DDP

My Inspirations: Christina Russell, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

Around TeamDDPYoga, Christina barely needs an introduction. She started DDP Yoga around the same time I did, and after meeting in a TeamDDPYoga.com group, we realized we had numerous things in common. Other members of Team DDP Yoga came to the same realization and, after making a few videos together, we became known as the Hardcore sisters. This was our first real collaboration, and still my favourite (Christina’s husband totally steals the show, “Am I in a Lamaze class?” love it!)

Since then, Christina has gone on to work for DDP Yoga and can be seen at workshops, online and at the new performance center in her role as a certified DDP Yoga instructor and nutritionist. I can’t wait to see Christina in Mexico, but until then this interview will give me my much needed HCS fix!

 

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How did you discover DDP Yoga?

After losing my baby in utero at 20 weeks, I fell into a state of depression, loss, and anxiety. After months of unhappiness my 2 year old little boy looked up at me and told me to, “Smile Mommy”. It was that exact moment that I knew I had to get back my life. I had gained 50 pounds the sadness that I felt wasn’t just affecting me – it was affecting my entire family!

Thankfully my husband is a die-hard wrestling fan. He was surfing wrestling promo videos on YouTube and he came across Arthur Boorman’s video. He practically forced me to watch it, as I was sure he was going to show me yet another wrestling clip, but instead, it was the most moving and inspirational video I have ever seen! That video instantly gave me hope and within 5 minutes, I had already placed my order for the DDP YOGA Max Pack.

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga?

When I started DDP YOGA, I had put on 50 pounds and was making horrible food choices. My goal was to lose the weight to improve my health and my body image and get back to eating healthier.

Did you achieve those goals?

In 4 months I lost 50 pounds by doing DDP YOGA 3-5 times/week and by cutting out processed foods, soda, and sugar. It was incredible and I felt amazing. It was then that I found out I had a severe intolerance to gluten and dropped both gluten and most cow-dairy from my diet which resulted in a total weight loss of 60 pounds by the end of month 5! Not only did I started at a size 18 and end up at a size 6, I also became happy again and regained my confidence.

Are there any other ways DDP Yoga has helped your life?

I feel like DDP YOGA has been a catalyst for so many changes in my life. The biggest change is that it helped me find my real passion – and that is helping other people take back their health! During my transformation, I really fell in love with healthy food and decided to go back to school and get certified in nutrition. This knowledge coupled with the DDP YOGA workout program helped me take people’s health to the next level (including my own).

Did you experience any obstacles along the way?

I have had a few minor hurdles throughout my journey, but I didn’t let any of it stand in the way of owning my life. My biggest help through it all was the support of my family and the team DDP YOGA community.

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What are your current goals with DDP Yoga?

I am always trying to better my practice for myself and for my students.

What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I decided to become a DDP YOGA instructor because I felt it was the next step in my journey. I saw what it could do for me and I knew that if I could do it, so many others could too.

Getting certified in DDP YOGA is no joke! It’s not a weekend workshop certification course – it’s a 120+ hour program that is designed to teach you the who, what and why’s behind the workouts. You don’t just learn one workout – you learn a solid foundation of 13 moves, why breathing is so important, modifications for all fitness levels and what muscle groups are being used. The best word I can use to describe it is ‘THOROUGH’.

I had been doing the workouts for 7 months when I enrolled and it took me another 3 months to complete it. I worked day and night on the program sometimes doing 2 workouts each day because I really wanted this. It was challenging, but this was the start of my new life and I wanted to kick it off with a bang!

What has being certified done for you?

I’ve been teaching classes for over a year now and I love it! My students challenge me just as much as I challenge them and it’s an amazing feeling to be a positive change in their lives. In October 2014, I officially started working for DDP YOGA and ever since our relocation to Atlanta I alternate teaching daily to gear up for our grand opening of the DDP YOGA Performance Center where I’ll not only be running the center, but I’ll also be a lead instructor.

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You’re also an employee of DDP Yoga now! How did that come about?

Working for the company that helped change your life is nothing short of INCREDIBLE! If you would have told me just over 2 years ago that I would lose 60+ pounds, become an instructor and start working for DDP YOGA I would have thought you were crazy. It really is a dream come true and all the work we are putting into the Performance Center is just going to take that dream to new heights beyond my imagination!

What’s next for you and DDP Yoga?

My current goal is to get the DDP YOGA Performance Center ready to go for our Grand Opening. I want the PC to be a place of inspiration and a place where we can change lives every single day.

On a personal level, my mom and I are getting ready to launch our next cookbook,’The Gluten-Free Mom-to-Be Cookbook’, and my ‘30 Days to a New You’ ebook should be coming out very soon!

Where can people find you?

If you’re looking for gluten-free recipes, food product reviews and healthy living ideas you can find me at BodyRebooted.com. I’m also very accessible on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter: @BodyRebooted or you can send me an email at christina@bodyrebooted.com

 

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My Inspirations: Mary Callicoat, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

I am concerned that if I start talking about the things I love and respect Mary, I’ll never stop.

I met Mary for the first time in person at a DDP Yoga workshop but we had been working together on the Hardship Fund prior to that. Mary is one of the most selfless people I have ever met, and is always the first person to volunteer for tasks we need to get done for the fund. On top of all the extra work she does for the Hardship fund, she also runs her own charity that grew out of her own story of triumph over terrible adversity. She took that drive and determination to the DDP Yoga instructor certification process, and blasted through the program at a record pace.

