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Fat-Burning Yoga with Sara Ivanhoe

This new video by Crunch Fitness is useful and clear -- though there's no guarantee of how many calories students will burn in a session.

By Richard Rosen

(Anchor Bay Entertainment)

This video comes from the folks of Crunch fitness, apparently one in a series of fat eradication programs that includes titles like Fat Blaster, The Next Stop, and Fat Blaster Plus. At least you can't accuse them of politically-correct tiptoeing around the overweight issue. Anyway, a while back we reviewed a prenatal video from this group, which wasn't half bad, and we've met the instructor, Los Angeles-based Sara Ivanhoe, before too, in the Yoga for Dummies video.

The first half or so of this 40-minute sessions involves a run of several different flow series, which means that each of the poses in the series is linked through a Sun Salutation-like vinyasa. There's a modified Sun Salutation to begin, next a series of baby backbends, and finally a series of three standing poses. Then the second half of the session includes work to further strengthen the belly, hip and groin openers, and a too short relaxation.

Ivanhoe aims her session at beginning students and is a perfect fit for this audience. She has a good practical understanding of the poses, their correct alignment, useful benefits, and whatnot, which gives her students a firm foundation. And her grasp of the practice is developed enough that she also sequences each of the flow series expertly, clearly defining the individual poses in turn before linking them together.

But even more, she's very personable and unfailingly encouraging and reassuring, which puts the students at ease. The poses aren't held long, but the vinyasas do fire up the internal oven, which is supposed to burn up those excess calories, though I should note that it's never determined how many you can expect to vaporize in 40 minutes.

To her credit though, Ivanhoe never claims that this practice alone will reduce fat. She also stresses the importance of proper diet and the self-acceptance of your body as it is.

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