Crunch Candlelight Yoga

Sara Ivanhoe
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Yoga

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Please note that I wrote this review about 4-5 years ago; I've cut and pasted it as originally written. At the time of the review I had done it about half a dozen times in the several months I had it.


General workout breakdown: The relaxation workout begins with breathing and centering while seated cross legged. Next come seated stretches and twists, then a vinyasa (linking cat & dog tilt with child’s pose), standing balance postures (including tree), shoulder stretches (eagle arms), lunge sequences, and forward bends. Restorative poses (reclined butterfly or supta baddha konasana followed by lying twists) and a final relaxation (corpse) end the practice. This routine lasts about 40 minutes total.
The DVD also includes Yoga Energize, a 15 minute more vigorous practice meant to get you moving in the morning (or whenever you need it). You begin with cat stretch while standing, shoulder stretch, reverse namaste (prayer) hands while bending forward over warrior 1 legs, squats, vajrasana with side bends, modified camel, and ending in sukhasana with a mudra. This features the same cast and set as Candlelight Yoga, by the way.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners to low intermediates. Candlelight Yoga’s gentle enough for beginners, but I’m not sure how comfortable true beginners would feel with the level of instruction here. It would make a great choice to acquire after an instructional video and/or class. On the other end, anyone beyond a low/mid-intermediate level might find the pace too slow, particularly since Sara stops to introduce the next pose. The flow was thus a little slow and disjointed for me.

Class: 6 women and 1 man, all young, join Sara. One demonstrates modifications (actually helpful here).

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The instrumental music is pleasant and appropriate. The brightly lit set is some sort of brick loft with hardwood floors. There are billowing curtains and numerous candles to the back and sides. The sound and picture quality are very good.

Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). The modifier uses a towel and strap. All participants are barefoot.

Comments: You don’t need much space; you should be able to lie down comfortably on your mat with your arms and legs extended.
Although this is called Candlelight Yoga, you don’t have to do it in the evening. In fact, I don’t recall any mention of night or darkness.

DVD Notes: The chapters split the routine into appropriate segments (e.g. the shoulder stretches make one chapter). Yoga Energize, on the other hand, has no chapters. You can choose “instructor & music” or “instructor only” for each workout.

Conclusion: This has made its way to my trade pile. It’s lovely, and I would have done this much more had I gotten it a year or two ago. (In fact, it could have been one of my most used yoga videos.) However, now that I’ve moved up to the (low) intermediate level and tried a larger variety of yoga videos, this doesn’t have much of a place in my collection any more. I’d rather do Rainbeau Mars’ Pure Tranquility or Karen Voight’s Yoga Focus stretch, which have less dead time. A more similar workout, by the way, is Kripalu Gentle.

Instructor Comments:
Sara is positive and encouraging, but not annoyingly so (in my opinion). She offers some form instruction, but to me her form tips are better. She has a young vibe and voice. There isn’t much “New Agey” talk here.



Variety of exercisers and no clothing problem. Set in a peaceful looking studio room.My what an awesome wo. Soothing voice, lovely music, birds chirping in background, no planks, few downward dogs.
Modifier was in view nearly the whole time so I could see modifications.

Only woo-woo was at the very end, which I plan to omit, when she mumbles something about saluting my divine light (huh?!?!)
For all levels to have a nice calming stretch.

Total Time: 43 min, I had vhs, not sure if dvd has chapters.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Instructor Comments:
My first experience with Sarah Ivanhoe and I was very impressed with her cues and instruction. Not intimidating at all.
Only negative, her jewelry was a bit distracting.

Linda (aka fanofladyvols)


I have decided to try yoga, so I am trying various tapes. This is one of the first ones I tried and I chose it because it seemed to fit my personality better than others. I have a low threshold for workouts that are very “New Age” or where the instructor is “loopy” or “hippie”. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I am a pretty matter-of-fact person who likes straightforward instruction.

I really wanted to like Candlelight Yoga and the instruction was fine. However, I found it to be slow-moving and boring. While doing it, I kept wondering how much longer the workout was going to be. I felt moderately worked out after the workout, but the time spent getting there didn’t seem worth it.

The set was nice, fairly typical for Crunch. The background exercisers showed a range of flexibility in doing the moves.

Instructor Comments:
I can't decide what I think of her. She is straightforward in her instruction, but there's something about her voice or manner that just didn't click with me.

Laura S.


