Mind, body and soul. Can you combine all three in one intense (and very fun!) workout? Our social media director Ksenia explores.
If you live in New York and are into wellness, then you have surely heard of IntenSati, one of the city’s most packed cardio classes, known for its mind-body-affirmation approach. So when I saw that Well And Good NYC was doing #SweatSeries (free summer workouts with the city’s hottest instructors) and kicking it off with IntenSati at Atheta in flatiron, I was in (even though it meant missing out on my Sunday sleep-in).
I didn’t really know what to expect, and I certainly didn’t think that I would enjoy screaming at the top of my lungs, “I am powerful! I am determined! I am willing!”, while doing a super intense plyometric workout. And boy, did we sweat.
IntenSati’s founder Patricia Moreno combines life coaching and exercise for a powerful mind/body experience that helps practitioners delve deep and reveal the best they can be through daily affirmations, yoga, martial arts, and dance. Moreno believes the power of deliberate thought motivates everyone to take positive action. “What makes a workout spiritual is the conscious intention for it to be so, along with the willingness to look honestly at ourselves and feed our soul,” says Moreno.
I spoke with IntenSati Premier Leader Natalia Petrzela, who led the #SweatSeries IntenSati. Petrzela is a master of getting you to work your mind-body connection in a way that feels fun, and a even a little therapeutic. “Expect to work your body, mind, and spirit by sweating, cultivating awareness, and practicing gratitude,” she says.
How did you get into IntenSati? Back in 2005, I had a trial membership at Equinox, and the membership advisor told me that a week of classes with Patricia Moreno (founder of IntenSati) would convert me. I took every class Patricia taught EXCEPT IntenSati – the idea of visualization and affirmations seemed way too “woo-woo”: I just wanted to work out hard and thought all of the “other stuff” would somehow detract from my calorie burn. I finally tried IntenSati, and I didn’t speak a single affirmation for 2 weeks, but I kept coming back because I was so sore.
Before long, I started speaking the affirmations, but ONLY for what I perceived as the cardio benefit – I could have been yelling “I am a loser” as far as I was concerned. However, within a month, not only did I lose 10 lbs but also felt more empowered, productive, and self-aware in every domain of my life… I was soon front and center in every IntenSati class. Two years later, Patricia created a leader training program, and my first reaction was “In another life I would…” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized how disempowering it was to think in terms of what I WOULD do rather than what I CAN AND WILL DO… and so I became an IntenSati leader, as a full-time student writing my doctoral dissertation and tutoring 20 high school students a week. Seven years later, I am a wife, a mom, and a professor, but I am also a Premier IntenSati leader.
What impact has it had on your life? IntenSati is way more than a workout for me. We hear about the “mind-body connection” all the time, but I have never seen it so powerfully at work as with IntenSati. This practice has my body more fit than ever, but that is just the beginning. It has really made me aware that what I am capable of is my decision… if I want to break new boundaries, it is up to me to believe I can and to act accordingly, rather than to fear that I can’t or the consequences of trying. In addition to teaching IntenSati, I’m the cofounder of a wellness education program in NYC schools and working on a research project on the history of American wellness culture, and IntenSati has really helped me envision these creative projects that bring my passions together.
What other practices do you have in your life to keep you balanced? I find time with my children reinvigorating, because hanging out with them is just about the polar opposite of answering emails, running around town, or writing at my computer. It can be a challenge to truly disconnect from work demands, but when I do I always find time with them so rewarding. I also work out 6 times a week, and do lots of formats, from yoga to spin to dance to bootcamp. Lately I have been trying one new class a week, which keeps me excited to exercise and feeling great.
Have you tried an IntenSati class? Tell us in comments!