Move your body, move your mind

This morning, as I threw on my sports bra and yoga pants and laced up my trusty Nikes, I thought I was preparing to take an exercise class. My friend Ali sent me into a whirlwind of excitement when she shared the news that the creator of Intensati, Patricia Moreno, would be in Portland for just ONE morning to teach her amazing fitness routine.

What I most certainly didn’t know was this: the class was part of a broader event for bloggers in the fitness world aptly called FitBloggin, where I would not only meet Patricia (see image below), but actually be called onstage to sweatily lead nearly 100 fit bloggers in the routine. (Wtf!?)

Me and PatriciaIf you aren’t familiar with Intensati, it’s a high-energy choreographed workout that doesn’t just exercise your body, it nurtures your soul. How, you ask? Instead of letting your mind wander all over the place, Intensati calls you to focus on the now and vocalize powerful statements like:

All negative thoughts stop right now, I am done complaining, I am now celebrating.

Energizing dance moves + inspiring words + making new friends … have I met my fitness equivalent of ‘the one‘?

Courage, love and intensity were pulsing through the group of (mostly) women, as we yelled “I am powerful beyond measure!” in unison amidst quick jabs and uppercuts. With all the yelling, clapping, and ‘praise Jesus’ arms flying up towards the conference room ceiling, an outsider peering in might just think they found a spiritual gathering. And in some ways, they’d be right.

I watched as three different women approached Patricia at the end of class, arms out and eyes full of tears. They expressed their gratitude for Patricia, for Intensati, and for everything she and her practice embody. For some women, it was an hour of spiritual connection. For most, it was an introspective revelation of “I am enough.” I spoke with one woman after class who seemed to have the most profound experience of this. Her face still red from crying, she took the words out of my mouth when she remarked, “I needed that.”

No matter how physically disciplined you are, your mind can be the hardest part of the body to train. What sets Intensati apart from other forms of exercise is its focus on improving mind health in addition to body health.

As humans, we tend to think we are right about everything. When we get in a fight with our girl/boyfriend, we often come from a place of being the one who is right. When we look at ourselves in the mirror and say shitty things, we think we are right. What if we told ourselves complimentary, empowering things instead of negative bullshit? What if we said we are strong, handsome, beautiful, compassionate, capable? We’re always right, right? Then what we tell ourselves must be true. You might as well tell yourself good stuff.

As Patricia says, by moving away from complaining and negative self talk and towards ‘enoughness’ and positivity, you are truly doing a service to those around you. Think about how irritating and energy-draining the act of complaining is. Why bring that kind of energy into the world?

Celebrate who you are. Where you are. Believe in yourself. You are stronger, more courageous and more powerful than it seems. 

This post is dedicated to the fantastic Ali, who has quickly made Portland feel like home, and to Patricia Moreno. Big hugs, Patricia, for pulling me up onstage before I could over-think my way out of it. Now that I’ve gotten over the fear of teaching my first class, you’ve solidified my decision to become an Intensati instructor here in Portland. Thank you both for dancing into my life. You are my rocket fuel on this mission to the moon.

With courage, love, and Intensati*,

Kristen

Photo credit: [phil h] / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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