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My Inspirations: Kristin Pasquill, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

Update: Kristin was the subject of the first interview of people who inspire me that I published. Since then, she has gone on to become a certified DDP Yoga instructor, only adding to her overall awesomeness. I caught up with her to find out what she’s doing now that she’s an instructor and updated the interview: 

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I set up this blog to help others be inspired the way I have been inspired. Part of that is sharing my story, which I have done over, and over, and over…. You guys must be getting sick of hearing about me now; I know I am getting sick of typing about me! Other ways to inspire include sharing motivational posts about DDP Yoga, nutritional information, and the occasional bit of yoga humor.

But one inspiration I somehow overlooked sharing until now is the stories of people around me in the TeamDDP community who inspire me. Seeing their success, their grit, their motivation continues to motivate me everyday. After all, it was a the achievements of a certain Team DDP member that prompted me to give DDP Yoga a try in the first place. There have been numerous times when I just lack the energy to get on the mat, but then I hop onto teamddpyoga.com or one of the DDP Yoga Facebook groups, and when I see members of Team DDP overcoming obstacles, achieving a goal they’ve struggling with for a long time, or even posting about the workout they did that evening,  I find the inspiration I need.

I want to promote the people who inspire me most so that they can inspire others too.

I am kicking off this series with a BANG! I have chosen to present an awesome success story, and coupled it with a challenge for the month of October.

Kristin came to my attention recently when her transformation story appeared at TeamDDP, and she became more active in various groups. In particular, I noticed that Kristin has the most amazing biceps I have ever seen so I reached out to her to ask how she got them. It turns out that in addition to packing some pretty impressive guns, she’s also a really nice person.

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The Interview

You look like someone who has been lean and athletic all their lives. Has that been the case?

Thanks but not at all! I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve fluctuated between chubby and down right hefty, but lean and athletic were never words to describe me until I discovered DDP Yoga.

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

A friend of mine introduced me to the program. He came over for a visit after not seeing him for months and looked so good! I asked him what miracle diet he was on and he replied with DDP Yoga. He left that night and I immediately started my research. Found Arthur’s video, cried for a while, and started my journey just a few days later.

What shape were you in when you first started the program?

Unhealthy, sad, over weight… just about every negative adjective you can think of. I had my daughter 10 months before starting the program and in those 10 months of her life I managed to gain 70+ pounds. I struggled with depression and had poor eating habits. I was a mess to say the least!KP01

What was your first few weeks with DDP like?

I have to admit, my first few weeks were rough and honestly thought about quitting. I did nothing but The Diamond Dozen for a couple of months. It took me a while to learn the moves, using my yoga blocks and getting into safety zone more than I was actually doing the moves. It was hard. But I kept at it and the more I practiced, the easier it got. And here I am now with my yoga blocks collecting dust on the shelf!

How have you changed since starting DDP Yoga?

I have said this before many times and to Mr. Page himself: this program literally saved my life. I’ve struggled with my health and weight related issues my entire life. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis as a teenager, spending a lot of time in physical therapy and taking medication for pain. My doctors always told me if I got my weight under control, the pain wouldn’t be as severe, I just could never get it under control until starting this program. And at one point my weight was so severe my doctors were talking Diabetes.Today I am medication free and the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I say DDP Yoga saved my life, I truly mean it!

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You’re a huge success story. What parts of the program worked best for you?

Thank you kindly! It is still crazy to hear that and to see my story on the website as a success. It’s hard to decide what’s worked best for me because it has all worked so well! I will say, I love Strength Builder and Stand Up. Two things I never thought I would have- strength and balance. And those two workouts in particular have really helped me out a lot.

What is your proudest achievement with DDP Yoga?

In the beginning I thought it would be to lose the weight. And while that’s something I am very proud of, getting my health under control has been my proudest achievement. I have always been unhealthy, even as a child. I love food and always will, but growing up I made poor choices with food. Lots of processed junk and fast food. DDP Yoga and the eating program have taught me so much. I can still eat plenty and stay healthy! And my body is thanking me for it. I no longer have to worry about weight related issues with my fibromyalgia and arthritis. Diabetes scares are a thing in the past. And that’s a beautiful thing!

