High intensity interval training in tandem with mindfulness is a new fitness trend hitting the Hamptons and beyond. SoulCycle’s Torch’d, TruFusion’s Hot Pilates hit last summer, and Taryn Toomey’s The Class, all incorporate the practice of self-study, once a purist yoga idea, and physical conditioning. Toomey takes mediation on the move in her signature offering The Class with a studio for Hamptonites in Bridgehampton’s BARN.
Courtney Deri, my instructor, started the 45-minute session with music playing, eyes closed, one hand on my heart and the other on my stomach, as I jumped around to the music. Deri instructed the class to let go of our worries and what the world expects us to be; this was our time and we’re in control of what we got out of it.
Rather than a yogi’s “om,” Deri encouraged a sound similar to an aggressive “ahh,” like I was pushing out stress through my vocal chords. The concept of letting go and just being is simple to say but harder to implement. I wasn’t the only one peeking with one eye to see what others were doing, how silly or serious they were being in their freeform. In that initial moment, I realized I wasn’t letting go just yet.
Using just our body weight, in a room temperature class, Deri took us through repetitive calisthenics and plyometrics, squats, planks, pelvic thrusts, and side skaters. Between each set of these high intensity movements, we were taken back to a place of rest, to breathe, to thank our bodies, and just be in the moment.
The curated music in the background unleashed a warrior spirit — a mix of grace, confidence, and Wonder Woman. It was a unique combination of increased cardio activity and engaging my thoughts. With each new set, I found myself pushing my body harder while letting go of comparing my practice to those around me. I stopped focusing on what others were doing, trying to keep up, and listened to my inner voice, accepting what I was capable of.
Once I allowed myself to actually let go and be in the moment, inhaling my personal acceptance and exhaling expectations, I relaxed. Eyes completely closed, I wiggled in silliness side to side in my freeform and my “ahhs” became “hi-yahs.” By the end of the class, I was in an enlightened sweat. More than that, my mind was cleared and I felt physically and emotionally freed.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here