Mary has as amazing story to share and is a wonderful person. I am honored to call her a fellow DDP Yoga instructor, and lucky to call her a friend.

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How did you discover with DDP Yoga?

I think I have to back up to way before that point.  I was bullied nearly all of my life in school, and then married an abusive man. For the near entirety of my life, I was made to feel I was a nobody, not important enough to be cared about, and I was extremely shy.  I have never had good balance or coordination, had many back problems my entire life and just never found my niche so to speak. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while in college, not long after my daughter was born. After my son was born, I went into a deep depression.  I would go in and out of that dark hole many times after that.  In 2009 I woke up with my ear stuck on my shoulder, unable to move my head at all.  In 2010, after seeing 3 neurologists, 2 chiropractors, a massage therapist and spending countless hours in physical therapy, I had a surgery to remove a badly herniated disc and fuse c3 and c4 in my neck together.  Afterwards, I could move my neck and arms, but still struggled with radiating pain down my arms, sharp pains in my neck and of course the low back pain was still there as always.  I had nearly no muscle tone in my arms, and would drop things all the time. Forget the little kids needing plasticware and sippy cups, mom dropped more than they did! There were no glass dishes in my house, because I broke them all!  In 2013, things took a much darker turn for the worse.  I was divorced and struggling to emotionally free myself from an abusive ex husband that was still in control of my life, even though he didn’t live with me anymore, I herniated 2 more discs in my neck, and began being plagued by some sort of painful, blistering rash that doctors still haven’t figured out.

Between the neurotin to block the radiating nerve pain down my arms and up my face, the antidepressants, the painkillers, the muscle relaxers and the extremely high doses of prednisone, I gained over 30 pounds that year, and I was already overweight.  My doctor looked at me in October and told me my cholesterol levels were through the roof and she would be waiting for a call telling her I had had a stroke or heart attack.

In December, 2013, I went to New Year Eve’s services at my church, and as we prayed the old year out and the new year in, I prayed for God to kill me or heal me.  I told Him if I were hit by a drunk driver on the way home and never woke up, that would be ok with me.  The night of either January 1 or 2, I sat down on the couch to go through my nightly ritual.  Eat until I fell asleep.  As some point, the TV woke me up, with a wrestler’s voice screaming (the TV was up loud!).

I saw DDP on there and watched what was left of the documercial.  I was too lazy to get up to find the remote to change the channel.  I tried really hard to forget about it the next day, but I couldn’t.  The next day, it was on again in the afternoon.  I sat and watched the whole thing.  Then I went online and tried to find every problem I could with the program.  And I found more of Arthur’s story, and Stacey’s story, and tons of blogs and vlogs and nothing negative.

I began to feel like maybe I could do this.  I didn’t want to stand on my head, didn’t want to be part of the ‘crazy’ people that I kept seeing online, but I did want to feel better.  I felt like this program might let me do that.  I have to add here that those people I once thought of as crazy are now closer to me than some of my actual family.  They are the support system that holds me together on my worst days and celebrates with me on my best.  And I think I have become one of the ‘crazy’ people I promised myself I would not become….

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga? 

My original goal was to just feel better.  I told myself I was not giving up my Pepsi, I was not going on some diet.  I was not giving up sugar or dairy.  I was already gluten free, I wasn’t doing anymore than that!  I told myself I was just doing this to help my back, nothing more, nothing less.  I was so unhealthy!  No gluten, so I considered myself to be healthier than most, in fact, when I had first gone gluten free due to an allergy, I had lost a bit of weight. But then, I found all the gluten free goodies and frozen foods and junk and gained it all back.  Due to my back and neck issues and no balance and coordination, I had no fitness levels either.  I was so clumsy when I first started!  I fell so often I would hide and lock the door when I did it so my teens wouldn’t see me and make fun of me.

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Did you achieve those goals? 

Almost immediately I began seeing differences in the pain levels in my back and neck.  It got to the point I was doing energy every day just to ease the pain.  I started in January, and by March, I had cut out the Neurotin completely, and the muscle relaxers and pain killers were only as needed.  By April, the painkillers, muscle relaxers, cholesterol meds, and antidepressants were all gone.

Are there any other ways DDP Yoga has helped your life?

DDP Yoga has changed me in so many ways.  Like I said, I was so unhealthy.  As I began to feel better physically and started participating in the online world, I started changing the way I ate and started losing weight.  As I was able to do things I had never done before in my life, like touching my toes, have balance and coordination, I started to realize my mental state was changing as well.  When I first started, I hid in my bedroom with a locked door to keep the teens out.  I absolutely forbid them from telling their dad what I was doing.  Even though we were divorced, he was still a big loud voice in my head.  The last thing I needed was him making fun of me for trying DDP Yoga.  By November, I had gained so much confidence that I didn’t care anymore if he found out, and even set it up to make sure he would find out.  DDP Yoga gave me a confidence I have never had in my entire life.  The confidence to stand up for myself and for what I want out of life.

Did you experience any obstacles along the way?

