Jane Fonda on yoga for boomers

Jane Fonda has a new DVD out that tailors yoga routines for baby boomers looking to stay fit and flexible as they age.
Jane Fonda has a new DVD out that tailors yoga routines for baby boomers looking to stay fit and flexible as they age.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Jane Fonda has led many public lives. There’s Fonda the antiwar activist; Fonda the fitness enthusiast, grapevining her way across a studio in a tiny leotard and tights; and Fonda the actress, who has starred in more than 40 films.

Now, the 74-year-old Renaissance woman has added to her résumé by releasing the sixth in a series of home workout DVDs geared toward baby boomers. “Jane Fonda: Prime Time AM/PM Yoga for Beginners” features several short yoga workouts to be done in the morning and the evening.

Fonda talks about what inspired her to make the DVD and how she thinks yoga can help her generation be as fit as possible as they enter their golden years.


Tell me about the video.

This is a yoga DVD for beginners and older people, who have to move slower and can’t turn themselves into pretzels like I used to be able to do. I wanted to make a video that I could do with a couple of 10-minute segments for the morning and a couple for the afternoon.

I started my new Prime Time label about three years ago, and I’ve done about six DVDs so far. There was a gap in what I had touched on; I hadn’t done yoga, and this is kind of yoga marinated in Pilates rather than pure yoga.

Why is yoga good for boomers?

Yoga is good for everybody! But staying flexible and strong — because yoga also makes you strong — is part of the three-legged stool of fitness: strength, aerobic capacity and flexibility. Those are critical components, and they’re particularly good for older people because they help with healthy joints and bones.

A lot of the DVDs that are out there are just too hard. In fact, the demographic that I’m addressing is left out of most exercise programs that are put out on DVDs these days. I would say the No. 1 most important thing for healthy aging is to stay physically active, and that’s why I decided to make a video for boomers.

How has yoga become a part of your life?

I started when I was in my 50s. I started with Ashtanga yoga, and I did it for about four years until I dreaded it, and then I moved to Iyengar. I can’t do everything I used to do, but I lift weights, I do aerobics and I do this video. I’ve been doing yoga longer than I’ve been meditating.

How did you come up with the instructor?

I work with a woman who is extremely experienced in teaching older people. I wanted to be with someone who has a lot of experience, who knows what is good and safe and popular for older people. Each 10-minute segment is a very well-organized, well-coordinated series of movements. I think it’s important to do one 10-minute workout in the morning and one at night. The DVDs also ensure that you work all different parts of the body.

What’s the rest of your fitness routine like these days?

Now I do about a half-hour of fitness and resistance training a day. Sometimes it’s with weights; sometimes it’s with a band. Then I do about 45 minutes of walking and cardiovascular exercise.

I also do this video!