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by Sara Ivanhoe
Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker, 2013
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Jul 16th 2013
In her new release Taste, instructor Sara Ivanhoe offers a mix-and-match style yoga experience. As the name implies, Taste provides a series of short yoga routines—each about five minutes in length—which can be used as stand-alone practices or combined together for longer yoga sessions.
The routines feature Ivanhoe practicing alone in a small indoor room and instructing via voiceover. Sometimes her mat is set up parallel to the camera, sometimes perpendicular to it. In addition to a yoga mat, a chair is required for the "Work" routine (Ivanhoe uses a stool). I have provided an overview of each practice below, along with approximate times.
WAKE (5 minutes). This routine, intended for the a.m., builds from sun breaths and forward bends to half sun salutations, which are then repeated for several minutes.
SHED (5 minutes). This practice, which has the theme of letting go, starts with some cat/cow stretches then focuses on a series of cleansing breaths, first in low lunge, then in high lunge.
BURN (5 minutes). This active routine begins with a vinyasa which moves between chair pose and standing forward bend. This is followed by a vinyasa moving in and out of Warrior 2 pose which includes breath retention holds and is repeated on both sides.
CLEANSE (4.5 minutes). This is a twist-focused routine which starts with a seated twist, moves into a low lunge twist, and finishes with a squat twist.
FIRM (4 minutes). This upper-body centered practice consists of plank pose, side plank, forearm plank, and side forearm plank.
CORE (4.5 minutes). Begins with a vinyasa in and out of boat pose. Coming to lying on the back, moves into alternating leg drops and then finishes with a criss-cross crunch.
WORK (<4 minutes). This routine seems designed to stretch the upper body while seated at a desk. It starts with a stretch overhead, moves into a twist, and finishes with eagle arms.
TAIL (5 minutes). This practice centers around balancing postures in a kneeling position. After opening with cat breaths, it includes bird dog, a side version of bird dog, and a kneeling half moon.
CHILL (6 minutes). This slightly longer routine offers seated breath work, including breath holds. Coming to lying on the back, there is a Figure 4 stretch and a brief (1.5 minutes) rest in savasana.
SLEEP (6 minutes). This all-lying session starts with reclined cobbler's pose and then moves into a reclined twist. It concludes with savasana (2 minutes) using a knee support.
In addition to the short routines, Ivanhoe includes several "premix" workouts on this DVD—i.e., longer practices made from a combination of the shorter ones. These are as follows:
*SLIM (15 minutes)—consists of Wake, Shed, and Burn
*STRENGTH (14 minutes)— consists of Firm, Burn, and Cleanse
*REST (12 minutes)— consists of Chill and Sleep
Ivanhoe is a popular instructor, as evidenced by her previous DVDs (e.g., Yoga on the Edge, Yoga Makeover series, Crunch Yoga series). Furthermore, many users are likely to value having short yoga segments to squeeze into a busy day. Personally, I felt that these segments were a bit too brief to work very well as independent practices. Furthermore, the usability of this DVD is limited by the lack of a programming option; I found it disruptive to have to go back to the Main Menu after each sequence when trying to attempt a longer practice. (Note: Even the preset routines are still choppy: in-between segments, the name of each individual sequence appears on screen as well as an additional separator screen stating "Yoga with Sara Ivanhoe," which felt completely unnecessary.) Still, I expect that fans of Ivanhoe's prior material in particular will appreciate this new offering.
© 2013 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.