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Empower Your Mind & Body & Stop Living on Autopilot w/ Mindset Expert & Self-Image Coach, Dawn Gaden

Krystal J [00:01:07]:

Today we have the incredible Dawn Gaden. She is the CEO of Mind Body Counseling and Coaching. She is a yoga teacher, a mindset expert, a three times bestselling author. She's so many incredible things. So I'm super excited to be diving into this conversation. Obviously, I'm going to let her dive into all of those juicy details. But first and foremost, Dawn, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dawn G [00:01:32]:

Oh, thank you. It's so good to be here. I'm excited for what's to come.

Krystal J [00:01:37]:

I am also excited. And just FYI, for all of our listeners out there, Dawn is another one of the incredible speakers that's going to be joining us for the Women Thrive Summit. By the time this episode goes live, it'll probably just be happening in just a couple of weeks. So if you haven't registered for the summit already, be sure to do that so you can catch both Dawn and my talks. It's going to be incredible. It's going to be powerful. But let's go ahead and start diving into Dawn's story. So, Dawn, why don't you go ahead and just give us your background and everything that's led you to this point of doing all these amazing things that you're doing now.

Dawn G [00:02:12]:

Oh, yeah. Thank you. Yeah. It's been a fun, exciting, adventurous, up and down journey. I'm a licensed counselor, so I went to school for counseling. I went right into counseling. I knew that's what I wanted to do. And it was an interesting journey to start out because I dealt with some, I guess you would say, undiagnosed learning concerns or comprehensive issues.

Dawn G [00:02:34]:

So when I went into college, I jumped right into psychology. Loved it. Study of the brain. But I couldn't pass a test worth beings like, I could not pass the test. And I thought, well, if I'm going to get a degree and then go on to my master's, I'm going to have to figure this out. So I went a different direction with a different degree in sociology, community service kind of things. And then I went into my master's in counseling. But what really brought me to the mindset practices and the mind body spirit connection was my freshman year in college when I was struggling with panic attacks and anxiety and insomnia.

Dawn G [00:03:15]:

And I was exhausted, and I, again, couldn't focus. I was studying all night, and I had my first panic attack in the front row of a class in front of everybody. Okay, 18 years old, thinking I'm having a heart attack, and I have to get up and leave the room without anybody seeing that I'm sweating and shaking and all over the place, just, like, ready to fall over. And I get to the bathroom, and I realize this is a panic attack. And the traditional options for treatment didn't set well for me. And so that's when I discovered meditation. And so I always say meditation is my mind training tool. Meditation is my magic pill.

Dawn G [00:03:57]:

It stopped anxiety. It stopped the panic attacks because it changed what I was thinking. And so that was 23 year, 20. Well, gosh, that was 18 years old. I don't know how many years ago. That was a long time ago. So I've been a licensed counselor for 23 years and doing this work with my clients, and these are the practices that work. Meditation, mindfulness practices.

Dawn G [00:04:24]:

And that's what brought me into yoga and brought me into the practice I teach called IntenSati, because it's using powerful, positive words to really reprogram the mind. We reprogram who we really want to be because we've gone through this journey of collecting along the way all the things that we were taught and what we were told and what society said was the right thing to be and do and think. And so we have to let those, the things that don't fit right for us, we still let them go. Like outgrowing a suit. Right. So we have to let it go and decide who do I want to be? Like at our core, it's like, who am I? So now what do I want to create for myself? And so that's why I do what I do, because I see success in my clients, that they do these practices, and they get those light bulb moments. They get these aha. Moments like, this is what I love.

Dawn G [00:05:15]:

This is who I am. This is what's holding me back, and I'm going to pull it away and let it go. It's a really fun journey.

Krystal J [00:05:23]:

I really love how unique your approach is, because with what you do, it is a lot of movement, and you talk about energetic alignment, and you have your global program image shift, and it has to do a lot of incorporating that with doing what you love and creating a successful career. So talk to us about that, about that importance of incorporating movement and dive into IntenSati, too. I'd love to learn more about that and how that really can impact all of these goals that you're working so hard to achieve.

