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Crash, bang, wallop: welcome to the world of American wrestling yoga. By Simon Cassidy
In the late 90’s, professional wrestling in the USA experienced a boom period the likes of which had never been seen before and has not been repeated since. As Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) went head-to-head with Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in a prime time ratings war, men who would once have been overlooked and ignored by the mainstream, became overnight pop-culture icons. Few could have anticipated that Diamond Dallas Page (or DDP), a man who entered the world of wrestling in his 30’s, and who was almost universally condemned to fail from the outset, would rise to the heights of WCW World Heavyweight Champion. More than a decade in the ring, he performed in front of thousands all over the world, and went on to be remembered as one of the greatest American wrestlers of all time. Since retiring from the ring, DDP has been on a campaign to show the world the secret of his longevity and success: yoga. Or, to be more precise, his own brand of it, DDPYoga (, which he’s hoping to bring to the UK soon. But yoga was not something he picked up until aged 42, when an injury made him think carefully about his body and how it would continue to survive in the ring. He !"#$%&'()*"(+"&",)'(%-(*.'('/')"0(122%3"4(*.0()% ( overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and extend his stay at the top. At 42, he’d had three doctors tell him his career was over; at 43, he was heavyweight champion of the world. “I was the guy who wouldn’t have been caught 4"14(4%.&5(/%51(-%!()*"(,!')(67(/"1!'(%-(0/(2.-"8 ( Then I ruptured my L4 and L5 [in my back], at the end of 1998 going into 1999, and had three doctors tell me my career was over. I didn’t start wrestling till I 31'(9:(1&4(0/(#1!""!(4.4&;)($.#$(%<().22(=(31'(6>8(?% ( for me to be on top of the world at 41 and 42 and 2.)"!122/(+2%3(0/(+1#$(%@)(1&4(*1A"()*!""(4.<"!"&) ( doctors tell me it’s over; I’d try anything.” So, somewhat reluctantly, he gave yoga a shot. While *.'(0%A"0"&)'(%&()*"(01)(3"!"(2.0.)"4(1)(,!')B()*" ( impact was immediate. “I went in and tried yoga and was like ‘wow!’ I couldn’t do any of the moves, but I ,5@!"4(%@)(*%3()%(0%4.-/()*"0(1&4(.&()*"(,!')()*!"" ( 3""$'(=(')1!)"4()%(&%).#"(1('.5&.,#1&)(4.<"!"&#"8C (



He then started mixing the yoga with his rehab, then mixing the rehab with old school calisthenics, and then adding what he calls ‘dynamic !"'.')1&#";B("&515.&5()*"(0@'#2"'8(DA"!/().0"(/%@(0%A"B(/%@(E"F(1 ( muscle; whether it’s your quads, glutes, forearms, biceps, triceps, he says. As you engage a muscle, and you move from one position to another, your heart’s got to beat faster to get the blood to the muscle. And so DDPYoga was born, but it’s not something you’re likely to ,&4(4%3&()*"(2%#12(A.2215"(*1228(GHHIJ%51K(.)(1.&;)(/%@!(0101;'(/%518 (

L"!%(.0M1#)B($.#$(1''(#1!4.%B(.&#!"1'"4(E"F.+.2.)/(1&4(#%!"(')!"&5)* ( conditioning,” he says. N@)(HHI(.'(&%)()*"(%&2/(+.5(&10"(O0"!.#1&(3!"')2"!()%(+"&",)(-!%0()*" ( hybrid system. Recently returned WWE superstar Chris Jericho came back from a herniated L4 [back injury] after the doctors had said he 31'(,&.'*"48(O-)"!(@'.&5(HHIJ%51B(*";'(&%3(+1#$(.&()*"(!.&5B()1$.&5 ( part in big events. Other American wrestlers to have embraced the



system include superstars Mick Foley and Hurricane Shane Helms, recovering from a bad motorcycle accident. “It’s a whole host of guys,” says DDP. “Wrestling is tough, we’re beat up. Yet they feel there is so much pain relief for them, because they strengthen their .&&"!(#%!"(1&4(+"#%0"(E"F.+2"(.&(1!"1'()*1)()*"/(3"!"(&%)(+"-%!"8C ( Some of DDP’s old wrestling buddies, Ray Lloyd and Marc Mero, 3"!"(12'%(10%&5()*"(,!')()%(3%!$(3.)*(*.0(%&()*"(/%51('/')"08 ( G=(31'(2.$"B(P5@/'B(2")(0"(*"2M(/%@Q;(N%)*(%-()*"0(1!"(2.$"(,A"(%! ( '.F(/"1!'(/%@&5"!()*1&(=(10B(1&4()*"/('""()*"(#!1R/(')@<(=(#1& ( 4%B(M!"))/(#!1R/(')@<(-%!(0"()%(+"(1+2"()%(4%(1)(::(/"1!'(/%@&58C ( Clearly, the system is not for everyone. DDP recognises that his alternative yoga might not appeal to traditional yogis, but that’s not the point. “I take the path less travelled. But in this case, I wasn’t trying to get yogis to do my brand of yoga, I was trying to get people who wouldn’t have been caught dead doing yoga, to do yoga.” Nonetheless, there is room for some form of yoga in any athlete’s training regime. And there are lessons in there for all to learn. GDA"!/(1)*2")"('*%@24(+"(4%.&5('%0"($.&4(%-(E"F.+.2.)/(1&4(#%!" ( strength conditioning,” he says. “That’s what DDPYoga does. It energises the body, and the reason it energises the body is that when you stretch, and you engage muscles, it rushes blood to the muscles, it oxidises the muscle and gives you energy. It’s the reason why a cat gets up and does a ‘cat arch’ or a ‘cat lift’ or the reason a dog does a ‘down dog’. You know, that’s where the stretches come from: animals. The next thing you know the cat is jumping all over the place, it got up, it stretched and it started moving. That’s what people need to do.” Not one to hold back, in true un-modest DDP celebrity wrestling ')/2"B(*"(+.22'(*.'('/')"0(1'()*"(G0%')(#%0M2")"(,)&"''('/')"0 ( on the planet”. To date, he has invested more than half a million dollars in the DDPYoga business but he insists he’s yet to make a dime back. His belief remains undiminished, however. “Eventually, this is going to explode, DDPYoga is going to dwarf what DDP did as a wrestler, and that’s a bold statement. DDPYoga and what I’m doing right now is the best thing I have ever done.” It’s an inspiring story. Indeed, if nothing else, DDP’s own energy and enthusiasm shine through +!.5*)2/B(1(5!"1)(14A"!)(-%!()*"(+"&",)'(%-(/%518 ( This tough guy champion of the ring retains his magic. At the end the interview, he leaves with *.'(#21''.#('.5&S%<K(G=);'(+""&(/%@!(M2"1'@!"8C (

It ain’t your mama’s yoga
DDPYOGA is not traditional yoga. It’s a hybrid workout that incorporates traditional yoga movements but adds dynamic resistance, active breathing techniques and power movements to make for a more #*122"&5.&5(1&4(!"'@2)'S%!."&)"4(3%!$%@)8(T*"(01.&(+"&",)'(1!"(+%4/ ( fat loss, lean muscle growth, and improved cardio levels all without placing undue stress on the joints. A valid comparison to yoga is they +%)*(M!%A.4"(.&#!"1'"4(E"F.+.2.)/(1&4(#%!"(')!"&5)*"&.&58(=)(.'(#@!!"&)2/ ( used by professional football players, professional and amateur wrestlers, and ordinary people who want to perform at optimum levels and want to place themselves in the best position to see career and life changing results and improve their quality of life.