As the title of the video suggests, this is a soothing and relaxing yoga practice which instructor Sara Ivanhoe teaches in a calm and non-mystical manner. The practice begins in a seated position, and Sara takes time to explain yoga breathing and to allow for practice. This is followed by gentle seated stretches and twists, all the while focused on smooth, relaxing breathing. Next comes a slow-moving sun salutation series with simplified versions of most poses--eg, Eagle pose done with arms only, not legs. Sara includes lunges, balancing, and simple backbends but leaves out other classic standing poses such as Warrior and Triangle. Following the standing series, the practice returns to the floor for some seated forward bends, and finally, there is a relaxation series at the end.

The video is set in a Crunch studio, and although there are candles, it is bright with other lighting; the music is soft and in the background. At just under 45 minutes, this is a perfect yoga practice for unwinding at the end of the day or any other time you need to relax.

Instructor Comments:
Sara is an easy-going instructor who frequently encourages you to go only as far as comfortable and not to strain; she lead a class of students who show various levels of modifications.

Beth C (aka toaster)


If you are expecting a dim set because of the title, don't. While candles are present, this has standard studio lighting. This is a great video for relaxation just before bed. Poses are held for a decent amount of time, a rarely in most DVDs or videos. The emphasis is on stretching.

I like this tape mostly because it's like a real yoga class. Most have an expert who pretends to imitate a beginner. This does too, but it has real beginners, intermediate and advanced people doing the routines. This way you get a wide variety of how to do the poses, depending on your fitness level. I really enjoy that fact that everyone is not super advanced.

Overall, she does a good job of reaching that yoga can be relaxing as well as strengthening.

Instructor Comments:
Sara has an inner fire about yoga that shows with every program she does. I've always found her instructions to alwyas be clear and precise. One of the best for beginners. I have 4 of her programs and enjoy every one. She's one of my favorite instructors Now if she could just get rid of that Rama tank top.

ray baird


I bought this based on all the glowing reviews at Collage. I was looking for something that was going to leave me feeling refreshed and gently stretched. Nothing really stood out that made me dislike it but I just found it long and boring. I couldn't seem to quiet my mind and get into it. I kept it over yet? The set was blah, the workout blah and afterwards, I felt blah. The day after this workout, I popped in a Gaiam Yoga for Relaxation and got that "in the zone" yoga feeling I was looking for, relaxed, mindful, in the moment, etc.

Instructor Comments:
Good instructor; Very pleasant to listen to.



I really like this workout. True, it has gotten flack for not being a real yoga workout, but I'm not a power yoga gal, I do yoga to stretch, breathe and relax. I like a little work in my yoga sometimes, too, but that is not my main focus with yoga. A lot of the poses in this workout are done on the floor and are non strenuous. There are some that you do standing as well, but the most challenging pose here is tree. This workout is really about breathing and relaxing and stretching. If you are looking for anything that is going to break a sweat, do not look here. But if you want to really get relaxed and stretch out, and concentrate on your breathing, and you want something that is pretty (the set is pretty with candles, although it does seem a little dangerous to me) and accessible, this is it.
It's about 35 minutes, and it is chaptered very well! Very well done. This is a keeper.

Instructor Comments:
I think Sara Ivanhoe is a really talented instructor. She explains what you should be feeling, yet also lets you know what is important (breathing, your individual level of comfort). I like that. she is accessible and seems friendly, but she's always the teacher, too.

Kathy Weller


Crunch Candlelight Yoga - DVD version

I've done quite a few yoga videos, and I think this will be one of my favorites. The candles set a pleasant mood, which Sara's soft-spoken instruction continues. This program concentrates on relaxation and stress relief for 30 minutes, and there is an additional 15-minute "energizing" segment.

Instructor Comments:
Very down-to-earth and friendly.



I just got Crunch Candlight Yoga and I love it!!!! It's the kind of yoga video that is perfect for winding down. I love the music - it's new-agey but not annoying (lots of harp music and nature sounds like birds, water, etc.). None of the moves are really difficult or strenuous and this contributes to the relaxing quality of the video. The instructor, Sara Ivanhoe, has a very pleasing and soothing voice which makes it even more relaxing.

I highly recommend this video!



(this review refers to the DVD version of this workout)

I love this DVD! This workout is very well designed and I felt very relaxed and well stretched after doing it; the poses are held a nice, long time. Well, okay, I don't quite understand why they put tree pose in this routine, since swaying back and forth and trying not to fall over isn't very soothing to me, but tree pose has its own chapter, so one can easily skip it, LOL! There are 11 chapters on the DVD; plus, the DVD also has a bonus 15-minute yoga energizer workout.

There are white, filmy curtains in the background along with, of course, candlebras/floor candles to give a relaxing ambience. The soundtrack is good/distinct in the main workout - a sort of Brazilian rainforest sound.

The poses are not difficult, but they do have one background person showing modifications for very inflexible exercisers, so this is an accessible workout for all.

Instructor Comments:
Sara is a very warm, encouraging instructor.