Dawn G [00:05:58]:

Yes. Oh, IntenSati is like magic. I love it. So I discovered the practice in about 2007. I was at home with my kids. I have four boys, and now they're teenagers and adults, but they were little, and I worked at night, and I was home with my kids during the day. And movement was key. Like, we take walks, we go for hikes, but at home, I wanted my yoga practice, so I went to yoga training. I'm a yoga teacher, and I always look for new and exciting ways to move the body.

Dawn G [00:06:30]:

Just something different, right? I'm always looking for something new. And I found this Woman online. Back then, you would order dvds, and she would do yoga dance or yoga, kickboxing or yoga. Those were a couple of them. Yoga dance and yoga, martial arts. And I thought, this is cool. So it was some yoga, but with kickboxing, yoga with dance, like, just really moving the body. And then I couldn't find her.

Dawn G [00:06:57]:

Where'd she go? I want more of this. It really helps to amp up my yoga practice. It just really creates something unique. And so I searched her out. Her name was Patricia Moreno. She created IntenSati, and it was about 2007, where this practice blends dance, martial arts, and yoga. And it's a high energy practice that uses movement. So high energy movement, like dance and martial arts, kickboxing and punching and using positive affirmations paired with the movement.

Dawn G [00:07:32]:

And so it's like therapy in a. It's all. And that's what I've had students say to me, Donna, I have to go to therapy. I just come to your class. It feels so good. Like, breakthroughs happen. Because we start using these powerful words. I'm powerful be a measure.

Dawn G [00:07:49]:

I'm stronger than I think. I'm braver than I seem. I'm blessed with all I need. And we don't talk to ourself like that. We usually talk in a very limited way. Why can't I do this right? I should have done it better this way. I can't handle this. And so this practice helps us change the way we're thinking.

Dawn G [00:08:07]:

We move the body, so we're, like, moving the energy, and we start to feel how we want to feel. So it's a practice, right? Because, again, I'm a therapist, I'm a coach, so I know the value of speaking, and I want to take it to the next level, which is practicing it. So when you go to class, you get to practice. What does it feel like? If I'm confident, how does my body move? If I'm confident, if I love myself, how would I be moving my body? So it takes us to that next level of putting it into practice, feeling what it feels like. And I decided to go to New York City and become a leader to teach the class after I found Patricia and bought the cds and continued the practice in my living room. It was in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer. And it's a lymphoma, so it kind of peeks its head every. It did for me three times.

Dawn G [00:09:03]:

And so it was 2016, another journey with cancer. And I had decisions to make about holistic or chemotherapy or should I meditate more? All those little decisions to make. And my husband said, go do your IntenSati practice. It always helps you feel better. And I'm like, it does because you just get grounded. You get clear. You make decisions better, especially hard decisions about cancer. And I remember it was October 2016, and I have my video on and moving, and I'm sweating and I'm just shouting these powerful words.

Dawn G [00:09:42]:

And it came to me. I'm like, I need to go to New York and learn this practice. I need to go and teach this. I can teach this here in Michigan and share this because it helps me as a parent, it helps me as a business owner, it helps me through health issues. And so, of course, I went online, and it was November, a month later from that day, leader training. What's happening? And I told my husband, I said, I'm going to New York next month, and I'm going to be a leader in this practice. He's like, okay, can I come with you? And so that's when it began because I needed to bring this practice to other people. It's unique, it's dynamic, and it really creates those shifts quickly to get us to where we really want to go.

Krystal J [00:10:22]:

There is so much that I want to dive into. What you just said. First of all, amazing husband. Love that he was very much encouraging you to do that and to follow the path that has now led you here. And he saw how much it helped you and really pushed for that. I love those affirmations. I'm blessed with everything that I need. There was another one for everyone listening.

Krystal J [00:10:44]:

We had a call, a group call right before this, and you had another affirmation that you said towards the meditation that we did. And it was something about gratitude. Do you remember it off the top of your head?

Dawn G [00:10:56]:

I don't, but I have it written down because it was a long meditation. I wonder if I could find it.

Krystal J [00:11:01]:

It was at the very end.