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Is there anything you still struggle with?

I would like to think I’m pretty alright with most of the moves, but to this day I struggle with Wrap and Burn. I actually used to skip that move a lot of times. But luckily there’s a great group of people on our Facebook group that had the brilliant suggestion of using a towel so that’s what I do now! Hopefully I’ll get rid of the towel one day… baby steps :)

You’re a Mom; how does that impact doing DDP Yoga? 

I am! A proud mother of 2. My son started kindergarten this year but before that, both of my kids were at home with me the majority of the day. And even when both of them were home, doing my DDP Yoga was still very doable. I either waited until their nap time so I could have complete “me time” or just do it when they’re awake! They crawl under me like a bridge in Down Dog from time to time, but that doesn’t stop me. :)

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At one point after having my son, I spent a lot of time at the gym. And while I had success with it, I was hurting constantly and not getting near the results I’ve got with DDP Yoga. Not to mention I would have to find someone to watch my son so I could drive all the way across town to get to the gym. It just wasn’t doable for me. I’ve also tried other at home workouts that required a lot of room moving around and that’s a bit difficult with kids. I love that I can get an amazing workout even in a small space. All I need is my yoga mat!

What advice would you give to someone considering the program or starting out?

DO IT. Just do it!  Coming from someone that’s pretty much tried it all, just try it. Try it and stick with it. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How have people around you, either online or in person, taken your transformation?

It’s been pretty crazy! A positive crazy I mean. I get the majority of support from the wonderful people I’ve “met” online through teamddpyoga.com and the awesome Facebook groups. Without them I’m not sure if I would have as much success as I’ve had. In person from friends and family, I’ve got a lot of positive feedback. The best has been my parents and relatives telling me how proud they are of me. Gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside!

How have you taken to the role of inspiring others? I am in awe sometimes. Never in a million years did I think I would ever inspire anyone. I have received countless messages and emails from people I don’t even know telling me I’ve inspired them to start the program or stick with it. It’s an amazing, hard to believe feeling that I am truly grateful for.

You have the most amazing biceps any of us have ever seen… Tell us your secrets!

Haha thank you so much! No secrets really. I typically do some kind of DDP workout 5-6 days a week. The slow burn pushups have really helped tone my arms up. I also have started what I’ve dubbed Bathtub Pushups, although you honestly could do them just about anywhere. I started the habit of every time I went into my bathroom of doing a rep of 10 pushups. And by the time the day is over, a lot of times I’ve done 100+ pushups! Clearly I spend a lot of time in the bathroom lol. But they have really helped a lot I think. I have never been a fan of push ups, but the strength I’ve gained with DDP Yoga and only doing 10 at a time have really made them doable and fun!

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What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I feel like becoming certified was the best way for me to give back. DDP Yoga truly helped change and save my life. The least I could do is share the wealth! When I joined the groups online, I started to realize there are not too many people involved with DDP Yoga in the South and really felt with certification, I could help spread the word. I want to show others they can change their lives exactly how I did!

How did you find the certification process? 

I found out about certification by browsing through the website. I saw powerful women like you and Christina that have been such an inspiration to me and it got me thinking about getting certified myself. In the beginning, it seemed like such an unreachable goal. I have had issues with social anxiety and public speaking since I was a kid, so the thought of teaching a class was downright terrifying! But if there’s anything DDP Yoga has taught me, it’s you can do whatever you set your mind to (with lots and lots of baby steps!) So I started small. I taught myself classes just looking in the mirror and speaking out loud (as funny as that sounds it actually helped a LOT!). From there, I slowly worked my way to teaching online classes. It took a while to get comfortable, but the more I worked at it the better I got! And towards the end of my certification, I started to teach a small group in person and finally proved to myself that I could do it. It took me 6 months and a lot of hard work but it’s been one of the most rewarding goals I have ever made  for myself!

What has being certified done for you?

