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A fitness class that changes more than your body. Is it the next yoga?


IntenSati mind-body fitness class at EquinoxA popular cardio class that includes martial arts moves and personal affirmations, IntenSati claims to change not just your dress size but your life. And scads of New York women wooed by the mind-body classes (that also seem to deliver flat abs and high-bouncy butts) are joining its spiritually infused teaching-training program. These newly minted teachers are fanning the city and spreading the word of self-improvement, much like yoga’s swell in the 90s.

IntenSati (it rhymes with “intense body”) classes are some of the city’s most packed. It gets its fitness recruits—and mind-body credentials—by pairing a positive-life philosophy with a hard-core fitness regime. The concept stems from passionate founder Patricia Moreno’s background in yoga and life coaching—with a dash of Deepak Chopra and Esther Hicks (author of the Power of Attraction).

IntenSati instructor Cole Hernandez took her first IntenSati class at Equinox about a year ago, thinking she’d tune into the workout and tune out the message. But instead, when the call-and-response affirmations began, such as “Every day, in a very true way, I co-create my reality,” the then 31-year old, who was in a career standstill and a painful on-again off-again relationship, heard the call. “At first, it was a little weird to chant along. But with the intense cardio workout, it started to feel like a detox. At end of the class, there’s a meditation where you focus on change, and I just started crying. It felt like I had been cleansed of the negative chatter in my head.” Hernandez went to three classes a week for about nine months before she signed up for Leader training.

Cole Hernandez, IntenSati
Cole Hernandez credits IntenSati classes for helping her trade up her "just-okay" life for one that's way more satisfying

Even though Hernandez had just done a marathon, she felt IntenSati gave her definition (particularly in the butt and legs) that her hard-core running training never did. “Running didn’t affect my way of thinking. In class I was learning how we choose our thoughts; that I can choose to fill my head with worrying, self-blaming, whining, or negative thoughts. Or something else. That had never occurred to me before,” says Hernandez, who started thinking more about her inner life and happiness than her handbags. “My experience in IntenSati is probably like what some people get when they go deeply into yoga study and practice,” she says.

Last month Hernandez completed IntenSati Leader training, which covers the physical and metaphysical aspects of the discipline. “Probably the hardest part of training for me wasn’t the day-long workouts. It was learning to be really open and honest with other people.” It’s just not something that living in this city nurtures, which Hernandez and her just-trained peers seek to change by example. “This isn’t just another fitness class,” says Hernandez. “It changes the way you think. And who you want to be.”

IntenSati is offered at Equinox Gyms, www.equinox.com, and studios around the city. Visit SatiLife.com for a full schedule. Instructor Lindsay Davis offers free IntenSati classes on Saturdays at 10 a.m. in Central Park.

Have you tried an IntenSati class (for fitness or soul-searching reasons)? Tell us, here!

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compound exercises

5 do-it-all exercise moves that work your entire body at once