Dawn G [00:11:02]:

It is with gratitude I live my life today.

Krystal J [00:11:05]:

I love that so much. It is with gratitude that I live my life today. I absolutely agree. Those affirmations are so powerful. To be able to say it and exclaim it loudly. And while you're very connected with your body, so incredibly powerful. I know gratitude is something that I try to practice daily. It's kind of fallen off the wagon a little bit, but I've been bringing it back the past few days, and the fact that you said it today, it's like that is exactly what I need.

Dawn G [00:11:32]:


Krystal J [00:12:25]:

So with these practices that you do, is that like a separate offering from your coaching, or is this something that you're constantly intertwining with all of the clients that you work with?

Dawn G [00:12:59]:

It's all blended together, but also separate. So Tuesday nights I teach IntenSati live in person in Brighton in my hometown and where I work. We have an office. So our students come in and we have a class. So like a workout class, we come together. It's a blend of the dance, martial arts and yoga. So we set an intention, we breathe, and then we move with these high energy movements. And then at the end, we do a beautiful yoga stretch and cooling it down with some more mindful affirmations as we move.

Dawn G [00:13:37]:

Like it's like a moving meditation. And then our meditation, Shavasana, where we just let it all soak in. And then with my coaching program, it's a seven-month coaching program. It's a journey through the chakra. So each month we do each chakra and journey through where we might have blocks and where we need to bring more balance into our life. And each month, so each week there's worksheets and practices and meditations, and the fourth, the last week of every month is an IntenSati practice for that specific chakra. And so it's incorporated into that practice as well. So within the coaching program, that seven-month image shift coaching program, you get seven IntenSati workouts, one for each chakra.

Dawn G [00:14:25]:

It's like over an hour of just the practices alone on recording digital format that you get forever. So I just can blend it all together.

Krystal J [00:14:37]:

Now, for people that may not be familiar with the practice or even kind of just incorporating that kind of routine into their lifestyle, do you often come across clients that are kind of reluctant to let loose in this way and move their body and let that be a part of their practice? And how do you get them to a point where they do feel comfortable doing that?

Dawn G [00:15:01]:

Yeah, so I have a range, right? So I have a client who will come on our one-on-one sessions on Zoom, and she says, can we just do IntenSati? Like, we'll talk a little bit and then she'll ask, can we move? I need to move my body. I'm feeling stuck. I need to just elevate this energy. So we take ten or 15 minutes out of the session, and I get up and we get up and we move together. And then I've done talks before where I do, like, a three to five-minute IntenSati just to move the energy. And I've had people turn their cameras off, which is fine. Turn your camera off, and then I will hear them later say, usually when people ask me to move at a workshop, I don't. And I had this one woman say, but yours, I got up and I moved, and I did it.

Dawn G [00:15:46]:

And maybe you didn't see me because my camera was off, but it felt so good. We have to start with the thoughts, right? And that's why the talking and the connecting is important, right? Like, not everyone's going to jump into an intense hoti class and move their body. They're not. And so that's why I created the program, because there's opportunity to talk through this, because we have to decide, what do I want to think about myself? What am I? First of all, what am I thinking about myself? What are the thoughts that I'm playing over and over again that gets me to not want to move my body, not feel good in my body? Because this is my body, the choices I've made along the way, how I nurture it, or I don't nurture it. So the reality of, like, let's take a look in the mirror for real and metaphorically, and what do I want to own, and then what do I want to let go of so I can create a new way of being and loving myself? We have to get really clear on the stories we're telling ourself and what story do we want to create new? And then we start to feel better in our body, and we get to just move and appreciate who we are. And that's a practice, so we have to practice it. I've had a couple of times, I have a woman, one specifically, I remember that would come to my class, and it was pre Covid, so we had, like, 30, 40 people in a class, and she would come right to the front row, and she'd stand right in front of me, and I'm teaching people through these moves, like, touch your heart, open your arms. And she would just dance.

Dawn G [00:17:24]:

She was just doing her own thing and not doing any of the moves that I was calling out or leading people. But she would shout every affirmation, and I didn't have a problem with it. Not at all. This is a place where everyone can be who they want to be. Like, there's a range of ways to modify the moves. And one day she said, you know, don't. I can't figure out what you're telling me to do. But I don't care because I'm just dancing and feeling good, and I'm like, that's the goal.

