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Taryn Toomey is the founder of Class, a workout program that combines various techniques (yoga, high-intensity interval training, cardio) with cathartic mantras and encouragement to discharge toxic energy. Think of it as fitness for both the brain and the body in a single, 60-minute session.
She logs around 50,000 miles per year and flies regularly on JetBlue to the West Coast. But Toomey doesn’t have any loyalty to a particular airline. “I move with the tide, depending on if I just had a nightmare situation with customer service,” she laughs.
Starting in mid-October, she will take her unique approach to fitness around America via a seven-city tour featuring live drumming from Caleb Spaulding. Ahead of the tour, we asked her to give us her tips for fighting jet lag, how to stay refreshed on the road, and how the lymphatic system is integral to the body’s overall wellness.
Wake up the old-fashioned way—with a real alarm clock
I have a no-phone policy in the bedroom. So I always bring a portable, battery-operated alarm clock so I can turn my phone off and put it away at night to prevent any interference with my sleep. I’ve created a ritual each night of turning my phone off 30 minutes before getting into bed. This allows my body to fully shut down and prepare for sleep.
I find it especially important to do this when traveling and adjusting to a new time zone and environment. At times, I’ll schedule a backup wakeup call from the hotel, but I find them to be so jarring, especially in a pitch-black room. I think a little wooden alarm clock is a gentler way. There’s actually a lot less space for error — I mean, I’ve had my phone not reset to the right time zone when I’m traveling before.
When you travel, pray for rain
When you’re somewhere traveling for 10 days and it rains for a couple of days, that feels like a gift, because you get to settle in more. On a trip, at times, you have that feeling that you should be in action every day — sightseeing, or going to a restaurant, or fill in the blank. A rainy day is permission from the universe to stay in and have an introspective, quiet, beautiful day to relax. Stay in your bathrobe, shut down, and let your nervous system decompress. We were just down doing a retreat in the Dominican Republic, and in the middle of the morning class, it rained; the skies just opened up and poured all day. And it felt like such a cleansing. Everyone went back to their rooms, and when we finally reunited for dinner, everyone said they spent that day reflecting, resting, journaling, taking a bath. That’s serious restoration there.
Embrace your inner eccentric
I have a wacky in-flight routine: I rub rollers on my face to massage it — the Jillian Dempsey gold vibrating wand. You start on your neck and push it up. It just feels so good; I have a facial device obsession. Then I put on a hyaluronic serum from Barbara Sturm. I have tried all these different ones, and this is the one that works. My skin looks plump and glow-y after I use it. I’m a weirdo with those face tools, and I think people wonder: “What is wrong with this woman?”
She has a unique, multistage practice to beat jet lag …
I’m a big fan of understanding the lymphatic system. It doesn’t run on a track like your circulatory system, but instead it lives in the tissues, and the only way to get it moving is through movement. A run, of course, will activate that system, but you should do something else before you go running. Go into your bedroom and do a series of dry-skin brushings; you can also use a hard wash cloth. From your feet, do a series of circular motions toward the belly, up the legs. Spend a lot of time on the stomach, then move up to your arms, hands, and shoulders.
I’ll end with a lymphatic drainage on my face. Take the flat hand from your chest and swoop up under your chin toward the lymph node by the ears. Then make a small, very light fist with your hand and perform tapping actions in the exact same places. The dry brush is for your skin, which is the largest organ, then the tapping action gets down to the muscle. It’s a double whammy and takes all of three to seven minutes. When you’ve done that, go on a run to get your heart rate [moving], so the circulatory system can bring fresh oxygen to the blood.
… and it isn’t just a pre-run ritual, either.
Once you’re back from your run, get in the shower and do the same thing to get the circulation going. And perform some hydrotherapy. Stand in the shower for a minute with the water as cold as you can, hitting the brain and the heart. Then turn it to warm, and stand for another minute. Repeat this three times. Because when you’re in the cold, all of the blood moves toward your organs, and when you do the hot water, it expands the blood and pushes it toward the surface. You’re doing contraction-expansion to get the body flushed out. It should really help wake you up.
The best wellness destination in the world is in South America
When I think about the ultimate mind-body-spirit experience, I would say the Sacred Valley in Peru. You go out at night, and there’s more stars and sky; I’ve always found it very grounding. I used to stay at this place called Hanaq Pacha, which means “Where Heaven Meets Earth.” It was a woman, Mama Kia, who passed away; she had adopted 25 children, and it was created to fund it. Now the Niños Del Sol children’s home works with a local hotel nearby to host their guests instead.
Check in with your psoas muscle next time you’re on a flight
I will do some seated pigeon-pose stretches while I’m in the seat — I do try to always fly business class if I’m doing a big trip — where you just kind of cradle your leg and rock it back and forth, feeling the ball socket of your femur joint rolling around in your hip joints. It’s helpful to release your psoas muscle, which wraps from your inner thigh all the way through the outer hip into the lumbar spine. It’s the width of a filet mignon. When people’s backs feel really achy, they have a tendency to assume it’s their back, and oftentimes it’s that muscle, super tight.
Refuse that in-flight meal
My friend [nutritionist] Dana James told me to always fast on flights to help with jet lag. I’ll eat right before I take off, or right when I land. But I notice the amount of air in your digestive system — just from the altitude and the way that the system processes anything you put into it — is expanded. When we’re up in the air, we get bored, and there’s this constant bombardment of food and snacks. The first time I tried fasting on a flight was from New York to Los Angeles, and when I landed, I found that I didn’t feel like my stomach was sticking out five feet wider than it usually is. And I wasn’t as swollen in my fingers and my toes.
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