Natural Journey's Sara Ivanhoe by Christine Lynn Harvey
Sara Ivanoes path to yoga was through the back door. She spent her teenage years as a whitewater rafting guide on the American River in California and also traveled to Siberia and Turkey to do the sport. That was extreme sports for fun, she says. She swam in high school and ended up on the swim team at NYU. I always knew stretches and did my first sun salute in high school, Ivanhoe says. As part of the physical component of her dramatic arts training at NYU, Sara was introduced to more and more yoga stretches in her training as an actor. She says while the NYC lifestyle and learning to be an actor was very stressful, doing yoga helped her immensely.
At a young age, I needed to find a way to help me navigate whatever the stresses were going to be. When she finished her BS of Arts in Drama, she headed out to Los Angeles and landed work in commercials and modeling. But Sara found it unfulfilling cause she had been training to be a serious actor since she was very young and had gone to one of the best schools in America for acting. On the side, instead of waiting tables or bartending as most actors do while theyre waiting for their big break, Sara decided to teach yoga which she was doing for nine years way before anyone else was doing it on a broad scale. I had to go to a large gym and convince them to let me teach a yoga class. They said, why, we have aerobics class here. Why would anyone want to take a yoga class? But after her persistence, the gym gave in and let her teach.
Sara never really gave up acting thought. Part of being an actor is to connect with an audience and Sara began enjoying her new role as yoga instructor since she got to connect with an audience every time she taught a yoga class. Its been a really wild to watch the evolution of everything. Now theres so many yoga classes and its so wonderful, she says. The growing public interest in yoga has also been a boom to Sara Ivanhoes yoga videos. Her first yoga tape, The Joy of Yoga, was produced by Crunch Fitness. At the time, the only yoga tapes were made Gaia, which was for a very select market, the moderate to serious yoga practitioner. She first taught a yoga class for the gym chain which also owned a fitness video production company. From there, it snowballed into two more tapes and other fitness video offers. Ivanhoes immensely popular Yoga for Dummies series based on the best-selling book are excellent tapes for those new to yoga, or those who need to brush up on the basic elements of yoga as well as seasoned practitioners.
Sara says her newest production company, Natural Journeys which has already produced one video with her (Yoga on the Ball), is willing to take risks. I worked with Andrea Ambandos, a freelance producer/director who does 80% of the fitness videos out there who suggested I take a meeting with Natural Journeys. They told me, We want the Sara Ivanhoe style in half the time. Currently, she is in Hawaii shooting five new series of tapes which will be 20 minutes long and offering a more intense workout. The focus in the new series are: 20 Minute Yoga Make-Over Weight Loss, Flat Abs, Buns & Thighs, Total Body Toning with Weights, Power Beauty Sweat. The last tape will be geared to detoxing the body, with lots of asanas (postures) that twist the spine and arm balances that build upper body strength (plank with one arm).
The idea about yoga is getting the body warm first which helps to cultivate flexibility and prevent injury. Like an iron in the fire, once its heated it can easily bend. You dont want to slam right into these poses, she says. In her new tapes, Sara keeps the pace going and uses vinyasa, (breath placement) which strengthens the mind/body connection. When the arms are up its an inhale, when the arms are down its an exhale, says Sara. Also. When you raise your arms above your head, you increase your heart rate. Were not hanging out at all. The new series will introduce yoga to people who dont have time or the desire to do yoga for a hour. Sara says you can derive the benefits of yoga in just a few minutes a day, at your desk in the office or on an airplane. Doing mini yoga stretches through the day releases stress, energizes the body and focuses the mind. Sara also says that you should not be so worried about how flexible you are. Flexibility is like a weight loss goal, individual for everyone and you cant compare yourself to others. Its about how it makes you feel!
For more information on Sara, please visit: www.SaraIvanhoe.com. For more info on her new yoga tapes to be released before Christmas, please visit: www.naturaljourneys.com