Dawn G [00:17:51]:

The goal is to feel good. Like, practice feeling good in your body and feel good for who you are and just continue to create that for yourself.

Krystal J [00:18:01]:

That's incredible, especially to be able to witness that. I want to kind of dive into the shift that you're able to see in them, not just in their willingness to kind of step into the ability to move their bodies freely and kind of let down that wall and rethink all those thoughts that might have been suppressing their desire to do that. But are you able to witness that kind of ripple effect into how they're leading their daily lives and not just in those classes and courses in the movement, but how they're actually making decisions or how they are achieving their success in whatever careers that they have? Do you have any stories you want to share with us?

Dawn G [00:18:42]:

Oh, gosh, yeah. And that's what's incredible, is the ripple effect is so real, because, again, it's just the practice. We go through life on autopilot just doing. Repeating the old story, right? Like, 95% of what we think, feel, and do comes from the subconscious mind. So, which means 95% of the time, we're just on autopilot. We don't even realize that we're just going through the motions. It's really important to wake up, right? Wake up and be more conscious creators of our life. And so this practice helps us do that.

Dawn G [00:19:17]:

And I had a client who would. She was having issues at work, just kind of conflict with other people, and she was in sales, and she wasn't making her sales. She was like I used to be at six figures. Dawn, I'm not hitting the mark, and I'm mentoring these people, but I'm not feeling appreciated. Just a lot of negativity, right? Why isn't it working out? And what can I do? Like, this force of what am I supposed to be doing better? And you could just feel them like there's this want but resistance, right?

Dawn G [00:19:51]:

And so keep the practice going. Keep moving your body. Keep feeling into the possibility. I'm stronger than I think. I'm braver than I seem. I am blessed with all I need. And there's more affirmations than that. But we would practice and practice, and she said, you won't believe what happened at work.

Dawn G [00:20:10]:

The woman that I was in conflict with approached me and said, how can we work better together? And they had a conversation, and we're able to get to a place where now they work well together. It's been weeks, and now we're still getting along. And she started mentoring more. She loves to teach, right? So she's a teacher and in sales, so she'd mentor new salespeople. And she's like, it's been like, all of a sudden, it's fun to mentor people and teach them the things that I know work for me. And she's like, and, don, I hit my six-figure mark. It's one of the top salespeople of the month. Like, things are coming together.

Dawn G [00:20:46]:

How is this happening? And I'm like, because you got a different story going and you're engaging your body. You're practicing being that successful, loving, abundant person, joyful person that you want to be. We put it in motion. So it's really fun to see that.

Krystal J [00:21:02]:

Yeah. It's like, kind of creating disruption to what you said, us being on autopilot, which is so incredibly common. And I want to kind of tie that back to your journey with cancer and overcoming that, especially dealing with those kind of personal traumas and medical issues. It really is easy to kind of fall into a victim mentality or into routines that are like, this is my life. This is just what I have to do. I am limited.

Dawn G [00:21:34]:


Krystal J [00:21:34]:

How can you really break out of that autopilot mode and start living in that mindset of limitlessness again when you are experiencing something like that? What was your journey like, overcoming that, not just physically, but mentally?

Dawn G [00:21:50]:

Yeah. Well, I can share with you the wakeup call that I got. I call it my wakeup call because it was a wakeup call. It was a pretty interesting journey. It was a long coming thing. Our bodies hold energy, and I know I had disease in my body a long time before I realized. And what I found, what I discovered was I was still living in that people pleaser mode. I'll be the superhero.

Dawn G [00:22:18]:

I'll fix things. I'll make it better. And it had to come to an end. That story couldn't. I couldn't survive anymore in that story. So I'll start with the twins. That pregnancy was. We had what was called twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

Dawn G [00:22:34]:

There was a dysfunction in the placenta, which a lot of babies don't survive. So we had a lot of interventions done and bed rest and all that good stuff, and they made it. And now they're going to be 18 next month, so they're wonderful. That was a happy ending. But the trauma my body went through to have six liters of amniotic fluid taken out to maintain the pregnancy. Like, a lot of invasive interventions to save them so that they could live. And then that was good. And then we buy a bigger house because we have four boys now.