I have dealt with little to no support from my teens, lots of jokes at mom’s expense were made when I first started.  I also have had some minor drama situations from my church family and have come to realize that not everyone ‘gets’ it. I have come to realize that everyone has their own battles to fight, and if, when and how they choose to fight that battle is their choice, not mine.  All I can do is be available to help when they ask for it.  I still struggle with a very bad, tight piriformis muscles that cause low back and hip pain. I sit for a living, and it shows!  Thankfully, I have an arsenal of moves from DDP Yoga that I know will help me feel better, I have a really great chiropractor and an amazing support system of DDP Yoga family members that keep me going on the days I don’t feel like hitting the mat.

What are your current goals with DDP Yoga? 

My biggest goal is the one I said I would never want to do…I want to stand on my head.  I want to do inversions so badly!   I still struggle with Black Crow, but someday, I want to be able to go from Black Crow to plank and I want to get a forearm stand.


What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification? 

In the beginning, I never wanted to be an instructor.  Then in August, 2014, my best friend Annie and I went to Hammer’s Fitness for our first ever DDP YOGA workshop.  Afterwards, she made me say not YET to becoming an instructor, instead of never.  Even though I said not yet, I really wasn’t thinking about it, but she planted a seed.  In October, as I was finally standing up to the demons in my head and in my life that had bullied me for so long, I realized I needed to give back.  I felt called to give back.  To take DDP YOGA to those that needed it, to those that felt broken due to abuse.

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How did you find the certification process?

I loved the process.  It was hard, but I enjoyed the challenge.  I signed up the end of November, and planned on being done in April or May. I went back and started counting hours from August, but didn’t have all of them documented. I knew my job was going to keep my very busy for the month of March, so that was out for me.  Things lined up in ways I never expected them to, and I finished and was certified in February.

I loved the mentoring process, of course, I had some great ones!  Having those people I once thought of as ‘crazy’ now being so supportive and helping me through the process was extremely helpful.

What has being a certified instructor done for you?

My goal was to take DDP Yoga to those that felt broken due to abuse. When I started certification process, I began going to the local domestic violence shelter that helped counsel me and get me through the roughest parts of life after my divorce. I also started working with a residential therapeutic foster home for teenage girls.  I love it.  Seeing those people overcome adversities and seeing them achieve new things, the light in their eyes when they ‘get’ a move is extremely rewarding.

I have also begun teaching at a local Community Center, working with those that are broken not so much from abuse, but just from environmental and financial circumstances. I am a full time special education teacher for an online school.  I am currently still trying to find balance to be honest.  Some days, I finish teaching and run out the door to go teach DDP Yoga.

Balance is something I look forward to finding someday.

What’s next for you and DDP Yoga?

I am currently working with another agency to take DDP Yoga there, and I continue to look for other opportunities.   This summer, the goal is to gain a certification in nutrition, to be able to take even more into the those agencies where I teach DDP Yoga.

You’re a member of the Hardship Fund. How did you get involved with that?

I happened to be part of the initial conversation that started the Fund and was invited to be a part of the Fund by Liz Collins.  The experience has been so rewarding.  Especially to those that stick with it and keep in touch.  To see how much they have changed their lives is truly incredible.

You have since started your own charity! Please tell us how that came about:

As I said, I really didn’t want to become an instructor in the beginning of my journey.  It was never a thought that entered my head.  It was only after Annie planted that first seed, and then when I began to really see how much I had changed in my own life that I realized how important DDP Yoga could be for someone that had a shattered spirit.

I was so broken in so many ways when I when I started this journey that I didn’t even know which way to turn.  I have used DDP Yoga and good nutrition to build my life into something new, and I wanted to help others do the same, thus, Building the Broken was born.  I donate my time, mats, heart rate monitors, blocks, yoga straps, and whatever else is needed to the agencies that serve those that have been in some way broken, either through abuse, bullying or other life circumstances.

Building the Broken is not yet a charity or nonprofit, as that takes time and money that I currently don’t have yet. (On a side note, if anyone out there wants to help out with this process, please contact me!) I am finally an official business, which is the first step in the process of becoming a non profit.

In the beginning, I fully planned on contacting agencies and having them tell me to contact them once I was done getting certified. However, it didn’t happen like that at all!  I contacted the first agency in early/mid December and they wanted me there the first of January.  I had no time to save money to buy mats as I originally planned.  I (not so bravely, but with encouragement of a few friends) sent out a Facebook post asking people for used mats.  I could not believe the response that I received.  Within just 15 minutes or so of posting, I had over 45 mats promised to be shipped to me.  I am so thankful for the DDP Yoga family that have generously supported me and Building the Broken by either shipping me mats, buying t-shirts from me, or donating financially.  Diamond Dallas Page even donated mats and 2 combo packs!

Where can people find you?

All of my class times, blogs, the few recipes I have and other information is at Building The Broken You can also follow me on Facebook!

Email Mary

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My Inspirations: Kristal Blanchone, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

I like to share the stories of people who inspire me most around the DDP Yoga community, and the one group of people that inspires me most is the female certified DDP Yoga instructors. So far there are six of us*, and we are different in almost every way possible: geography, career, age, personality, hobbies, backgrounds, you name it! The one thing -other than two X chromosomes per cell- that unites us is the love of DDP Yoga and the drive to bring its benefits to as many people as we can. Despite all our differences, we have all found success, confidence and improvements to our lives by pursuing and achieving DDP Yoga certification, and a unique sisterhood in helping each other achieve those goals. Every week this month, I’ll be featuring each of these amazing, yet very different women to share the diversity ways being a DDP Yoga instructor has worked for us!

