x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

We try IntenSati for the power of a positive workout

Tired of the treadmill, we try the unconventional high-energy course IntenSati.

Yvette Franzos, left, leads an IntenSati class in Dubai. The workout includes reciting mantras. Satish Kumar / The National
Yvette Franzos, left, leads an IntenSati class in Dubai. The workout includes reciting mantras. Satish Kumar / The National

A fusion of aerobics, martial arts, kick-boxing, yoga and positive affirmation, IntenSati is the brainchild of the fitness expert Patricia Moreno, who says she designed it especially for people who hate the gym.

The idea behind her lively cardio routine is to shape up the whole body as well as sculpt self-esteem by chanting positive mantras, which also encourage you to fight through the burn.

Empowering the mind

The Dubai-based IntenSati instructor Yvette Franzos acknowledges that shouting statements such as "I'm in control of my full potential" while exercising might feel silly, but there's a deliberate reasoning behind them.

"The positive affirmations help break the ice when you first join," she says. "They also keep you connected to the movements and in the moment. They are designed to get us to step outside our comfort zone."

IntenSati is a blend of two words: Inten is from "intention", and Sati means "mindfulness" in Sanskrit. The workout is meant to reprogramme the way you think and act in your daily life, Franzos says, citing the Buddhist principle: what we think, we become. "The affirmations are what make this practice so unique and empowering."

Physical benefits

IntenSati is also an excellent calorie burner. Franzos says that one session alone can burn 800 calories. "This workout builds up strength, endurance and stamina. Expect to sweat buckets with all the punching, kicking, jumping and screaming.

"You will soon start to look more toned and athletic. My sessions are a fun way of shedding pounds. One girl lost more than six kilos within two months. The emotional results are instant - my students walk out of class smiling and feeling on top of the world."

My experience

I admit I'm sceptical. The idea of doing a jumping jack while yelling "I will thrive, not just survive" sounds slightly cuckoo. Still, I love new challenges and need to escape from the beefcakes who grunt in front of the mirror at my local gym.

So I attend an evening class and am welcomed by a friendly group of 10 women. Franzos tells us today's mantra is "I am the master of my fate". She then shares a personal story about overcoming obstacles to psych us up. We start with a slow and steady warm-up, then tackle the upper body with some boxing moves: repetitive right and left jabs, followed by fast-moving aerobic steps.

As we kick up our knees and reach our hands to the sky, we bellow: "With the power of my mind, I shall seek and I shall find." When we jump into the warrior pose, Franzos yells: "Are you a warrior?" The class hollers back: "Yes, I'm a warrior."

By this point I am sweating profusely. There is no time to mock any mantras; I'm too busy trying to co-ordinate my moves with the rest of the class.

The last part of the session is much slower in pace and consists of a sequence of flowing yoga poses. While we hold the airplane asana pose, I find myself joining in the chant: "I surrender to my destiny."

My final take

Ironically, I have surrendered to IntenSati. Its energy is contagious and after an hour of punching, kicking and shouting, I felt fantastic. It will take a few more sessions to perfect my moves, but overall it isn't too difficult to follow. For a motivational workout, IntenSati is a fun alternative.


IntenSati classes run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Dubai World Trade Centre Apartments, Tower C. For more information call 050 849 3239.