Dawn G [00:23:09]:

We were in this tiny, little three bedroom, one story house. And then my husband loses his job, and so we're, like, head spinning, like, all these things up and down and up and down. I'm like, well, I can get the job. I'll go get the job. So I'm, like, in save mode, right? And so I had to go to work for a little bit, which ripped me apart because I wanted to be home to raise my kids. That was my plan I put into place when I became a therapist, open my own practice, create my own schedule, raise my kids. Like, perfect, right?

Dawn G [00:23:42]:

Can't plan for everything. I mean, the reality is, we have to remember we can't plan for everything, and so we just are strong enough to handle what comes our way. So in this job, feeling the life sucked out of me. And I remember a day I was driving, and it was raining, and I was crying. Another just crying day. And I remember feeling like this thought came up, and it just, like, just keep driving. Just keep driving. You're no good.

Dawn G [00:24:08]:

You can't even enjoy being a mother anymore because you're exhausted. Mike can take care of him. Just disappear into the world. Just drive. Just drive and disappear. Because what good are like. And I remember it was yesterday grabbing that steering wheel, and, like, it was a wake up. Like, wake up, Dawn.

Dawn G [00:24:27]:

And seriously, there's a little angel sitting there next to me. Like, wake up. And the next little voice I heard was, there's got to be another way, Dawn, wake up. There's got to be another way. And that's when I prayed, and I said, okay, God, you got to help me, because this I can't handle. Like, this. Going to work every day to put food on the table, which is very important to do, you have to feed your family. There was something else.

Dawn G [00:24:49]:

This was not okay. And it was shortly after that that I was diagnosed with cancer. And I realized, okay, what's going on here? What's the message where I need to wake up some things. I'm on autopilot. This fix and take care of and take care of was breaking down my body. And so I had to make big decisions. And I think that's what's challenging for people, is afraid to make the big decisions. Like, it's scary.

Dawn G [00:25:18]:

I quit my job. I took leaves, but I didn't go back. And I took two years off work. My husband didn't work for part of that because he was still unemployed. So we had to rely on resources and we had to rely on family for help for a while. And some people are. It takes courage to say, stop the chaos. I have to get healthy.

Dawn G [00:25:42]:

I want to be the best mother I can be. I want a business that can be successful. I want to love my work again because I was not loving my work. And so making those big decisions to stop and then clear the mind again, that time off work gave me the time to be a mom, to get healthy, to really feel what I want to do again, because I love this work. I love the mind, body, spirit work, the yoga, the mindset practices. I love it. And I kept being drawn to it. And so I'm like, no, I'm going to find a way to do what I love in a way that supports me so that I can be my best and also give my best to others.

Dawn G [00:26:25]:

So we have to be willing to take that risk. And with support, I had a community, I had a therapist, I had a coach to help you through the journey. And so it's being willing to take one step at a time through that journey and know that we're strong enough to handle what comes our way. Absolutely.

Krystal J [00:26:47]:

And you're so right that that is such a scary choice to make, especially when you do have a family. And you know that all of your decisions are going to affect them in some way, but that at the end of the day, at the end of the road, it can be the most impactful decision you can ever make to choose yourself, to choose your health, choose your happiness, and look at where it's brought you today, doing all of these amazing things. You're an international speaker. You are making an impact not only for your family at home, but for so many people across the world. And you are clearly loving what you do. I can see the passion and I can see the joy in your eyes. And every time you speak, and every time I've heard you speak in all of our group calls and things like that, yeah, it's scary, but it really is just making that one step, that one choice to do something for yourself, to step out of the autopilot and start living in alignment. So such a powerful story.

Krystal J [00:27:53]:

I'm so glad you shared that with us. Before we end our call, I know you wanted to talk about, you have three key ways to really shift into a positive self-image, and I know you've dove into it a little bit, but if we were to really simplify that so we can leave our audience with actionable steps they can start taking. Now, how would you break down those three key tips?

