Sara Ivanhoe
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Yoga

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.

I have trouble fitting in enough stretching/yoga into my fitness routine. Given that I just linked stretching and yoga, you probably can guess that I'm not a yogi and that the yoga I do is gentle and stretchy in nature. When I heard about TASTE - that it was intended to present a series of short yoga routines, each around five minutes in length, and that these segments could be alone or combined for longer yoga sessions, I was intrigued. Sara Ivanhoe is a practioner I haven't ever bonded with, but she's such a professional and good at what she does that I was intrigued.

The production value of this DVD are high. It includes appropriate music and Sara wears different outfits in different segments, all seemingly appropriate to what she is doing. The set is a small room with shelves and a mat in the middle of a wood floor. There are strong Eastern themes, both with the music and the set and the graphics on some of the screens.

Each of the segments is 5 minutes, give or take some. The segments that I enjoyed included:

WAKE - Intended to be done in the morning and includes a breaths and forward bends that combine into half sun salutations. These are repeated multiple times.

BURN is more athletic and includes chair pose going into standing forward bends. Then, there is a vinyasa morphing into Warrior 2.

WORK - I guess this segment is meant to be done at work? It seems to be intended to stretch the upper body while seated at a desk. It includes an overhead stretch, a twist, and eagle arms. At less than four minutes, it seems really, really short.

CHILL is somewhat longer than some of the other segments. It includes breath work and stretching and ends in savasana.

SLEEP is very relaxing to me! This floor session includes areclined cobbler's pose, a reclined twist, and ends with savasana.

There were some that I was less enamored with, mainly because they didn't agree with some of my body parts. For people who don't have the physical contraints I have, they probably would enjoy them more. There was nothing "wrong" with these segments other than the fact that they weren't for me:

SHED starts with cat/cow stretches (I liked this) and then moved into a series of cleansing breaths while in different lunge positions. My wonky knees didn't like this section, but if you don't have these problems, it might be better for you.

CLEANSE focuses on twists - a seated twist, low lunge twist, and a squat twist. My wonky lower back and knees didn't like this segment.

FIRM includes planks, all planks, so if you like planks, you'll like this segment. My arthritic hands/wrists weren't thrilled with it.

CORE includes boat pose and, once you are in a lying position, leg drops and a criss-cross crunch.

TAIL is comprised of balancing postures in a kneeling position. My knees don't do kneeling positions.

There are also three premixes that combine 2-3 individual segments to make a longer practices:

*SLIM (15 minutes)-- Wake, Shed, and Burn
*STRENGTH (14 minutes)-- Firm, Burn, and Cleanse
*REST (12 minutes)-- Chill and Sleep

It's too bad they didn't include the option to build your own practice by choosing the segments you want to do. That is what would have made this DVD a really good choice. It's easy enough to choose the menu options off the menu one at a time, but it breaks the flow of what you are doing. For me, the REST premix would be good, but the other two contain both segments I would want and segments I don't want.

This DVD is well done. For those wanting really short segments, it may be a good choice. As I said before, it's too bad they didn't maximize its potential by letting you customize the order of the segments.

Instructor Comments:
She is a very good instructor.

Laura S.


NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology.net; you can read a more detailed version of my review on that site.

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. Ivanhoe practices alone in a small indoor room, and she instructs 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 described each segment below.

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

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 (e.g., Crunch: Candlelight Yoga, Yoga Body Makeover Series) will appreciate this new offering.

Instructor Comments:
Sarah is a likeable enough instructor, but admittedly, I've never really clicked with her. Her practices tend to appeal to me and I hold on to them for a time, but I always wind up trading them, as I don't reach for them very often. I think it's because (at least in part) that Sarah has some verbal quirks that get on my nerves, such as saying "let's get that on the other side" virtually EVERY time she switches to the second side.

Beth C (aka toaster)