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Last Updated on September 12, 2017

The Power of Yoga: How Diamond Dallas Page Keeps Fighting

The Power of Yoga: How Diamond Dallas Page Keeps Fighting

WWE Hall Of Famer Diamond Dallas Page is known to millions around the world as a legendary professional wrestler. But rather than spending the rest of his life coasting on his successful wrestling or acting careers, he decided to take a professional path that practically no one could have seen coming: yoga.

When it came to getting his body to heal so he could get back into the ring in the late 1990s, Dallas turned to yoga and defied all odds with a full-on comeback. However, what separates DDP YOGA from all other kinds of yoga is not just that it is fronted by a celebrity, or that the program combines yoga poses and calisthenics with physical therapy principles, or even that it has an interactive app that lets its users do the workouts from anywhere, but that DDPY is something that anybody at any age or skill level can do.

DDP YOGA may have a strong celebrity following (e.g. Darius Rucker, Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, Gabriel Iglesias), but the program is rooted in adaptability and “making it your own.” Finding the motivation to start doing DDPY is often the major hurdle for people, as it may entail trying things that were not originally part of their lifestyle. In addition to steadily completing the workouts, followers of DDPY are encouraged to reconsider their diets and overall attitude. When following all of these concepts, results are guaranteed. Just ask military veteran Arthur Boorman , who previously walked with crutches and leg braces, or Jared Mollenkopf, who lost around 300 pounds in a little over a year.

To learn more about how and why Diamond Dallas Page keeps fighting, I spoke to the man himself by phone. Dallas also helped me connect to some of his long-time followers, who taught me more about the power of DDPY:

More on Dallas and DDP YOGA — including its annual retreat, live workshops, and success stories can be found at www.ddpyoganow.com.

When you started doing DDP YOGA, were you also wrestling? Also acting?

Diamond Dallas Page: I was already on top of the world as a wrestler. In 1999 I blew my back out and they said my career was over. So I’m gonna do anything, but I wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga, and yoga became the thing along with the rehab. The rehab wasn’t going to do it by itself. I just mixed all that, the old-school calisthenics and the dynamic resistance and I’m back in the ring. So now, I’m doing it every day. It’s literally part of my lifestyle. Even when I got back in the ring, I knew I had to stay ahead of the curve.

While I was doing it myself, I was sharing it with others and that’s how it started. I found out all these regular guys that would do my version of what today is called DDPY, normally the yoga studios were full of chicks. I’m getting all these guys to do it, so I thought, “I’m gonna write a book called Yoga For Regular Guys.'” I got a publisher, we wrote the book and that’s kind of how we got started. Then people started buying the book and then saying, “Do you have a DVD?” I wouldn’t take anybody else’s money. I literally invested all my own money in the production, editing, marketing, everything, and I had never done it before.

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My workouts are something anyone at any level can do. I created something for everybody, from the people who are overweight, beat up, run down, to the people who are super-athletes who want to stay ahead of the game, offering preventative maintenance. Again, for anyone, from the little kid at school to senior citizens.

So was there a period when you were doing all three at the same time: DDP YOGA, wrestling and acting?

Diamond Dallas Page: Oh yeah. I do all three at the same time when I’m doing a workout teaching somebody!

When I’m doing a workshop, there will usually be three to five people who are over 300 pounds, maybe a few that are over 400 pounds. There will be people on crutches. There will be people who are coming in ridiculous shape, like instructors. Little kids will come. People in their 60s, 70s, in fact a main guy who works out with me, Ted Evans, he’s 83. I’m doing the same workout for everyone. Now this is a beginner level that I can make intermediate and even throw some advanced things in there. “Here’s how you start this, just get your right foot off the ground a couple of inches.You want to take it a little farther, take your knee up to your chest. If you’ve got that, take your leg and try to straighten it out in front of you. If you’ve got that, let go of your leg completely and bring your biceps to your ears.” MAKE IT YOUR OWN! That’s what whole my whole philosophy is.

Does the “make it your own” philosophy apply to other aspects of your life?

Diamond Dallas Page: Oh, absolutely. Eating, a lot of people want to know the secret of how fit I am. It’s the food I eat. The people who are overweight and ask me, I don’t tell them what they can’t eat. I tell them to eliminate a little stuff at a time. But if they’re over 100 pounds overweight, older and beat up, I’m going to say, “Watch these movies and they’re going to explain what was done to food.” Now make it your own. Hopefully they’ll at least cut out McDonald’s and KFC and start eating real food. Again, food is completely about making it your own. Your diet, what you take in, if you’re going to “cheat,” why not “cheat” with gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookies? If you’re going to cheat, don’t eat the Chips Ahoy!