Dawn G [00:28:19]:

Yeah, I'm going to give you four, and I can give them to you quickly. In all this work, it's like, what really works? What really works, right?

Dawn G [00:28:27]:

It's an acronym I created. It's called I.V.E.A. I - intuition. Listen to your gut every time. Every time. The gut is right. So listen to your gut. V is visualize. Visualize what you want.

Dawn G [00:28:40]:

We get really good at figuring out what we don't want. I have a process for that. Figuring out what we don't want. We have to be clear on what we don't want, because then we get clear on what we do want. So, visualize. Create the image in your mind of what it is you want. E is emotion. You have to feed the vision with your emotion.

Dawn G [00:28:58]:

Not just words, not just the vision, but feel it. Like when you're living your life, you feel like, oh, it feels easy and happy and joyful. Like, feel what it feels like if you were there now. And a is action. Intentional, inspired action. We have to take action. We have to take that next best step. And my teacher told me, 1% improvement, one day at a time.

Dawn G [00:29:23]:

1% one day at a time. That's it. Just one little step every day. Just every day. One could be little. It could be 1 minute. It could be five minutes. It could be 2 hours.

Dawn G [00:29:33]:

So I is intuition. V is vision. E is emotion. Fuel your vision with emotion. And A is action. Take intentional, inspired action for yourself every day.

Krystal J [00:29:46]:

I really love the emotion piece of it because I think that's often the piece that can be missing. Right. Because we can continue to visualize all these big dreams and know why we want it. Right. But then how does it actually make you feel? Like it sounds great, maybe because you've heard other people say it and other people do it, and, wow, that sounds great. Like, I'd love to have a life like that. But how does it actually make you feel? Because at the end of the day, you can have all those accolades, you can reach that success milestone, but still feel so empty because you never took your own emotion into account.

Dawn G [00:30:22]:

Right? Because all those things, those things we think are going to make us happy. I've had so many clients that are ready to throw away their six, seven figure incomes because I did all these things, dawn. But I don't feel happy. We have it backwards. Happy comes from in here. Joy. Happiness comes from in here. Practice feeling it.

Dawn G [00:30:43]:

And then what we desire finds us. Like, we align with that stuff out there and that just amplifies the good feelings. But those things aren't meant to make us happy. We are happiness. We are love. We are joy. From here, we just got to exercise it, practice it.

Krystal J [00:31:03]:

I couldn't agree more. And then it all just compounds. From there, everything will kind of just naturally progress and continue to align with everything that you visualize. So good. Dawn, you are amazing. I feel like we could totally continue talking for like another hour.

Dawn G [00:31:21]:


Krystal J [00:31:22]:

Where can our audience find you and all of the amazing work you're doing?

Dawn G [00:31:26]:

Yeah. Thank you. It's super simple. My website is and I have a three minute again starting out with just three minutes. Unleash your joy. And it's part of the IntenSati practice. So if you want a taste of what it looks like, just go to my website,, and grab the free gift and you can see what it is. Practice what it is that we're talking about.

Krystal J [00:31:47]:

I love that. I was going to say let me try it, but with this baby. Oh, my God. I don't even know if I want to move.

Dawn G [00:31:54]:

You can do it sitting down, too. That's what's nice about it.

Krystal J [00:31:59]:

With the name of it, it sounds intense. I don't know if that was intentional with the name of it, but I just imagined being very overly active for how I would like to be in this current state my body is in.

Dawn G [00:32:14]:

Yeah, it can be high energy. Yes.

Krystal J [00:32:17]:

Well, for everyone else, definitely try it out. I will work my way up to it. of course, that link will be in the show notes. Check her out. Obviously, she is just a joy to talk to. She has such incredible energy and you want that kind of energy in your life. You want to be able to chase your joy and really live off of autopilot, just as dawn said. So, dawn, again, thank you so much. You've been absolutely incredible.

Dawn G [00:32:45]:

Thank you. This was wonderful. I appreciate your time. I appreciate your energy, too. It's so good. Thank you.

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