My name is: Natalie Kuhn.
I live in: Brooklyn, NY.
I’m known for being: A founding teacher and co-CEO of The Class, as well as someone who sees kindness as a core value and espresso as a core delight.
I’m talking about: The Class is a unique combination of fitness and mindfulness meant to ignite your body, regulate your nervous system and bring you into presence.
You can find it at: Our digital studio includes The Class, yoga and meditation and is available in 71 countries. Our two brick-and-mortar studios are in Manhattan and Los Angeles.
Before I started practicing this, I was: I was a performer focusing on physical theater and somewhat accidentally fell into dancing for bands (like David Byrne and Yeah Yeah Yeahs) before meeting the founder of The Class, Taryn Toomey, in 2013. Back then, it had yet to be given a name or a website. Before The Class, movement was about energetic connection—giving shape to stories, teachings and songs. The Class is what transformed movement into a journey of deeper listening for me, creating a catalyst for navigating emotion and thought in order to come closer to myself and, therefore, the world around me.
My interest was sparked when: When I first met Taryn, she was teaching something that would later become called The Class in the gym of her apartment building. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is going to strengthen my body so quickly.” Pretty soon after I started to train as one of the first teachers, my mother unexpectedly passed away. When I returned to the mat, this method opened up for me and the movement became about strengthening my connection to every part of myself: my body, my grief, my healing, my joy, my consciousness, my spirit.
The idea behind it is: The Class blends cardio, strength training and mindfulness into a music-driven workout that brings you into the present moment. The experience is going to bring you to your edge where you’ll discover how to meet yourself in ways that transfer well off the mat.
My favorite lesser-known detail is: We often say that all you need to come back to yourself is one conscious breath. And with that, our practices range from one-minute meditations to 10-30min quick Classes to 60+ minute deeper dives, so that you can return to your body, your spirit, your presence no matter how much time you have in your day.
It’s so important to move because: Movement combined with awareness and breath can shift your state. When we move our bodies in a conscious and deliberate way, we shift the energy that manifests in the forms of thought, emotion and perspective.
Movement is not just about the physical because: Our body is where our soul has taken up residence. Movement gives us the chance to sift through the thoughts and emotions that rise and fall throughout the day, so that ultimately, we can connect to ourselves on the soul level.
The words I live by are: Movement is how we connect to the creative intelligence and innate wisdom that resides in the body.
One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is: Tension is not a requirement. We often think, when faced with challenges, that tension will protect us from it, when in fact it only holds it in place. At The Class, we use difficulty in the physical body to practice navigating the places and spaces that we hold onto with breath, with compassion and with ease. How we practice is how we live and life gets a whole lot better when we aren’t muscling our way through it.
The inspiration behind my playlist is: Music that will move you.