Crunch Joy of Yoga

Sara Ivanhoe
Year Released: 1998

Categories: Yoga

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Please note that I wrote this review 4-5 years ago; I've copied and pasted it as originally written. At the time of the review I had done it a few times.
Oh, and for the record I ended up trading it off (shortly after writing this review, IIRC).


General workout breakdown: This yoga workout clocks in at just under 35 minutes (if you skip the Crunch introduction). The chapters divide it into the following sequences: Warm Up, Standing Poses, Low Lunge, Back Strengthening, Twists, Spine Stretch, Seated Poses, and Relaxation Poses. N.B. Sara includes lots and lots of downward facing dogs. (I read that VFers call this “Joy of Down Dog.”)
This isn’t power yoga as most of us would definite it; it does move at a decent pace, but most people probably won’t work up a major sweat with this one. I’d say the focus is more on building strength than just relaxing, for sure.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners with preexisting strength and flexibility to solid intermediates. I don’t think a true beginner to yoga would be comfortable with the fairly small amount of basic instruction here unless s/he was complementing their practice with a live class, a book, and/or other tapes. Anyone who considers themselves a high intermediate might not find this challenging enough. I have over two years of yoga experience but am working on improving my strength and especially my flexibility. I have recently begun practicing at an intermediate level. I find this workout appropriately challenging where I am now. In my opinion, Joy of Yoga is a step up in intensity from Fat Burning Yoga.

Class: Sara leads 7 young women. One shows modifications, which are actually helpful, for most poses.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The instrumental music is pleasant enough. The workout takes place in a studio with wood floors and all sorts of brightly colored abstract artwork-looking things to the side and hanging from the ceiling in the back. For some reason every Crunch workout

Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot.

Comments: You don’t need a lot of space for this workout. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended.

DVD Notes: This is available on Crunch’s The Perfect Yoga Workout DVD, which also has Sara’s Fat Burning Yoga. You can choose your chapter, but that’s about all the bells and whistles here.

Conclusion: This one jumps on and off my trade pile. I like Sara’s workouts, but I don’t love them as much as I do my Erich, Shiva, or Eoin, for example. I think if I liked The Joy of Yoga more I’d definitely keep the DVD. (I personally prefer Fat Burning to Joy because I like the variety of poses better. Joy spends too much time in down dog or lunge for my tastes.)
That said, I think this is decent yoga workout and Sara is a good teacher. Like Karen Voight or the Quick Fix yoga tapes, there isn’t much here to frighten off people who are wary of chanting, flowery language, spiritual overtones, etc. I’m getting into those things, so this workout and the ones I just mentioned don’t appeal to me as much now as they did when I was first starting out.

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 than her instruction. She has a young vibe and voice. I get the impression that this is one of her earlier workouts; she says “like” and other such fillers a few times. There isn’t much “New Agey” talk here, although there is a good deal of talking in general.



This should be called "frustration of yoga."
It has several positive reviews, but Nicollette's short negative review encapsulated my feelings perfectly. I'm a beginner to yoga but not to exercise--I'm an intermediate exerciser about 14 pounds above my ideal weight--and I found this tape extremely frustrating. Way too much time spent in downward dog, which hurt, and there were other poses that hurt too and the beginner modification did not lessen that pain. Sara moves from move to move too fast for a beginner to keep up and I didn't find her cueing good--every time I looked up at the TV she was doing something different than I thought she would be doing based on her verbal cues, even the third time I tried the tape. My husband tried this with me and he was like, isn't yoga supposed to be relaxing? We're getting rid of it.

Fortunately, I've become a real fan of Yogazone's videos--the 50 minutes ones in the beginner box set are great--no pain here! When I have less time, I'm also enjoying the short 20 minute workouts in the ultimate 6-DVD set, which is pretty cheap at They make great add-ons. If you're any kind of beginner to yoga, I recommend these over "Joy of Yoga."



The philosophy of all videos in the Crunch line is to make working out accessible to all people, regardless of size or experience. The Joy of Yoga is no exception; it is a non-mystical yoga program taught in a very straightforward manner by instructor Sara Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe's down-to-earth style (she frequently uses words like "scooch") is completely non-threatening and friendly.

Throughout this workout, Ivanhoe places a strong emphasis on breathing, with frequent reminders to inhale and exhale. The practice begins with a focused breathing series involving forward bends and down dogs (there are many repetitions of this position) and then moves on to additional standing poses, including warrior, lunges, and twists. The floor portion of the workout consists mostly of relaxing stretches, but there is one tough segment which alternates arm/leg stretches with yogi pushups.

This workout is challenging at times, and thus yoga practioners of all levels could benefit from using this tape as refresher to check both their form and especially their breathing. Finally, at 35 minutes, this yoga practice is short enough for practically anyone to fit into their schedule.