Another way would be with my personal life. When it comes to spending time with your significant other, when I get into that mode, I’m “work-work-work-work-work.” I’m lucky that my wife works with me. But there are times that we have to take “our time” so that we can continue having a really great personal relationship. It’s all about making it your own.

How did you first learn about Dallas and DDPY? Did you know of him through wrestling?

Ted Evans: One day I was over at the gym and I had been introduced to him but didn’t really know him. I said, “What the heck are you doing?” (laughs) He said, “Man, I’ve got to turn back the hands of time.” I said, “I kind of thought this was girlish stuff,” and he laughed. We got to be associates. I kind of gravitated into yoga with Craig Aaron for a while. Dallas was doing a book and asked if I would consider being part of it. Eventually I went out and did the book, Yoga For Regular Guys. From time to time he’d call me and say, “Hey, how you doing? Time to get off your butt and do something.” (laughs)

Christina Russell: I first learned about DDPY through a video my husband Aaron found on YouTube. He is a huge wrestling fan and was watching wrestling promos from the 90s when he came across the Arthur Boorman transformation video. He called me over to watch it and I really connected to it. We had just lost a baby five months earlier and Arthur’s video was just the inspiration I needed to see. If Arthur could do it, I knew that I could too!

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I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, so I didn’t know many wrestlers at all, but while I waited for the DVDs to arrive I watched a bunch of his wrestling matches. That’s pretty much all I knew until I started working for him! (laughs)

Drew Gower: I watched DDP growing up and was a huge fan through his WCW days. I learned of DDP YOGA through a friend of mine who had lost about a hundred pounds in a year.

Brady Jarabeck: I learned about Dallas from watching WWE. And while watching, I was looking up info on some of my favorite wrestlers. When I searched DDP, I saw the link to DDPY and clicked the link.

Dave Rutsky: I first learned about Diamond Dallas Page by watching WCW in the mid to late 1990s. I was a fan of the finishing move the “Diamond Cutter” and enjoyed his promo style/mic skills. In regards to the DDP YOGA program, I listen to various genres of podcasts and I kept hearing the ads for DDP YOGA on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. I was impressed hearing the success stories of DDPY users. During the summer of 2015, I tweaked my back doing a hack slide squat at the gym. While I recovered within a week, the lower back injury I sustained was a nagging one that disrupted my comfort on a daily basis. While stretching helped a little bit, I finally decided to try DDP YOGA in an effort to treat the discomfort on a consistent basis and it was my best exercise related decision to date.

For you what was the most challenging part of getting on-board with DDPY?

Ted Evans: When I was 22, I was in a car wreck. I broke my back in three places, almost destroyed one vertebra. I have three vertebrae that are naturally fused together. I have documented arthritis in my knees, my hips, my hands and my shoulders. I’ve had two operations on each knee and a knee replacement on my right knee. I have torn both rotators in my shoulders and I have a complete tear of the supraspinatus tendon in my right shoulder. I have two pinched nerves documented in my neck. God knows what else, but I can keep up with most 40-year olds.

Dallas reached out and said, “You better get your ass in shape because I’m coming back [to Atlanta]”. I went over to his house and we worked out for a while. This is one of the things I think put us kind of close together. He said, “You know when I go around and we’re doing this, people go and do 10-second push-ups. Very few people can do ten 10-second push-ups.” I said, “What do you mean 10-second push-ups?” He said, “10 seconds up, 10 seconds down.” I go back to my room at the hotel and I said, “I can do 100 push-ups, 10 shouldn’t be that difficult.” I did 11 and I said, “Something’s wrong, people can’t do 10 and I just did 11.”

I go back and challenge Dallas, he tells me to go home and practice for six months and then he’ll consider it. We finish doing all the shooting, he says, “Enjoy your food, have another dessert. Ted, we’ve got the cameras, we’ve got the crew here, let’s do those 10-second push-ups.” I said okay and go out and we start. He’s filming it, about five seconds I start shaking and he starts laughing like hell. (laughs) I think that probably put us closer together.

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    Christina Russell: I found the program easy to follow and with the help of the Team DDPY community. In fact, this is the first workout program that I actually DIDN’T struggle with! I had so much support through the community and my family which helped make DDPY a staple of my day-to-day activities.

    Drew Gower: The most challenging part of getting into DDP YOGA was just doing it. I was almost 400 pounds when I started, that was 16 months ago. Today I weigh 208. DDP YOGA and hard work definitely pay off .

    Brady Jarabeck: There really wasn’t much of a challenge getting on-board. I tried multiple diets and they failed. The most challenging part was making sure I made time to do it each day and breaking the normal routine of my daily activities.

