Janis Saffell has 11 different DVDs
available through Mill Creek Entertainment. They include Tai Chi Balance
Workout, South Beach Slam, Kick-It, Dynamic Stretch, Kick Box Underground, Beverly Hills Pilates, Brand New Butt and More, and this Beverly Hills Yoga DVD.
According to her own website, she is President and CEO of Fitness Express
International, and she has been featured in many fitness magazines. So
Saffell's main focus is on physical health and fitness rather than more general
wellness and mind-body connections. The main workout on this DVD is 45
minutes. It is set in the back of a house next to an indoor pool. Saffell practices
on a purple mat in a brick covered yard surrounded by plants, flowers, and
walls of a pale yellow color. She is wearing a lime green top and black
athletic pants, provided by Couture Active Wear. The music, consisting of
bland electronic sounds, come from MusicFlex. She talks clearly, and smiles a
great deal. The DVD is pretty basic: there is just one practice, and it is
split into 5 sections: introduction, preparation, standing postures, balance
work, and floor work. With new postures, the name of the posture appears at
the bottom of the screen, in its English form. The camera work is very basic,
showing Saffell from one of two static positions, with fades between the two.
The actual workout is fairly
introductory, with a great many forward bends in the standing postures, with
lots of downward dogs, planks, and some cobras, lunges, and warrior poses. The
balance portion is short, with tree poses and then a more challenging balance
holding out one leg out straight with the hands at the shin or the foot. Those
of us who have less flexibility in our hamstrings may find this almost
impossible to do, and there's not much suggestion about easier alternatives.
The wide leg forward bends that follow are satisfying and easier to modify.
Saffell makes the triangle poses look easy, but of course most people will find
them demanding. She continues with some strenuous lunges and twists, and by
the end of this section, you will probably feel the burn in your legs. She
ends with a short section of sitting on the floor with a leg extended to
stretch the lower back and the hamstrings. On the whole the workout is good,
although it is the only yoga practice I have seen that does not end with a
The overall quality of this DVD is
middling, and there are certainly far more versatile and better produced yoga
DVDs available. I'd recommend this DVD mainly to existing fans of Saffell.
© 2007 Christian Perring. All
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.