Jane Fonda's Yoga WorkoutJane Fonda
Year Released: 1993
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I really enjoy this video. I've been using it off and on for about a year, and have recently begun using it regularly again. As far as it's not being "back friendly", I am in a good position to evaluate that, having had a lumbar vertebrectomy and L5/S1 fusion several years ago. I have had NO trouble with my back during of after this video -- but I am always very careful to do all maneuvers EXACTLY as described and demonstrated. I can imagine that it would be VERY easy to injure an already injured back if you did NOT use correct form and movement. (The main concern for me is keeping the stomach and buttock muscles tight -- this protects the back. If you do not do this consistently, you MAY get hurt.) I had had a little bit of yoga experience with a different video before finding this one. I found it to be a good example of form and easy-to-follow instruction, and interesting. Several of the exercises, including Sun Salutation, are given in several levels -- I don't find this boring at all, I find it very helpful. When I was learning the tape, I was glad of the beginning levels because I was not expert at them yet. Now that I'm fairly good at this tape, I still welcome the variations on the poses to avoid boredom. I highly recommend this video to anyone at a low to intermediate exercise level who would like to learn about yoga. No experience required!
I like Jane a lot, because she's down to earth, and is enthusiastic without being ridiculously "up". Unlike other instructors, Jane's encouragement actually encourages, without engendering the desire to throw things at the smiling, overly cheerful person on the screen.
This was my first yoga tape; I've had it for about 18 months now. The workout is split into three parts: 20-minute full-body stretch and tone (my favourite part); 15-minute Sun Salutation progression; this is followed by a lateral spinal stretch (half moon) and a balance exercise; 15-minute breathing and relaxation section.
Although modifications are shown for several poses, I found it easier to add more modifications according to some instructions I found in a book and another video - especially for the Downward Dog Pose.
Another reviewer mentions that the constant repetition of the Sun Salutation is annoying. This can be - it is performed six times (at three levels, twice at each level). I don't usually do this tape all the way through. I do the first part, or the first part and one or two of the Sun Salutation levels. I often do the final breathing and relaxation section if I've had a hectic day.
It has also been mentioned that it is not back-friendly. I've had back trouble in the past (but not necessitating surgery), and at first I felt some discomfort after doing this tape - but I suspect that this was a question of poor form on my part. Anyway, I don't have any trouble now that I don't do it all in one go and I worked my way up to some of the poses in easy stages through modifications drawn from other sources.
I was fairly ignorant of yoga when I started, and I expected a more interesting tape - more poses and less repetition, but perhaps this was the wrong attitude with which to approach yoga. However, the workout certainly didn't put me off, and was still interesting enough for me to want to add yoga to my fitness programme. I like the tape more now, and feel like I'm getting more out of it, since I picked up more tips from other videos and books on yoga.
Jane Fonda's soothing voice (added as voice-over) is indeed well suited to this kind of workout. She is encouraging, and in the introduction she points out that if you're not flexible or have never done yoga before, then it should take a while before you find the poses easy.
I probably wouldn't have sought this video out otherwise, but one of my dogs "ate" the Rachel McLish tape I was using for my strength workouts, and I happened to stumble on this at a used book store for pocket change. I'm quite pleased with the tape, which is 90 minutes, divided into two 45 minute sessions...the second session for advanced excercisers who have mastered the first one. It's just a standard free weights workout with moves like dumbell flys, rows, lunges, etc. Jane and her trainer/co-host, Dan, explain which muscles are working, why they are important, and how to do the moves safely. I respond well to this "scientific", no-nonsense approach, so I am motivated to keep using this tape on strength days. Plus, I've been feeling that pleasingly tight, almost-sore sensation in my muscles the day after, so I know it's doing me good. This is an older video from the 1980's and may be a little harder to find, but I recommend it.
Jane is a very no-nonsense instructor who makes frequent note of safe and correct form. I find her explanations to be thorough and her straightforward personality to be motivating.
I bought this video when I was a solid "intermediate" exerciser, before I gained my last 10 pounds and have reverted back to some beginner tapes. I was shocked when I tried Jane's "intermediate" yoga tape and had trouble keeping up with her. She does the Sun Salutation over and over and over. I got sick of it. Also, the day after I first tried the video all the way through, my back was killing me from all the extensions. (I've had back surgery and do regular exercises to keep it supple, but Jane's quick moves from cobra pose to dog pose was too much. So if you've ever had back toruble, don't try this video.) After about three yoga workouts with Jane, I gave the video to a friend. It scared me away from yoga for two years until just recently. I'd give Jane's yoga a definite thumbs-down. To get her better stretching, try the stretch segment from "Low Impact Aerobics" or "Stress Relief."
Although I love Jane Fonda as an exercise instructor, I don't think she did a good job in this yoga video. She has a soothing voice, and is very flexible, so you would think a yoga video by her would be good. Also, I have loved her stretch segments in her aerobics videos. This is petty, but I thought the braid Jane wears in the yoga video was a little distracting, because I kept peeking up from my poses to see what side her braid was on!)