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I have only met Kristal once at in person at a DDP Yoga workshop. I really love her energy and I definitely would enjoy getting to spend more time with her at future workshops and retreats. Despite our inability to see each other in person as often as I’d like, we have been able to interact in the amazing online DDP community, and help each other out with certification and teaching issues. Kristal really inspires me as a strong, confident and driven woman, and we are lucky to have her as part of the team!

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

I had a client that was the tightest person I have ever seen. I was always looking out for something that might be fun and different for him (besides typical stretching). I had seen Arthur’s video and checked it out. I honestly almost didn’t even try it. It has been my experience that “celebrity” workouts are just repackaged same-old-same-old. I had a “Oh what the hell. Why not?” moment and gave it a try. Once I tried it I realized almost immediately that DDP Yoga really was different and quite awesome.

I had been a gym rat for years and could really kick my own ass when I wanted too. At 52 (then), I was finding that I was often having to work around occasionally soar knees or a tweaked shoulder. As I got more into DDP Yoga I suddenly noticed that nothing hurt anymore. I knew I was at an age where backing off a little seemed prudent and DDP Yoga has allowed me to get the feeling of having kicked my ass without the possible risk of injury. Perfect.

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga?

I was already in pretty good physical shape when I started DDP Yoga but I knew my flexibility was lacking. Flexibility was my main goal. I am way more flexible than I was when I started and it continues to increase. I saw a difference in just the first 30 days.

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Are there any other ways DDP Yoga has helped your life?

One of the biggest ways that DDP Yoga has changed my life was really unexpected… I have been training clients in their homes for years and did not really realize how isolated I was. Once I got into DDP Yoga, I found myself surrounded by a huge community of like minded people. People who have inspired me with their positive attitudes and sincere desire to either change their own lives or help others make a change. The positivity is absolutely contagious. Yes, I’m more flexible and stronger than I was, but the emotional and mental wellbeing I’ve gained is just the best!

What are your current goals with DDP Yoga?

I have a little notebook where I keep my teaching log and a few notes. In the front of that little notebook is a list of poses I want to master. Things like consistently being able to hold Black Crow and pop out of it without falling on my face, doing the splits (not a goal I thought I would be setting at 53), and a Forearm Stand.

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What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

At first I didn’t want to get certified. I was planning to just have DDP Yoga be my personal workout. I had never really enjoyed taking group fitness classes much less teaching them. I was always a one-on-one kind of girl. I went to the DDP Yoga Retreat Extravaganza last year and after talking to DDP and some of the other people working toward certification I started to consider it. I took about another month to finally pull the trigger and sign up of the certification. At that time my only goal was to get certified and make enough teaching to pay for the certification fee. Once I committed to certification I threw myself into it (that’s just what I do). I completed the process in 4 months. I would say the process is challenging but not “hard”.

What has being a certified done for you?

I’ve been teaching group classes for about 3 months now and I really like it. It made me step out of my comfort zone and I’m really glad I did. I still see private clients and some of them want me to teach them DDP Yoga now

What’s next for you and DDP Yoga?

I would like to add a couple more classes per week. I’ve written a class proposal and I’m looking for other places that want to add DDP Yoga to a class schedule. I would have to say this is the hardest part for me.

Where can people find you?

I teach group classes at a small studio in Allen, Tx called Pilates for Life (pilates-forlife.com). Classes are Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:00 and Saturday mornings at 7:30. Information about in-home or in-office private and semi-private classes can be found at KBe Fierce Fitness and Facebook

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* Mary, Christina, Kelly, Kristal, Kristin, and me (no interview for me, you already know my story!)

Wish I Hadn’t Reddit

Oh internet, how you vex me! I just stumbled onto a “review” of DDP Yoga on Reddit, and as has been the case before, I can’t let this one go without a rebuttal.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. The reviewer, EtherBoo, complains that DDP Yoga is simultaneously not challenging enough and also too challenging (?!?).

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Schrödinger’s yoga? Oh, c’mon, that’s funny dammit!

1. Too Easy?

Let’s take the “not challenging enough” claim first. The reviewer’s background is as follows: he was 300+ lbs, before losing the weight (seriously, congrats!!!) via diet and cardio (Insanity followed by P90X), and found DDP Yoga after P90X left his body needing “a rest”. I could take the chance to detour into one of my rants about how Beach Body systems are universally high impact and injurious -the reviewer had to cut his Insanity attempts short on 3 occasions for injury- but I will try to stay on topic.

The reviewer writes that he jumped right into the Advanced schedule. However, he also claims that the program guide doesn’t advise going to the Diamond Dozen until Week 3, when it is in fact the very first workout on Day 1 of the Advanced Schedule.

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Found it!

That’s a major flaw in the reviewer’s argument, because going into DDP Yoga workouts without following this tutorial will rob you of the information needed to get the very most out of this workout program, regardless of your background in fitness. The reviewer said he was at an intermediate/advanced level but that doesn’t apply to DDP Yoga. The positions you need to learn and methods of holding poses in DDP Yoga are so unique, that anyone, whether it’s their first time working out, whether they can bench 300, run marathons every weekend, or have a decade of classical yoga under their belt, is at the beginner level when they start DDP Yoga. That’s why the phrase “check your ego” is one of the most commonly uttered in the DDPY community.

We’re all absolute beginners!