    Dave Rutsky: The most challenging part of getting on-board with DDPY was forcing myself to start the program as a beginner. Not that I had prior yoga experience, but I’ve been a lifter and runner my entire life and figured I’d pick up the yoga quicker than other beginners.

    After doing the Diamond Dozen and Energy workouts, I was quickly humbled and had to learn that the program was no joke and I needed to learn the basic building blocks of DDP YOGA. I had to remind myself not to get angry when struggling with a position or falling on my backside, which occurred often in the first few weeks of the program. In the end, the attitude adjustment I made was the toughest part of my initial dealings with DDP YOGA.

    How do you manage to stay motivated when it comes to doing DDPY and maintaining a good diet?

    Ted Evans: Ego, friends.It’s hard to do things by yourself. But when you’re with a group, and the group expects you to be able to come through on stuff. The expectations of others are a heck of a motivator for me.

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    Christina Russell: When I first started DDPY in 2013, the weight loss, improved mood and flexibility was enough to keep me motivated to keep it up. Once I reached my goal, I started helping others, which turned into getting certified to teach DDPY, which led me to working for Dallas and changing lives on a whole new level! When you feel good about something you’re doing, especially fitness and the way it makes you look and feel, the diet falls in line too. If I ate bad, I felt bad and it wasn’t worth it, so for me, it was easy to maintain a healthy eating habit.

    Drew Gower: I wouldn’t really call it motivation, it’s more of an obsession at this point. Motivation comes and goes. Passion, commitment, determination, those will sustain you long after motivation.

    Brady Jarabeck: My main motivation was girls. Let’s face it, I’m 16 and a junior in high school. I wanted girls to like me, and being an overweight kid, I wasn’t exactly filled with confidence. After losing weight and getting compliments, I knew DDPY was working, and I knew I had to stick with it.

    Dave Rutsky: A huge motivator I’ve noticed has been the aches and pains I get when I take a week off from DDP YOGA. I know if I get into a lazy mode and forgo the yoga for too many days, I will feel the tightness and that’s a punishing motivator for me. Outside of the pain maintenance aspect, I stay motivated by mixing up my yoga workouts which enables me to have a lot of fun. Outside of the traditional workouts such as Fat Burner or Below The Belt. I try to do some of the DDP YOGA Live workouts on the app as I find that the different workouts keeps my interest level high.

    What is your favorite part of DDPY?

    Ted Evans: As one gets older, they lose their strength, their flexibility, their balance and this impacts your confidence, the way you live and the quality of your life. Working with Diamond Dallas Page has enabled me to retain most of these characteristics.He’s always been very giving to me. He’s always been very supportive. He keeps me going. Basically, I’m 22 or 23 years older than him, and he kind of chides me that he’s going to be in better shape when he’s my age than I am. (laughs)

    Christina Russell: My favorite part about DDPY is that ANYONE can do it. I love showing up to teach a class and being able to have students that range from injured to obese to young to super-fit and all can enjoy the class together. There are modifications to make each move easier or more challenging and that’s why I love this program and know that it will be a sustainable workout for anyone at any age.

    Drew Gower: My favorite part of DDP YOGA is that anyone can do it. Also, Dallas is wholeheartedly invested in his program and in people. He wants the best for you. I’m beyond thankful for DDP YOGA and the change I have made in my life by using it.

    Brady Jarabeck: DDP. And the fact that it actually works!

    Dave Rutsky: My favorite part of DDP YOGA has been how great I feel after I finish the workouts. I have increased flexibility and I feel that I have better posture from doing DDPY. I also love that there are so many moves/positions in the program so you always are learning something new. Often with lifting and running, the monotony can sap the fun out of exercising but I don’t have that problem with DDP YOGA. It’s one of the reasons why I have recommended the program to many people since I started doing it a couple of years ago. Oh, and I can’t forget screaming “BANG” at the end of each workout — and making it my own!

    More by this author

    Darren Paltrowitz

    Writer, Editor & Researcher

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    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

    1. The Inner Critic

    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

    2. The Worrier

    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

    4. The Sleep Depriver

    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

    His motivation can be:

    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

    How can you control these squatters?

    How to Master Your Mind

    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

    For the Inner Critic

    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

    • He riles up the Worrier.
    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

    For the Worrier

    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tense

    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

    For example:

    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tension

    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

    Breathe in through your nose:

    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
    • Focus on your belly rising.

    Breathe out through your nose:

    • Feel your lungs emptying.
    • Focus on your belly falling.
    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

    For the Sleep Depriver

    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
    • Shut down your thinking.
    • Calm your feelings.
    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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