"Diamond" Dallas Page is a retired professional wrestler, fitness instructor and actor. His wrestling career spanned two decades, during which Page became a three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, four-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, and one-time WCW World Television Champion. Due to a series of injuries, Diamond Dallas Page found himself exploring a fitness routine none of us would expect him to even consider, and one that he originally thought he would not be caught dead doing - Yoga.
DDP Yoga is strength-based and cardio-based yoga. Think of it as the yoga version of P90X. My husband has put his body through a lot of wear and tear through the years due to weightlifting. A yoga program like DDP Yoga might be an interesting way for gym rats and those who may want a more intense version of yoga for cardio benefits while taking it easy on the injuries and joints.
Diamond Dallas Page has developed DDP Yoga, and as his tag states, "This is not your mama's yoga." I had seen some video footage of miraculous fitness and recoveries by people who have done DDP Yoga, so I had the chance to interview Dallas himself to find out more about DDP Yoga.
Oakland County Moms: I'm a fan of yoga, but would never have expected someone like you to even look into the idea. How did it all begin for you?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: Well, more than anything, I had to. It was all I could do. I didn't start wrestling until I was 35 and my career didn't take off until I was 40, and that was in '96. At the end of 1998, I was on top of the world. According to Pro Wrestling Illustrated, I was rated the #4 wrestler in the world for both years '97 and '98. Then, I ruptured my L4 and L5 so badly in the lower part of my that three different doctors told me my wrestling career was over. When you rupture a disc, it's like taking a jelly doughnut and squashing it. The gel has to go somewhere. With the way I was abusing my body it was excruciating. I lost my flexibility and my core strength - I really didn't work on my core like I did on my upper and lower body. I rehabbed both knees from tears, I rehabbed both shoulders back to be stronger than they ever were. Then, I figured for my back I'll be able to do some kind of rehab for this. But, a conventional rehab doesn't exist. I noticed my wife coming out from workouts in a full sweat. I asked "What are you doing, some killer stairmaster?" She would say "No, I made the room really warm and I'm doing yoga. You should try it. It might change your body." I said "I would be caught dead doing yoga. Come on, you know me better than that." After a couple days she said, "Now come on... you'd try anything, do anything, eat anything... you won't try something that could heal your body because you have a stigma about it?" I could see her sweating and stuff but I didn't think it could help my back. She manipulated me down into that space and I just made her promise not to tell anybody. Within the first 3 weeks, I could tell right away. Everyone there was a stick figure, everybody was crazy flexible, nobody was modifying anything. I felt really inadequate. I knew I was hurt, but I figured out ways to modify positions and I was really blown away by how much I could feel a difference with my flexibility and core strength. I liked the positions, but at the time I was still ignorant to what the message was, so I stopped doing it except for once in a while. Then I realized that if I mixed these moves with some of the rehab moves let's see what happens then. The down dog, that was really boring to me. I'm a weight lifter at that time in my life but I couldn't lift weights. So, I would lower for 3, held for 3, came up for 3, lower for 3... and eventually 3 became 5, 5 became 7, 7 became 10. And, my body started getting stronger! Then I added in martial arts stuff and some other stuff (cardio) by accident. You can recondition your heart to not overtrain. Take "Isometrics" meet "Isokinetics" (which means you're engaging and moving). I call it dynamic resistance. I realized the more I engaged my muscles, it's like running - when you're running you're using every muscle in your foot, quad, glutes... Every time I engage my muscles, my heart has to beat faster to get blood to the muscle. Before I realized it I could create a yoga inspired workout that has zero impact but I could take my heart rate as high as 200 if I want to. It's kick-ass cardio which dramatically increased my flexibility and core-strength conditioning. And, once you get your heart rate up, you don't have to work that hard.
Oakland County Moms: Would you say this is a program that people with injuries could safely do?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: Well, if their doctor says it is, I'm not a doctor, I'm a former wrestler who works with a lot of people who are injured, a lot of people who are obese. You never really hear anyone promoting htis as a weight loss program, but it is, if you get in your fat burning zone. I've done quite a bit of yoga. I have never seen a DVD that got me into my fat burning zone doing it the way they told me to do it - without dynamic resistance, without isometrics - that got me into my fat burning zone before twenty minutes or more. With mine you're in it in the first three. That's what makes it completely different.
Oakland County Moms: You truly don't have an impact on your joints and you're creating a cardio effect without doing the typical exercises that most would expect for cardio, e.g running, which has huge impact on your joints?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: Exactly. I've continually learned from this. The harder and faster you run, the harder your heart rate goes. Again, all the impact - knees, feet, ankles, hips, back... boom, boom, boom. As you're getting older, that's really bad. And, if you've had a few kids, you're body's not the same as it was. It's such wear and tear on the body. Any kind of yoga is better for you.
Oakland County Moms: I come from a background of weight training. How is strength training incorporated into your program? Can you get stength training benefits from your yoga; can you replace your strength training program with DDP Yoga?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: Have you seen any recent pics of my body?
Oakland County Moms: Yes. You don't do any weight training?!?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: I haven't lifted a weight in seven years, probably closer to eight. I don't lift weights.
Oakland County Moms: Ok, funny question here. Your wife probably feels you owe her a lot to her, but as she converted to your form of yoga?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: (Laughs) You know, it's funny cuz we're not married anymore, but she's my best friend and she's my partner in this. She loves the peaceful yoga. She's a ad executive for an advertising firm - lots of stress. She'll still do mine, and does it and promotes it, but she does ten different types of yoga. She'll get her DDP Yoga in but she also gets in other yoga - you name it, she does it.
Oakland County Moms: When you first starting telling people you were doing yoga, did you get a lot of crap for it?
Diamond Dallas Page of DDP Yoga: Oh God, they bust my...In my world??? Oh God, so bad! But I knew it worked and I didn't care at that point. And then I said eventually I'm going to do an infomercial on this. And that was 9, 10 years ago. And then I wrote a book with a really good buddy of mine who's a chiropractor and a yogi for like 28 years. He actually worked with me and taught me stuff early on. I was taking everything and making it my own. I was learning from everyone I could. And, that's when we wrote the book "Yoga for Regular Guys." That was about grabbing guys who wouldn't be caught dead doing yoga. From there, it went to DVD's. I wanted a workout you could do by just buying the program.
Oakland County Moms: You modified this in ways it worked for you and you didn't care what anybody thinks.
Diamoned Dallas Page: There's now about 20 guys in the WWE doing my workout, about 15 doing it in the TNA (which is another wrestling thing) I got about 12 guys in the NFL doing it, a couple MMA fighters, mixed martial artists.. these are top end warriors, but they all beat up their bodies pretty bad.
You can check out more on DDP Yoga here.