In particular Dynamic Resistance is not something you’re going to pick up on the fly. Despite the reviewer’s claim that he was not adequately informed that it was critical to get the Diamond Dozen down pat, you are told about this in multiple places throughout the email you receive when you buy the DVDs, on the new members page of TeamDDPYoga.com, in the program guide, and within the community.

Dynamic resistance replaces high impact movements to create a high cardio workout. Without perfecting that skill, someone at an intermediate/advanced level may not get a into their cardio zone in the shorter workouts (the Double Black Diamond will kick anyone’s ass, Dynamic Resistance or not). In contrast, when you have Dynamic Resistance down, even short workouts like Fat Burner can get you straight into your cardio zone. In fact, I can get into my cardio zone within a minute doing DDP Yoga moves.*

Let’s be clear. Dynamic Resistance is hard! I struggle with it to this day. As humans, we are built to expend as little energy as possible, so it takes a lot of practice to force yourself into the habit of turning that on its head. Dynamic Resistance is not something you will get down after a couple of workouts, which is why reviews like this one, and Adam Bluestein’s poorly researched piece are never going to fully describe the benefits of DDP Yoga. Like classical yoga, DDP Yoga will always be a “practice.”

2. Too Hard?

On to the “too challenging” complaint. The author figured that a couple of weeks of the advanced schedule would be all he needed to jump straight into the Extreme Psycho Workout. It didn’t work out so well, and so he complained that nothing in the Combo Pack workouts prepared him for the advanced moves in the Extreme Psycho. If only there were some sort of resource that would help you out in that respect:

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I’ll be up all night trying to figure this one out…

Aside from the tutorial specifically intended for the Extreme Psycho, the preceding workouts do in fact prepare you for it. The increased flexibility will help you with the banana splits, Red Hot Core will help you prepare for forearm balance, the progression of 3, 5, and 10 count push-ups will help you build to Psycho Push-ups.

And you are not going to get everything first go… you’re not meant to! In contrast to Mr. Boo’s claim that DDP Yoga is not ideal for someone looking to build their yoga DVD library, DDP Yoga is something that will keep advanced yogis busy for a long time. As we say in DDP Yoga, “There’s always some place to go!”

3. Now For My Nitpicks!

a) The reviewer makes the claim that the Extreme workouts were clearly an after-thought. I love when people declare something to be true merely on the grounds that they thought it. Having studied DDP Yoga for quite a long time, I can now see the progression, and it appears to me that the Extreme Workouts are aimed at the certain percentage of the DDP Yoga community who are advanced in their DDP Yoga skills, looking to kick it up a notch, and want to get down and dirty. It’s filmed with a more gritty feel, and with more advanced students to incorporate that sense. This is a nitpick, because even if EtherBoo is correct, they are fantastic workouts, and continue to challenge me to this day.

b) The author speaks of swan dives and reverse swan dives as if they were the second coming of spinal rehab. They’re not. They are certainly good for lower back strength, but his assertion that doing more of them would replace the Diamond Cutter is ridiculous. It would make it more like traditional yoga, but as we will discuss below that is not what DDP wants to do! Also, it shows a profound lack of understanding of the anatomy of yoga. The Diamond Cutter works to stretch and lengthen the spine. Reverse swan dives strengthen lower back muscles. Not interchangeable. Also, reverse swan dives aren’t absent from DDP Yoga! I can actually hear DDP saying “back flat, arms stretched out like wings” in my head. This highlights the gripe I have with Messers Boo and Bluestein: you need more than a fleeting familiarity with a program to write an informed review!

c) The author totally confuses the point of DDP Yoga and who its target audience is. He is definitely under the impression that DDP Yoga is aimed at the practitioners of classical yoga, and that DDP is trying to compete with more established names in that genre such as Iyengar or home DVD names as Yee, Kest or (ugh) Tony Horton. The fact that he (repetitively) throws P90X in as evidence of his familiarity with classical yoga, and therefore proof of his ability to compare DDP Yoga to classical yoga makes me hang my head in shame.

P90X Yoga is trying to compete in the classical yoga field. Tony Horton takes regular yoga and teaches it badly (in Yoga-X he has you go straight into a deep hamstring stretch with zero warm up, and Yoga-X3 is just a mess with zero flow, modifications or focus on form). The author throws down his trump card by saying “P90X2 Yoga has a yogi who’s been practicing for 15 years!” Fascinating. DDP Yoga has a two main yogis, one (DDP) that has been practicing for 16 years and another (Yoga-Doc Craig Aaron) that has been practicing for 27 years, and they have both been developing the program together from Day 1, not just breezing in for the second set of DVDs (such as P90X2)! Q.E.D.

You like risking unnecessary injury….?

The reviewer makes the assumption -and therefore delivers as fact- that DDP is “a small fish in a very large pond,” and has renamed all the yoga moves funny things like Touchdown, Catcher, Deadman and Woman, Showstoppers, and (my favourite) HPS as a gimmick to stand out from the crowd. I get it, after immersing yourself in Beach Body products for a number of years, all you see is gimmicks! But that’s not what’s happening here.

DDP isn’t interested in selling DDP Yoga to classical yoga practitioners. Attend any of his workshops and you will hear him tell the history of DDP Yoga. He talks about how he wanted to bring DDP Yoga to the people who “wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga.” He has done amazing work both with the troops, and with professional wrestlers to that end. DDP isn’t trying to stand out in the crowd… he’s in a different building! The funny names are just one part of an overall approach to make DDP Yoga accessible to those who are put off by the inaccessible elements of classical yoga.

