What We Tried: Intensati -- It's a combination of two words: intention and sati, the Pali word for mindfulness.
Where: This was a class at a New York City Equinox taught by Patricia Moreno, the founder of Intensati. You can find all of the national, non-Equinox class locations here.
What We Did: Intensati is a high-intensity cardio class that combines positive affirmations with interval training, martial arts, dance and yoga. We started off slowly, sitting down on the floor while Patricia spoke to us about loving ourselves and maintaining a positive outlook. Eventually, we were tapping different points of our bodies (wrists, foreheads, etc.) and repeating affirmations after Patricia. After five minutes or so, the pace kicked up and we were combining complex aerobic choreography (kicking, punching, squatting, etc.) with corresponding affirmations. In between sets, Patricia encouraged us to high-five our neighbors, which resulted in some awkward, albeit well-meaning, interactions.
Here's Patricia teaching an Intensati class:
For How Long: Classes are an hour long.
How'd It Feel: A little strange. Think of it as Zumba meets the yoga mentality. If you're not one that's already on board with the whole positive mantra-reciting thing, it can be hard to get into it. But it's definitely a work out, so expect to sweat profusely and feel your heart rate rise. And you'll have to be okay with high-fiving sweaty strangers. If you let go and allow yourself to look "stupid," it can be a really fun experience, though. So don't be dissuaded if it doesn't sound like your thing -- it doesn't hurt to try it.
What Fitness Level Is Required: Like I said, it's high-intensity cardio, so it can get pretty tricky when it comes to endurance and coordination. Luckily, you can modify the speed and intensity of the routines as you need, and you can take a break at any point if you feel too weak. A few people took five-second pauses in our class, but most of the participants were able to keep up, even if they weren't going at 100 percent the entire time.
What It Costs: It depends where you take the class. With an Equinox membership (which costs upward of $143 a month), you can go to as many classes with Patricia as you like. Elsewhere, you'll have to consult the individual studios for pricing.
Would We Do It Again: Probably not. It was certainly an interesting, even uplifting, experience, but it's not something that I could get into regularly. If you're the least bit curious, though, I highly recommend you try it out and see how you feel. Just be prepared to surrender all of your "coolness" to Intensati.