The Solar Power routine is excellent. I think it would be an especially good choice for beginners: The premix for beginners includes the tune-in, breath primer, posture primer, the solar power first set, the set for super vitality, and the heart mantra meditation -- quite thorough and doable for anyone. For those put off by sat kriya, perhaps even better than their first Beginners & Beyond DVD (I also think the 15-minute warmup in Quick Fixes is excellent for beginners, and then you can close with a great meditation and add from many options as you progress).
This is my first Blond Ana DVD (I'd put my ravianas away for a while only to recently rediscover them), and the vibe is quite different; it feels over-produced and lazy at the same time. The afore-mentioned Beginners premix, for instance, is listed at 30 minutes, but actually clocks in at almost 45 minutes. (It also oddly begins with the DVD intro - so, does "beginner" mean first-time user of this DVD? There is no reason to watch the intro more than once.) While I appreciate that premixes now include the tune-in and the closing prayer, one premix is just the entire DVD without Awaken Your Senses, and one is the DVD without the meditation. With the matrix available, really, what's the point? And how do you mismeasure a set by 50 percent? And why does each premix end with the credits?
I appreciate the wide-screen aspect (only B&B had that with Raven Ana), but I don't like the sound mix: too much reverberation for much of Ravi's voiceover. And I appreciate that kundalini is done with your eyes closed, but you at least want to watch it through before doing it, and the quick edits and camera shifts gave me a headache that even Quick Fixes couldn't fix. The music is not offensive, but it also feels over-produced and self-consciously commercial; my favorite was the heart-opening chant, which is an old Tom Carden tune used in the background of Raven Ana DVDs.
Gone is the Raven Ana who often looked ready to burst into a smile or laughter while doing her yoga. Blond Ana seems to be trying too hard to suppress any emotion. (Indeed, during the closing prayer, she looks like an overly serious Annie Lennox in a bathing suit - I expected to hear her burst into "Sweet dreams are made of these ..."). Gone is the Raven Ana doing her little happy dance at the end; instead, we get to see the names of Blond Ana's make-up artist and the two people who do her hair, as well as set designers, etc. Gone is the best Raven Ana line from the breath primer that really helped me "get" BOF ("Think happy little puppy").
Much of the charm I found in the Raven Ana DVDs was the hippyish vibe, and what felt like a genuine interaction between a couple (Ravi clearly is very proud of his wife, as well as his poetry); and I appreciate that I'm older and male and thus not part of the market demographic. Still, this DVD looks like it was produced by kids who just graduated from school and thought it'd be cool to play with dizzyingly quick edits, reverberation, moving camera angles and Blond Ana wearing odd designer T-shirts (a fire-engine red shirt with RE LAX in large capital letters? Really? Ironic detachment is like so 1990s, dude). If their objective is to make it more hip than hippie and thus more broadly appealing, fine, but they have also diluted Ravi's voice and poetry (which, even when corny, felt sincere) and made Blond Ana look like she is doing labor instead of a labor of love.
Again, it's a great set (although not as inspired nor substantial as many Raven Ana DVDs), and the beginner premix is arguably the best starting point for raviana newbies (I can't speak for last year's B&B). But the next time I project a healing prayer for someone who needs it, it will be for the people who over-produce Blond Ana DVDs.