Certification has been yet another life changer for me through this amazing program. It has shown me that even the ridiculously far away goals are reachable and has given me confidence in myself I have never had. I am now teaching classes. In fact, I just had my very first class a few days ago! It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for my next class!

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What is next for you?

It’s funny, when I initially started the program my goal was to lose 30 pounds. I met that goal and then another. And another, and another, until here I am now 100 pounds lighter and the healthiest I’ve ever been. DDP Yoga has taught me the sky is the limit. To believe in myself and anything is possible. I definitely want to continue teaching and eventually add some more classes to my schedule!

Where can people find you?

I’m always on Facebook! You can find me through my direct page or Southern Style Yoga for updates/class schedules.

I teach every Wednesday evening at 6:30 at the Semmes Community Center in Semmes, AL and will hopefully be serving the Mobile area soon!

The Challenge

And now the challenge. We all want arms like Kristin’s, right? So let’s do what she does. For the month of October June (let’s do it again!!!), anytime you are in the bathroom, do 10 inclined pushups. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely seeing a change! I have added my own rule in: if for whatever reason I can’t do the push-ups (running late, not wanting my HR up at 3am), I do 10 full push-ups later. Here’s Kristin to show how it’s done!

BANG!

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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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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.

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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

 

 

Website 2.0…….. Liz 1.08.27.003.98

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I experienced series of unfortunate events recently, and the end result has been some weight gain. The weight gain could have been avoided, and while there are mitigating circumstances, I am choosing to avoid using those circumstances to excuse what has happened, and instead really learn from them so that I can be even better prepared for next time I encounter hurdles.

I wish!

A quick synopsis first: I came to DDP Yoga tipping the scales at 198 lbs. I quickly lost the weight and got down to 145 lbs and it then became time for the maintenance phase. Over the course of a year, my weight crept up by 10 lb. Then in the last month, I had a really bad cold that knocked me out of action for a couple of weeks. I was back in action for about a week before I cracked my rib, and I have been completely out of action ever since. Coupled with the holidays and my own shortcomings, the weight jumped by another 10 lbs, and that was all it took for me to do some real thinking about what has been going wrong, and I what I need to do to get back to where I should be!

Here’s What Happened:

1. Side-effects Of Medication.

In addition to many other things DDP Yoga enabled me to do, I was able to take up running. I achieved many things running (a full marathon, a wall of medals, a great sense of achievement), but I also achieved a nasty cluster of migraines which appear to have been caused by excessive exercise/electrolyte balance. I started taking amitriptyline which worked great for the migraines, but does have the nasty habit of making you gain weight. In addition to the straight-forward weight gain side-effect, the amitriptyline likely contributed to my gradual weight gain in a second way by increasing my resting and working heart rate. This increased heart rate gets interpreted by my heart rate monitor as more calories burned, thus allowing me to eat more that I probably should. Ideally, I would like to manage my electrolytes better and stop taking amitriptyline within the next year!

2. I’m Liz, And I’m A Compulsive Eater:

I am a food addict. There’s all sorts of interesting reasons as to why I ended up looking for love and fulfillment at the bottom of a candy wrapper, but the point is that I have no power over food. Other people can open a packet of gluten-free cookies, eat three with a cup of coffee, seal the packet up and put them back in the cabinet. I can’t. Stacey Morris can make any number of delicious 8 – 12 serving desserts, eat a single portion, and stick the rest in the fridge. I can’t. I am addicted to sugar and I am a compulsive over-eater, and in all likelihood I will have to actively keep that in check for the remainder of my life. In addition, the food supply is addictive by design. We are flooded with sugar and refined carbs that light up your brain in the same was cocaine does. It’s no accident that so many of us are overweight. While I adhered to the letter of the DDP Yoga nutrition program, I didn’t always adhere to the spirit. I replaced the Dairy and Gluten free junk I used to eat with all-natural, whole ingredient treats like raw, organic almond butter or Larabars, but I still ate way too much of it. I tricked myself into thinking I could have a packet of Larabars in the house, but the packet was always empty by the end of the day. A Larabar is great snack. A Larabar. One. Eight of them is not good for you and overloads your system with excess sugar, which gets turned into fat.

