not the first person to tell me to go!", I said to her.
"You have to take it with Taryn. You will love it!", she excitedly said.
As I melted into the leather seat, and breathed in the SoHo House ambiance, I explained my excited reaction.
After a ceremony with a Shaman months ago in NYC, it was also suggested to me that I go to The Class. I knew NOTHING about The Class at this point. In fact, up until I walked into the studio, I knew very little of what the workout entailed. I had read everything on their website, and that was it. I had no desire to research something that kept presenting itself to me, calling me to come in and enjoy.
Sidebar: In one of my group chats it was brought up that The Class is mentioned in the widely popular book, The Fitness Junkie. I've yet to read the book, but it is currently in my Audible cart, ready to be purchased after I publish this.
I had no idea there was talk behind this "cult" as some call it. Hey, we call Soul Cycle, and Barry's "cults" too. I'm not here to judge. It wasn't until I told my girl gang about my excitement for taking The Class, the filled me in on some of the things they had heard:
Fitness studios can be intimidating. A Fitness studio with a following like The Class can be very intimidating. After a few flights of stairs, I pushed the door open to one of the most aesthetically pleasing fitness spaces I've been to. I was greeted to the sight of quartz and selenite crystals ("Hi friends!", I whispered.) The two women at the desk were friendly, and we even discussed the upcoming I AM #DAMNGOOD A GRAZE Wellness Experience, which includes a workout with The Class. I felt so genuinely welcomed - another rare experience to have as a first timer in a fitness studio. I settled in towards the back of the studio. I'm a book at noon, first row Soul Cycle junkie - I know how class positions and their hierarchy work, and I was not about to take a spot I didn't earn.
I'm not going to give you a run down of the entire class, because it is an experience. Instead I will share some insights from my experience.
I had tears streaming down my face within the first ten minutes of class. This wasn't the only time, either. The second time was towards the end of class, again I didn't even realize I had tears rolling down my face. Was there chanting? Not really. There is a release in voice and breath, similar to that in Kundalini Yoga. Was there group touching? No. Though like in any class, the instructor may ask if they can adjust you, or if you'd like your personal space unbothered. Was everyone wearing grey? No. Many outfits were that of muted or solid colors.
WTF, I Still Don't Get It:
The Class is a complete mind/body workout. You will use your bodyweight to push yourself past the point of comfortable. You will use your mind to keep you present, and accountable. You will be fatigued, and you will drip sweat. It is unlike any fitness experience I've ever had.
Helpful Last Words:
DON'T go into The Class with a closed, or presumed mind. It will only hinder your experience. I know not everyone is as open, and "woo woo" as I am - but trust me, the less you have going on in your head, the better experience you'll have. Allow yourself to surrender to whatever you are feeling. It's not a dance class, but if you have any modern, or movement experience, it may assist you in feeling more comfortable with the movements. Breathe. Seriously, remember to breathe.
One of the things I loved so much about my experience with Taryn, was the therapeutic feeling of letting go. I walked out, and the women at the front desk asked how I liked it. "I feel like I've come home.", I said to them. With faces beaming, they asked if I would like to talk to Taryn. For a short amount of time, Taryn and I discussed the Chicago event, my feelings on the class, and general blessings. The Class made me feel connected. This studio has the same vibes as I do. They understand how important it is to allow yourself to come into a space that encourages you to shed all the bull shit that you carry. A space that invites you be yourself, to cry, scream, laugh, and play. The Chanel products, and gold bobby pins are just an extra illumination on top of the gold, open light after class.
For more on The Class, check out my friend, Kacie Diamond's discussion with Jeannie Smith on A Cold Sweat podcast.
I have spectated everything from a 5k to a triathlon. I watched in awe as these regular humans conquered their fitness goals. I spectated you see, because I "couldn't" run/play sport. I was never a "sporty" kid. I dreaded the mile in school more than your pet dreads the vet. In my head you see running and sports in general, was reserved for the biologically lucky - the people who had natural athlete bodies. I was not one of those people - So I watched them. I cheered them. I believed in them.
Spectating is so much more than holding up a sign.
Spectators make all the
I realized the importance of spectating when I ran the Chicago Marathon. I now make funny signs, and cheer on random strangers (by name hopefully, if they have it on their shirt!) -anon
I could go on about how spectating is inspiring, and how everyone should do it. However, there is one thing that we have to remind ourselves: not everybody is going to support you, your goals, and dreams. In a group discussion about the marathon I eagerly asked a few friends if they were going to come out and watch.
A few just avoided the question and stood silent. I'll never forget the look on their face and what one said,
Honey, I love you. But I'm not going to wake up early on a Sunday and stand around while people run. I don't love you that much.
Did it hurt to hear that? Absolutely. But it's okay. Yes, we want our circle of people to show support. We spend countless hours training in every condition. We are up before the sun, and sacrifice Friday nights for Saturday early runs. That is our choice.
Not spectating is others choice, and that is okay. Just because someone isn't on the sidelines, doesn't mean they aren't proud of you. And just because someone doesn't wish you luck, or give you props doesn't mean they aren't proud of you.
When you're out there, competing in your sport the only thing that matters is you and your goal. We need to remember to be proud of ourselves.
To see my friends doing their thing, and to see people accomplish their goals. It's pretty moving to see someone complete something they've worked so hard for. Inspiring! - anon
A few things to remember when spectating any event:
- bring food & water for yourself
- plan your outfit and shoe choice for the weather
- ask your athlete if they want you to have anything specific for them
- be prepared to catch miscellaneous items of clothes - we layer up and heat up fast, so go ahead and catch that pair of $2 Walgreens gloves, we'll want them for the next one (and because we're spending money on a new pair of shoes after this)
- plan your route before
- plan a meeting spot post event
- yell athletes names if they have it on their shirt - seriously, it gives us a mad boost of confidence
- MORE. COWBELL.
The enthusiasm and appreciation of the crowd improves the experience you have. Most people aren't racing as competitors, for them the race is about experience, and the crowd boosts the experience. - anon
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Whether you're training for your first 5k, or just looking for some quick moves to do during your next Netflix binge, you'll find tips here.
You'll also find: recaps of races, and various fitness events; athlete recovery options; and perhaps a surprise interview with some inspiring fitness professionals.