Instructor Comments:

Although Ivanhoe's overall cuing is good and she does include pointers on form, she does not provide full explanations of how to perform each pose; thus, this is not a workout for complete yoga novices. However, beginners already familiar with the basic poses are likely to appreciate the modifications which are displayed as well as Ivanhoe's no-nonsense style.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This has been a mainstay in my video library ever since it was released. I just keep coming back to it, because it is so basic and good. It is not a 'beginner' workout, but it is far from an advanced workout. It's intermediate with wiggle room for someone not as flexible.
The set is Crunch-y (big fans, bright set, hardwood floor) so it's not going to make you fall asleep or anything (no gossamer curtains, muted lighting and mellow voice-overs).

Starting out, there are standing breathing exercises with forward bends. Next is a warrior series, which is nice because you have a few modifications shown for you. You can pick whatever appeals to you that day to follow. You also hold the pose long enough. Not too short, not too long. The perfect amount of time for me. Next is a lunge series, which echoes the sentiments above. Then it's to the floor for cobra and back bends. TThere are also intermittent downward dogs sprinkled throughout the aforementioned series'. Then there is a series where you do back work in table position, lifting alternate arm and leg with an optional push up in between (I like to save my push ups for my strength work personally, but they're there if you want them).
Then you do some hamstring stretches in the seated, straight legs out position, then it is on to relaxation: corpse pose, etc. I don't think I'll ever outgrow this, unless I ever really get into doing yoga seriously, which could happen, but it's not what I am interested in doing right now or for the foreseeable future.
I think this is a modern classic.

Instructor Comments:
She's good, you'll like her.

Kathy Weller


This is a really great yoga video for the intermediate-level exerciser. Lots of downward-facing dog poses which can be challenging after awhile but none of the poses were extremely difficult. This is a 30 minute yoga workout which is a nice length and it's challenging enough to make you feel really great afterwards.

My only complaint about this video is that it's a little too "upbeat" in tone for a yoga video - at least in my opinion. I like yoga classes that are meditative and relaxing in feel and this one is a great workout, but the music and instructor are pretty upbeat - Sara verges on being a little hyper at times and overly chatty and "hip" which takes away from the "zone out" feeling that yoga should have (at least that's how I enjoy it best).

Instructor Comments:
I like Sara a lot - especially in Candlelight Yoga. As I mentioned above, she's a little more "hyper" in this video - maybe a little too much for yoga. But her instruction is great and she's very natural in front of the camera.



This tape has already been extensively reviewed and broken down by others, but I thought I would chime in anyway with my perceptions of it as someone less flexible.

I have previously found yoga very challenging. It was more choreographed then "athletic" stretching tapes, and the only think I am worse at than stretching is choreography. And most yoga tapes are VERY long. I had this half-hour little workout on my shelf (and on my trade list) for quite some time, and finally gave it a go when I was doing some cleaning. Imagine my surprise to find myself getting through it very well!

There were a few sections I had to modify, but it did not disrupt the workout much. I think I skipped at least one of the many long downward dog sequences when my wrist started hurting, and I did not trust my balance enough to even attempt that wide-stance down dog with the funky hand stuff. During that final floor bit, I was also using a strap, which Sara never talked about. But, as Sara says, we are just having fun, and I wasn't too concerned with how I was looking. None of these poses were fancy enough to make me feel like a klutz for not being able to do them properly.

Sara cued the routine perfectly. She offered enough to keep me in reasonably proper form, and to keep me feeling like part of the class. I sometimes find TOO much cueing to be a little overwhelming (I'm thinking here of Rodney Yee and his remarks about the angle each finger should be at). Yet I did not feel Sara ever crossed this line.

Overall, I give this tape top marks. It was an uncomplicated routine, cued well enough that I could follow it without a direct line of sight to the TV. The instructor was pleasant, instructed well, and chose a well-rounded set of poses suitable for most flexibility levels.



I know this isn't a new video but I thought I'd do a review of it since I have used it from time to time since its release. A general overview: This is a half hour program of yoga that is beginning to intermediate in level. Most of the poses are standing or forward bending. The program ends with a few floor poses and then a relaxation section. When I first used this tape I thought it was okay, pretty user friendly. When I used it recently I found that it was a nice change of pace from a number of other yoga tapes I've used. There isn't a whole lot of dialogue and description that is continuous while you are doing the poses and I actually appreciate the silence to a great extent. Also, I noticed that most of the poses work the front and back of the body more so than the sides. For example the hamstrings and quads vs. the inner and outer thighs. I also like the length of it since I can come home and fit in some needed relaxation, which has been a challenge lately. A very friendly tape. If you're familiar with yoga and want to do something to relax a bit and warm up the body this is a great video.

Instructor Comments:
Very relaxed and hip in general. She teaches the class in a user friendly manner. She uses both yoga terms and general explanations. She has a comfortable demeanor.

Lisa Kucharski


Of all my yoga videos, this one is the worst. I spent way too much time in downward dog. It hurt my arms and my hands after a while. My other gripe is that it is too short. I felt I wasn't getting anything out of it. I didn't even break a light sweat. In the meantime I will continue to use my Ali MacGraw and YogaZone tapes.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Sarah. She wasn't intimidating and had a calm soothing voice.



