Spiritual fitness leader Patricia Moreno dies at 57

Patricia Moreno, who injected a dose of spirituality into the fitness world and created a popular exercise program called intenSati, which became a staple at select Equinox gyms and a presence on YouTube, died Jan. 22 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 57 years old.

The cause was cervical cancer, said his wife, Kellen Mori.

Ms. Moreno began teaching fitness classes more than two decades ago and founded intenSati in 2002, merging the word “intention” with the Sanskrit term “sati,” for mindfulness or awareness. Between bouts of kickboxing and aerobics, she would intersperse refrains like “I’m worthy of my own love” or “All I need is inside of me,” adding generous doses of mindfulness, journaling, and relaxation. other self-help practices.

It was a mixture of spirituality and exercise, something relatively new.

Posted online, her workouts and spoken positive mantras – which she called “affirmations” – attracted a significant following, including 6,500 YouTube subscribers and 18,000 Instagram followers. According to Lucy Osborne, who took over intenSati after Ms. Moreno’s death, the program includes more than 1,000 “intenSati leaders” who teach their own classes and has brought in around $5 million in revenue.

Ms. Moreno’s method has resonated with those seeking spiritual and emotional connections to wellness. “People cry all the time in class,” she said Cosmopolitan magazine in 2013. “Whenever I train new intenSati instructors, I always tell them, ‘If people are crying, you’re doing your job well.'”

One of these instructors, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, is also a history teacher at the New School in Manhattan and writes a book on fitness in America. “Today there are many programs that combine the language of enlightenment with intense exercise,” she said in an email, “but Patricia, who came out of the world of aerobics from 1980s and who was a serious student of yoga and meditation, was very early to integrate the two.

What sets intenSati apart from other fitness programs, added Professor Mehlman Petrzela, is “its sense of play and its presence outside of the high-end fitness world”. In addition to Equinox clubs, primarily in New York and Los Angeles, intenSati instructors teach at community centers and have made workouts available for free on social media.

Danielle Friedman, the author of “Let’s Get Physical: How Women Discovered Exercise and Remodeled the World” (2022), said in an email that Ms. Moreno’s program “helped push the language away from fitness culture from that of self-criticism, guilt and shame and towards that of celebration, joy and affirmation.

Patricia Esperanza Moreno was born on August 14, 1964 in San Jose, California to Jose and Edith (Salcido) Moreno. His father was a lawyer and his mother ran a restaurant. She had 10 siblings. After graduating from James Lick High School in San Jose, she took classes at San Jose State College.

As an overweight child, Ms. Moreno became interested in fitness as a way to manage her weight. She started giving fitness classes in California as a teenager. In the 1990s, she moved to New York and found work teaching a kickboxing fitness class at a recently opened Equinox gym; she eventually became one of his highest paid instructors.

A 1995 article on fitness clubs in The New York Times described Ms. Moreno as one of New York’s most popular Equinox teachers. She “shows up in a flannel shirt, black pants and a white muscle shirt,” wrote the reporter, Jennifer Steinhauer. “Screaming a few steps here and there, she dances almost unabashedly, as if everyone in her class is invited to a party in her living room and they just happen to be wearing Lycra.”

Ms. Moreno and Dr. Mori, a dentist, met in 2006, when Dr. Mori was taking an intenSati course in Manhattan. They got married in 2008.

In addition to Dr. Mori, she is survived by her daughters Olivia, Sophie and Stella Moreno-Mori and her siblings Edith Shipton, Denise Gossett, Darsie Marie Moreno, Marilyn Moreno, Norma Moreno-Grimnes, Elizabeth Ziegenhagen, Hector Moreno, Sylvia Rich and Jesse Moreno.

After her diagnosis with stage 4 cervical cancer, Ms. Moreno continued her intenSati practice and documented her experience on Instagram and other social media platforms, emphasizing the spiritual side of her work. .

“This diagnosis and all that comes with it,” she wrote. on Instagram in September, “reveals to me how important it is to focus on reconnecting to the larger part of myself and not limiting my view of myself as a physical body.”

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