That being said, DDP Yoga is universally beneficial, even to those who have practiced classical yoga. From the sounds of things, I have a much stronger background in classical yoga than EtherBoo. However, because DDP Yoga incorporates Dynamic Resistance, sports rehab and old school strength building, I was able to get a lot more out of it than I ever did in classical yoga classes: rehabbing the joints Beach Body et al. bust up, building strength (can you hold a plank for 30 minutes, EtherBoo??) and in calories burned. As DDP always says, “It Ain’t Your Mama’s Yoga!” And it’s not trying to be!

I love memes!

d) A similar “this isn’t classical yoga” point can be made about breathing. Yes, in certain moves in classical yoga nose breathing is appropriate (as pointed out by the author). However, in power moves, a more Pilates-like mouth breathing is more suitable. The author again confuses DDP Yoga as classical yoga and criticizes the lack of focus on nasal breathing. This isn’t classical yoga. We don’t just hold static poses for long periods of time and slowly move from one pose to the next. This is a high cardio workout. Learning to perfect diaphragm breathing, which DDP hammers home in a separate tutorial and in the intro of every workout is going to help the body efficiently utilize oxygen to get through each position and build strength and cardio endurance for this type of workout.

Don’t get me wrong, my hat is off to EtherBoo. I tried to lose weight with the Beach Body catalogue, but just couldn’t. I couldn’t stay on the wagon with the repetitive injuries and ended up gaining weight. EtherBoo, on the other hand, plowed through, although ultimately found those programs unsustainable. I was luckier; I found DDP Yoga at the start of what ended up being my successful weight loss journey, and found it to be accessible as a beginner, sustainable** throughout and beyond my weight loss journey, and challenging now that I am at an advanced level of fitness.

*I consider myself to be at an advanced level of cardio fitness (full marathon and multiple half-marathons completed, workout 1 – 2 hours a day, multiple fitness certifications, active DDP Yoga instructor, etc. etc.) 

**No injuries!

Note: after publishing, a Team DDP Yoga member pointed out the irony of taking issue with DDP’s renaming of standard moves when Tony Horton does the exact same thing!  (Thanks Lyn M.)

What a Shame!

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on social media recently, namely the public shaming of people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing at the gym.

This was the first clip of this I saw:

And then I saw this Vine that follows the same format:

I am currently employed as a group fitness instructor, and have access to a full gym. While I frequently use the cardio room and free-weights, I rarely if ever venture into the weight room. Everyone in there is built like Craig Funk* clearly knows what they are doing, and despite being a fitness professional, I still have the same fear of looking like an idiot that I had the first time I entered a gym.

Gyms are fantastic places to get strong, healthy and lean, but if you have never been in one before they are also truly terrifying places. I have been the overweight, frumpy girl who clearly doesn’t belong in the gym. I have tried to make it look like I know what I am doing to all the lean, toned gym-bodies while I secretly have no idea what body part any of the equipment is meant to work. I have tried to avoid eye-contact and push through the embarrassment and fear of judgement as I try to lose weight and get healthy. I have spent entire visits to the gym worrying if everyone around me is laughing at me, judging me, or simply wishing I’d take my doesn’t-belong-here overweight self off the stair-climber and back to drive-thru fast food restaurant where it clearly belongs. And I have let those fears keep me from coming back.

I doubt I’m alone. I am sure most people entering the gym for the first time are worried everyone around them is laughing at them and judging them.

These YouTube and Vine clips prove them right.

Yes, it’s definitely funny when we see someone doing something wrong, but it’s also mean-spirited. While we may have the impulse to laugh, it may behoove us to take a second to remember that none of us walked into a gym the first time knowing how all the equipment worked. We either had a friend show us, the benefit of solid self-esteem to get past the initial hiccups and gym fails, and most importantly the good fortune to have started our fitness journeys before this new trend of online gym-shaming began.

While we may not be able to control the impulse to chuckle internally, we can definitely rise above the impulse to publicly humiliate someone online.

I could have finished that last sentence as follows: “…. someone online, especially someone who is trying to improve themselves.” That brings me to the flip-side of the mean-spirited gym-shaming, which is its positive discrimination counterpart. You’ve probably seen a lot of these sorts of posts online:

While I have massive respect for anyone who is trying to improve their lives with good health, especially when they face the level of disrespect overweight people suffer in this society, I am at odds with the overall messaging here.

Yes, if we see this person on a bicycle we should support and encourage them. But does that mean if we see them sitting on a couch with a box of cookies, we’re entitled to mock and denigrate them at will?

Maybe they aren’t trying to better themselves in the specific way we want them to (i.e. by losing weight and exercising), but maybe that person is bettering themselves by studying hard to finish a college degree. Maybe they are supporting their family. Maybe they foster children, or spend every free minute volunteering at a soup kitchen or a no-kill cat shelter. Maybe they are looking after a dying relative, or maybe they take care of an elderly neighbor they barely know. We should support and encourage people we meet whether or not they are focused on they self-improvements we think they should be prioritizing, and whether or not they are at the weight or health level we expect them to be.