This is a relatively short, 35 minute yoga video. Some of the poses included are downward facing dog (many times), cat stretch with and without modified pushups, child's pose, warrior II, high and low lunges, staph pose, cobra, relaxation pose, seated and reclining twists, and several others. Sara Ivanhoe leads the class. One exerciser shows the poses for the very flexible, and one exerciser shows the modified versions. The instructor and the class members show good form. The setting is typical Crunch studio (minus the whooping, of course). The music is new-agey. All of the exercisers are fit, young, and show various levels of flexibility. As a yoga intermediate, I enjoy this as a relatively short, relatively thorough yoga workout. It isn't nearly as challenging as Bryan Kest's Power Yoga series; I would consider it a step below Ali McGraw's Yoga Mind and Body. It isn't as relaxing as Ali's tape, though. I would recommend this tape to yoga intermediates--there is nowhere near enough instruction for beginners, and advanced will not find it challenging enough. My main complaint about this tape (besides the brief instruction, which is not a problem if you are familiar with the poses) is that the relaxation is too short. You lie in relaxation pose for only about a minute or so, and then Sara instructs you to roll to your side and sit up. All in all, I like this tape but it is not for everyone.

Instructor Comments:
Sara is very down-to-earth in a hip way, not unlike most of the Crunch instructors. She does a good job of making yoga seem unintimidating. Her cuing to me seems to run a bit hot and cold; sometimes she is very thorough and other times she assumes that you know how to do the poses by name.

Kristin Aziz


I bought this tape since I had heard it was a great tape, but since traded it away. Although the instructor was pleasant enough, the workout was not challenging for me and I did it three times without breaking a sweat or feeling slightly strained. It is set indoors in what I presume to be Crunch studios and it's very very laid back, she mentions you can "just hang out." I didn't really care too much for the choreography, but I really liked the length of the video and thought it would be perfect in my rotation. But for a video in the same price range I would rather do MTV Advanced Workout yoga section, it was far more challenging and the set was in the dessert and much more interesting to look at (that is when you are looking and not trying to work out). It is a rather slow video compared to Bryan Kest's series which I adore. I would give this video a D for someone who has never done yoga or a B- for someone who wants a somewhat relaxing power yoga workout.

Instructor Comments:
She is very pleasant and down to earth, but didn't explain breathing very well. I did like the fact that she explained how to push with your middle part of your hand in downward dog though.

Stephanie Bridges


I like this tape as a relatively brief, not overly strenuous but still reasonably good yoga tape. It isn't too intimidating like some of the tapes I have seen (Total Yoga comes to mind)and I think a person who is new to yoga could really get a lot out of it. For me, this tape is a good "I have no time or little energy but I really want to do something" tape. It's also a nice post-workout tape to follow a cardio or strength workout (I just skip the stretch on the previous workout).

As with all yoga tapes, I wouldn't recommend this to a person who has *never* done yoga before, because I think it doesn't offer the form pointers that a beginner requires, but for someone who has taken a few classes, I think this is just fine.

Renee Drellishak


In 35 minutes, Crunch Joy of Yoga gives you a good stretch, some toning and flexibility training, and a relaxing finale. I wouldn't recommend this for someone who's never done yoga before, because you'd be missing the "one-with-the-universe" element that makes doing yoga feel like more than must a workout. Sarah alludes to breathing properly, but she's pretty sloppy about alignment and breathing. But if you've done yoga before, this is a good tape for just "doing it." There's little explanation, just the moves. I didn't like this tape at first, but it grew on me when I couldn't find an acceptable trade on the exchange. Now I don't know what I'd do without it! For beginners, this tape rates a "D," but for intermediates, I'd rank it a "B." My perfect yoga video would be this length, but have a little more substance.

Instructor Comments:
Sarah is not intimidating at all for a yoga instructor. She's not a "mystical" instructor; rather, she makes the movements as simple and non-threatening as possible. Her cuing is excellent; you can concentrate on what you're doing and not have to watch the TV screen to know you're doing the movements correctly. She emphacizes breathing properly, but doesn't explain exactly what she means. She seems to take for granted the exerciser has done a little yoga before and knows all the stuff about breathing and body alignment. Since she doesn't explain every little detail, you get more of a workout in a short time.

Lilly Anderson


I would have to disagree with pretty much everyone else's review of the video. This video would be the first yoga video i have tried in my life. The first time i attempted to follow the moves i was very stiff and unable to even go in the downward facing dog pose. In a weeks time i felt more comfortable and flexible. I felt longer and leaner in a few weeks and the weight just started falling off (mind you i would walk 20 min on the treadmill and use this video 5x a week).
I ended up losing 60 pounds at the age of 16. I'm 21 now, I still consider it my fave video, since it's short and to me it's effective. I love the video from beginning to end, i also love the order of the poses, the only downfall would be the Sara does not touch on side poses. Otherwise the video is well made.

Instructor Comments:
Sara has a calm and soothing voice. Her instructions were straightforward and simple.