I will admit to being a bit set in my ways when it comes to aerobics classes. I like spin class, I like Zumba class, every once and awhile I convince myself I like yoga. I hate step aerobics (okay, I don’t really hate step aerobics, but I’m super uncoordinated and have a habit of falling over the step, my own feet, or the unfortunate soul standing next to me) and loath bootcamps (no exceptions here, loath-loathy-loath-loath-loath). There, I said it. But, it has been quite a long time since I tried something new in the group fitness room.
This week a friend of mine invited me to join her at Equinox for an IntenSati class. I’ve heard rumbles about this positive affirmation fitness trend from a few sources and was already curious. I’m a sucker for just about anything that includes positive self-talk. I like “love yourself” style anything. Love yourself aerobics. Love yourself sushi. Love yourself rollercoasters. If there’s a suggestion to think happy thoughts I’m there. But, I like to love myself quietly, in my own head…not aloud to a room full of sweaty strangers. I’m a private Pollyanna—I do, after all, have a jaded New Yorker image to keep up.
After being moderately intimidated by the ridiculously attractive naked folks in the locker room (my friend joked that you must be already in amazing shape to join this gym) I headed to class prepared to talk myself back up.
IntenSati is the brain child of Patricia Moreno, who was named the best instructor in New York City by New York Magazine, and is the author of The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace.
Patricia wasn’t my instructor the other night though. My instructor’s name was Natalia, I know this because she took the time to come over, shake my hand and introduce herself to me before class. I’m always impressed when instructors know who is new to their classes without the awkward show of hands during the warm up. The first thing I noticed about Natalia was that she was seriously toned. When I whispered this to my friend she said, “Yeah, and she just had two kids!”
Later my friend also mentioned that Natalia was a college professor with a PhD. Let’s just say I can see a girl crush forming on Natalia.
My favorite part of the class was the speech Natalia gave before class which was about choosing our reactions. To paraphrase her, “I don’t believe that we necessarily attract the things that come our way. There are a lot of great people with some terrible circumstances to deal with, but while we can’t always choose our circumstances, we can choose our reactions.”
I mixed and jumbled the idea of the lecture in my head and came out with the resolution to stop feeling so overwhelmed and start feeling like I have bountiful opportunities in front of me.
The rest of the class consisted of standard issue high-energy aerobic fare. There are no special moves in the choreography that you haven’t seen; it’s all jumping around and punching in some variation or another. The difference comes that you mark your routine with various sentences of whatever the current affirmation is. Each move in the choreography had another sentence associated with it and I started thinking of moves as their lines, “I am LOVE” sideways lunge, “I am FREE” shimmy, “I am headed for VICTORY” running in place.
Hearing an entire room of people repeat these affirmations over and over again was kind of fun, and you can’t help but internalize them. But, there were moments when I was totally pooped from the workout that I had to choose between breathing and affirming-aloud.
All-in-all I left feeling better and more confident in my life, and had a 600 calorie burn to top it off. Not a bad way to spend an hour.