In fact who are we to deem someone worthy of basic respect? Maybe they are making no improvements to themselves or meaningful contributions to society at all. That person is still a human being, which means they are worthy of respect and kindness regardless of any other consideration. It also means we are all equal, and no one person has the authority to judge the worth of another human being else based on their health, weight or activity level.

Respect isn’t something that should have to be earned. It should be the default.

And this brings me to Team DDP Yoga. Having been deterred from previous fitness and weight loss efforts by the ridicule of others, whether perceived or actual, I finally found an amazing community of people who truly support and care about one another. Team DDP is unique in that everyone wants the best for one another. People are allowed to fall off the wagon, make bad choices or hit the various hurdles we all encounter during a self-improvement project without fear of judgement or mockery, and when they’re ready to get back on the wagon, everyone is ready to give them a hand up. It’s the only place on earth where you can share your successes without any fear of cattiness or jealousy. It’s the only fitness community where you can ask for help without feeling stupid or embarrassed. Everyone is on your team, willing to help you out with anything you’re struggling with, and rooting for you every step of the way.

I can say without reservation that I never would have met with my goals without the support of all the friends and teammates I met at Team DDP. I never would have stuck with fitness for longer than a month (my previous personal best) without Team DDP. I never would have improved as a person without Team DDP.

If you’re looking for a healthy and supportive environment to get healthy, Team DDP is the most supportive and encouraging community you’re ever going to find. After all, it’s the “Best Support System on the Planet!”

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* While Craig Funk has the most amazing physique, he is also an amazing, caring person too. He’s a true ambassador of TeamDDPyoga! 

DDP-ing up the Hancock

Before DDP Yoga​, walking up the 2 concrete steps outside my old house was agony (it felt like rusty machetes were being driven through my kneecaps). Every night, I got out of my car, walked to the steps and paused as I mentally psyched myself to go up the steps. I walked up every flight of stairs one foot at a time (right foot up a step, left foot up to meet it, right foot up the next step, and so on). My pessimistic physical therapist* predicted that I may always have pain associated with going up or down stairs.

This February (less than two years of DDP Yoga under my belt), I ran up 1,632 steps in the Hancock Building with no issues at all. In fact, I came in the top 1/3 of people running the full climb. And of course, I finished out the day with my favourite workout, the DDP Yoga Hip, Back and Knee Opener!

 

Steps

 

* The same physical therapist who said I wouldn’t be able to run more than a mile without doing intensive, torturous, biweekly physical therapy for at least 1.5 y. I quit the physical therapy, and ran a FULL marathon in under that 1.5 year time frame thanks to DDP Yoga (no torture required!!)

Inspirational, Eh? It’s Steve Doyle!

DDP Yoga Instructors in Mexico

DDP Yoga Instructors in Mexico

I first met Steve in Mexico, but we had worked together on the Hardship Fund for a long time before that. Steve is Canada’s first ever DDP Yoga instructor, a really important member of the Hardship Fund, and a generally amazing guy. Steve also happens to be in amazing shape, and through teaching both Karate and DDP Yoga he exemplifies a wonderful commitment to health and self-improvement. Steve is in such great physical condition that you would think he was always in great shape. That’s not the case, and his journey and insight will be of great benefit to anyone on the path to health and fitness.

You have been doing martial arts for a long time. What is your history with martial arts?

I’ve been doing the martial arts for years. I started in a style of Karate called Shorei Kan and trained that for around 3 years. I then took some Judo for a short time. After starting in Corrections I decided I needed to get back into the arts. I found Kyokushin Karate and have been training that for the last 20 years.

How do DDP Yoga and martial arts complement one another?

My style of Karate is a heavy contact style with very little protective gear. Injuries are imminent. A lot of traditional exercises are ballistic, including stretching. DDP Yoga is the ying to the yang of karate for me. DDP Yoga has allowed me to become more flexible and really strengthened my core. The balance is struck with the minimal impact and alignment that DDP Yoga gives vs the ballistic nature and high impact of Karate.

You’re in such amazing shape, it’s hard to imagine you any other way. Was this the case when you started DDP Yoga?

No unfortunately this wasn’t always the case. Before my twins were born I was 187lbs at 6.9% body fat. I was ripped. I then injured my back doing a heavy lift. My back has never been the same. I ate and drank a lot. Didn’t do much else. My job was mostly behind a desk at the prison. I continued to train Karate but basically gave up the fighting aspect. At my heaviest I was 230 lbs with a huge (in my eyes) gut. You can see in some of my “before” pictures.

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I started DDP Yoga almost immediately after my last serious back episode. I weighed in at 228(I think) and couldn’t put my socks on by myself because of the back pain. After years of abuse of karate my knees and hip were arthritic. It was everything I had in me to start going. Within 1 week I could feel the difference.

What was your introduction to DDP Yoga?

2 words. “Stupid back” A fellow karateka asked what was wrong and I told him that I had re injured my back. I was pointed toward the DDP Yoga website. I watched Arthur’s video and within 24 hours had ordered the Max Pac and had started energy.

What were your initial goals with Ddp yoga? How long did it take you to meet them?

My initial goals with DDP Yoga were simply to alleviate back pain. The more I trained the more my goals shifted. I started July 5th 2013, by the beginning of August my back pain had become dramatically reduced. Within 4 months I was basically pain free. I had a new lease on life.

What has been your biggest achievement with DDP Yoga?

