Flash Mob Brings Fitness Moves to Washington Square Park

By Meredith Hoffman on July 22, 2011 1:32pm 

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Searing heat failed to halt a flashmob of fitness fanatics from gathering in Washington Square Park Friday.

With temperatures already close to 90 degrees, more than 50 dancers streamed into the park at 8:30 a.m. for the impromptu intenSati cardio workout.

"I am the change I want to see!" the group chanted, as part of a sequence that was a mixture of aerobics, spoken affirmations and meditation.

"It sucks you in. The positive affirmations are great," said Shanna Fried, 33, a personal trainer who began taking intenSati two weeks ago at Equinox Gym.

"It's a great workout...and Patricia is very inspirational," Fried said of intenSati creator Patricia Moreno.

The positive attitude of intenSati makes all the difference, agreed another participant, Amanda Berlin.

"You're thinking 'I'm strong' rather than staring in the mirror and saying 'my [butt] looks big,'" said Berlin, who's been doing the fitness routines for four years.

"Patricia wants to get the word out about how people can get a happy and peaceful life," said Tiffany Knight, 38, an intenSati instructor who's practiced since 2007. "It's very open, loving, free and happy."

Thanks to the practice's openness, Mark Baxter, a MIT professor, agreed to try it for the first time with his friend Wendy Suzuki, who teaches neuroscience at NYU.

"Wendy's like, 'Don't worry if you make mistakes, you go up and then you go down,'" chuckled Baxter about the session.

Still, not everyone felt comfortable jumping into the workout. Ivo Entchev, 30, watched from a bench while he munched his bagel.

"I have no idea what this is, but nothing surprises me anymore," laughed Entchev, a Canadian native who came to New York eight months ago. "It was like power yoga."

"On some level, I wanted to get up and join them, but I didn't because the moves are too complicated."

He plans to Google the practice to learn more, but he still said he'd never stand up and join.

"I'd be embarrassed," he said. "It's a lot of girls and they're more coordinated."

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