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Entries in IntenSati (1)

Friday
Jul302010

Changing Members’ Minds: Enhancing the Power of the Mind/Body Connection


 By Patricia Glynn

In the August issue of CBI magazine (available soon in your mailbox, and online), in the feature article titled “Mind/Body Makes Sense,” I explore the vast, ever-expanding genre of mind/body fitness club programming. From the more traditional offerings, such as yoga, to cleverly crafted innovations, such as Burlates Boudoir Fitness, a seductive coupling of Pilates with burlesque dancing, the options in this category seem virtually endless. And so, too, is the potential for profit.

But success, monetary or otherwise, doesn’t come without due diligence, without “going above and beyond, being different, and stepping out in front to lead.” In order to truly thrive, “being extraordinary,” explains Patricia Moreno, one of the many talented professionals I interviewed for the piece, is absolutely requisite.

 Moreno is the creator of the mindful technique she’s dubbed IntenSati, a combination of dance, aerobics, martial arts, strength conditioning, and yoga, which she currently teaches at New York City-based Equinox Fitness Clubs. Her classes are typically jam-packed, wall-to-wall women and men. Their popularity stems not only from the exceptional passion she infuses into her classes, but also from the inclusion of an element she believes is commonly missing in the gym environment: positive psychology. In Moreno’s case, she’s introduced encouraging verbal affirmations into the workout, thus engaging members’ minds in a wholly new, and ultimately very effective, way. Through her novel approach, she’s helping members reach goals that previously seemed unreachable. And, in the process, she’s also boosting adherence for new and long-term exercisers alike.

  “I had been teaching for 15 years and I loved it. But there came a point when I wanted to reach out to those who hadn’t already bought into fitness and to those who were maybe showing up, but who weren’t getting much out of the experience. I felt like there had to be a way to help those people who were struggling—either they were having a hard time staying committed to working out, or they were watching their weight constantly go up and down.”

While seeking a resolution, Moreno quickly ascertained that the common hyper-focus on diet and exercise alone just wasn’t cutting it. Such a physical-centric method was proving, for the most part, ineffectual. It also wasn’t doing much to inspire her students. Something, she believed, was missing. “I researched motivation techniques. I studied life coaching. And I began looking at the power of meditation and metaphysics. I began to understand how important our thoughts really are. We truly are what we think we are. And so if you can change how you think, the benefits, over time, can be astounding.”

In order to change their bodies, in order to invigorate her clients and take them to the next level, Moreno realized she needed to change their minds. She needed to train their physical body and their spirit in tandem. “I found that, with focused mental awareness and the repetition of a single, powerful, positive statement, people can achieve tremendous things. In fact, they can transform not just their bodies, but even their entire lives.”

 And indeed, her students, those faithfully chanting mantras—such as “I will succeed!”…“All I need is within me now!” and “I am strong!”—during the hour-long class, do find themselves transformed for the better. The vibe, the enthusiasm within the studio, is, she claims, highly infectious. “I’ve seen many participants gain a new sense of hope. They get excited and energized. They start focusing on what they can do and they finally believe they are strong enough to achieve almost anything. They leave behind their limiting thoughts and their self-doubt. I’ve seen that shift. When it happens, they’re able to finally lose those last 10 pounds. They snag the job they once only dreamed of having. They write the book they didn’t think they could write. They enter into relationships they’d always wanted to have but could never seem to achieve. And I know it sounds like a lot—I mean, ‘Wow, all that from an exercise class?’—but when people start believing in themselves, which this class helps them to do, it opens a door. It helps them make the changes they previously were unable to make.” And, as her students succeed, as they achieve their goals, as they keep coming back for more, Moreno and, in turn, Equinox Fitness simultaneously excel.

Of course, as with most new regimens, especially one that’s very much outside the box, there have been doubters. Moreno, however, full of enthusiasm and certain of the effectiveness of IntenSati, quickly assuages her naysayers. “At first, a lot of people, and even clubs, don’t think this will work and don’t want to try it. It’s awkward and different. People don’t feel comfortable shouting out positive statements in the middle of an exercise class. But for those accustomed to talking to themselves in a harsh, critical way—which, unfortunately, is most people—it’s enormously empowering. And once they try it, they are genuinely moved by it. It’s not uncommon for participants to start crying in the middle of a workout.” The marriage of spoken positivity with sweat-inducing movement is, she attests, “a powerful combination. What you say, over and over, becomes belief.”

Ultimately, Moreno would love to see more trainers exploring the principles of life-coaching and hopes mind-shifting work will become ubiquitous throughout the industry. “I want this to be in all gyms, in schools, in rehab facilities—any place where people need a lift.”

Are you and your staff going “above and beyond” by training your members’ bodies and minds?

Patricia Moreno's new book, The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace, is available for purchase online.

- Patricia Glynn is associate editor of CBI magazine and can be reached at p.glynn@fit-etc.com