Well this is a toss up. Becoming the First Certified Instructor in Canada and doing a psycho pushup. For most the instructor makes sense and for a few they understand the psycho push up. So let me try to explain. Becoming Canada’s first Certified Instructor is a huge deal for me. Very exciting and a very difficult challenge. Being one of the first 10 in the world (not really sure where I fall in lol) was an amazing experience with some amazing people.

 

Now as for the psycho push up, I’ve never been able to hold any kind of inversion in my life. I set a goal to do this particular inversion and started practicing. I worked diligently at it. Kicking up and falling down. Squishing my face in the mat and knocking furniture about. Doing all these slow burn push-ups I could feel the strength I needed developing in my arms and shoulders. I remember the day I hit it! I was overcome with joy! Man what a feeling. I can’t wait to hit my next big inversion and when I do, I’ll let you know. For now I’m keeping it under wraps.

Mexico 2013 124

What unexpected things has DDP yoga brought to your life?

Wow, a handful of things here. With the heath returning I was able to get back to training Karate as opposed to just teaching Karate. I have gained friends, mentors, and inspirational people from around the world. I can’t wait to get back training with some of these awesome people.

I know you follow DDP’s liquid recommendations. What about the rest of the nutrition plan?

I approach the nutrition plan very much like Dallas’ talk of living life at 90%. I am basically Gluten and Dairy free. My biggest problem with food is I am a chronic overeater and would go back to that if not for using myfitnesspal to track my intake. As a matter of fact you (Liz) were one of my first friends on MyFitnessPal. My wife, Bettina, is one of my biggest supporters by making our meals within the limits that I set for myself. I still slip. I have the odd chocolate bar or small bag of plain chips. I still enjoy a beer or three or maybe a few more…I train very hard to enjoy my few excesses in life.

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The Liquid Diet

Have you encountered any hurdles along the way? How have you overcome them? Are there any hurdles you still cope with?

Most of my hurdles have been food related. I love to eat. I love pasta! We have been able to find some wonderful gluten free pasta so that has helped. As matter of fact I am eating some GF lasagna during this interview. Now it’s just about portion control. When I fall off the food wagon I mentally push that day into the past and reset the very next day. I don’t beat myself up about it. I use myfitnesspal to help track my intake and keep a good guideline for calories in and out. I think I will always struggle with my eating but am prepared to meet that. Just a matter of diligence.

You’re the first ever Canadian DDP Yoga instructor. How did you decide to pursue that goal? How did you meet that goal so quickly?

I think that becoming Certified was just a logical step. 15 years of instructing karate and helping people that way made it easy to try to help people regain their life through DDP Yoga. I couldn’t wait to show others why this is such a great program. I was training DDP Yoga 6 times a week when I applied for the Certification program. Completing that program was foremost in my mind and I attacked it. I worked hard at getting the routines down and trying to understand the flow of each. I trained very much in the style of training kata for Karate. Get the basic forms. Then apply the principles of:

  1. A) Timing and tempo of technique
  2. B) Breath control
  3. C) Points of power and stress

Using these fundamentals, the helpful hand and guidance of Yoga Doc and the others in the certification program, I think, really accelerated me to become Canada’s first DDP Yoga instructor.

What has being a DDP Yoga instructor meant to you? What classes are you teaching?

It’s an opportunity to help those that may not find Karate to be for them. It allows me help more people and develop myself more. The satisfaction I get when I see the joy on someones face when they complete their first full 3 count push up when a few months earlier they couldn’t hold plank for a count of 9 is amazing. Seeing people exceed their own expectations is the greatest gift to me.One of my longest students Heidi can now out plank me and she now inspires me to work harder. It becomes a symbiotic relationship Instructors challenging students then the students challenging the Instructors. It’s an amazing ride and I cant wait for the next new person to walk through my door and experience this.

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I teach 4 nights week 1 hour classes. I have amazing students and am slowly growing. I’m almost scared of when this all goes crazy and the numbers grow exponentially. Scary and exciting at the same time and am really looking forward to it.

You’re a key member of the Hardship fund. How did you get involved? What do you get out of it?

As you know, I was there the night the Hardship Fund came into existence. What an amazing night of kinship and love. I made my own donation to help buy a DVD set. I was then asked if I would like to help oversee the administration of the funds. I accepted and since then we have never looked back. I think to date we have had applications exceeding 102. I am very excited to continue to be a part of this grassroots program.

The program through the administration side and donation side allow me to help someone who may be struggling financially but has the desire and drive to change their life. It allows me to pay it forward by helping those people and allowing them when giving the chance to pay it forward themselves.

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What’s next for you?

Next for me in DDP Yoga is getting certified for Level 2. I’m also looking forward for when the app comes out this year. Exciting times. I’m also looking at opening my own studio to teach Karate and DDP Yoga. There’s nothing like having your own space.

I really want to continue to train hard and hopefully I can inspire someone to change their life.

If you're not familiar with Black Crow, let me assure you, this is crazy difficult!

If you’re not familiar with Black Crow, let me assure you, this is crazy difficult!

What would you say to someone who is considering DDP Yoga?

I would say “Try it, you’ll be surprised because I sure was” I follow that up explaining that I’ve been a gym rat, I used to run, I’ve been an athlete most of my life until my injuries brought that to an end. I explain how DDP Yoga has allowed me to pursue those goals again. I’ve been thinking I would like to do the Tough Mudder before I turn 51.

Before and After