3. To Count Or Not To Count:

After a few month of maintaining, I decided to quit MyFitnessPal, and stick with healthy eating to maintain my weight. That has worked for a number of people such as Stacey Morris, but given my recent weight gain, both the slow crawl to 155, and the more recent rapid jump to 165, I think we can safely assume I need a more rigorous regimen. Between weight-gain from amitriptyline, my overeating and the effect of Leptin (thanks for nothing, Mother Nature), the lack of monitoring let small amounts of over-eating and self-denial creep in.

4. Not Sharing:

When I first started this journey, I shared every single fat-roll, failed forearm balance, or diet malfunction I had. That made the success all the more sweet, and it helped other people realize they could find success, even with personal shortcomings and minor failures and setbacks. However, since I became a nutritionist, a DDP Yoga instructor, and more visible within the DDP Yoga community, I found it harder and harder to share the weak moments and shortcomings. Who wants to take nutritional advice from a failure? This was of course a self-imposed hurdle. No one in the community would have judged me, and clients understand that fitness coaches and nutritionists are people too! The problem is that failure thrives in the dark. When I had the first episode of over-indulging, had I shared it, that would have been it. But I didn’t, and it became a weird mix of exciting and shameful. That triggers the next episode of over-eating, and the next, and the next. The other issue is that hiding your mistakes allows you to believe your own nonsense without reasoned input from your peers, such as “muscle weighs considerably more than fat” (it doesn’t).

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Here’s What I Am Going To Do:

1. Be Honest

I’m going to post my eating on MyFitnessPal every single day, regardless of what I eat. I am not going to be hiding my weight gain, my diet, my failures or successes any more. I will be much better about sharing either here, on YouTube or via Twitter. I will also be logging everything I eat, ill-advised or otherwise, in MyFitnessPal (no more mystery missing days!).

2. Be Mindful

I am going spend the next few months learning how to be more mindful about eating. These include but are not limited to: a brief meditation before eating any food (and more meditation in general), a large glass of water before food, all food on a plate, all plates at at table, no iPhones/computers while eating, fork down between bites. I will be implementing these bit-by-bit, and I am sure I will forget from time-to-time. That’s okay. This is a journey. I’ll be re-reading Mark Van Buren’s incredibly insightful book, Be Your Sh*tty Self to remind myself of the importance of mindfulness.

3. Stay Home

I have been eating take-out way too much recently. Even though I go to better restaurants than I did before, and keep within my vegan and GF food restrictions, eating at home will always be better where portion control, ingredient quality and calorie counting is concerned.

4. Be Consistent

I had been adjusting my food intake to match my calorie output. That worked for weight loss, but it didn’t work for healthy habit formation. My maintenance goal was about 1800 calories per day. If I ran for 30 minutes and burned 400 calories, that would allow me to eat 2200 calories (or an extra two Choco Boom Boom bars). Overtime, that turned into making exercise decisions based on knowing I had some Larabars at home that I may want to attack later, which in turn became a bad habit of overeating first and then exercising the excess of later. This ended up with me being used to having a huge calorie intake on a daily basis, and thus a rather quick weight gain as soon as I became sick or injured. I was talking with a friend who is also an overeater, but who has lost a lost a larger amount of weight than I did and has successfully kept the weight off. She eats roughly the same number of calories day in, day out regardless of what she has done for exercise. Obviously, when I am running full marathons, I may carb up in advance, but short of that, I will be following a more consistent approach with my diet.

5. Work With What’s Available

I routinely tell people who are experiencing injury to use the time to focus on nutrition. That’s great advice, so it boggles the mind as to why I typically use injury (or other impediment to exercise) as an excuse to fall off the nutritional wagon too! I am going to be side-lined for at least a couple of weeks with my stupid rib injury, so I will be using that time to really nail down good, healthy eating habits.

Here’s What I Am NOT Going To Do:

1. No reboots, Liz 2.0’s Or Do-overs

There’s only one me, there will only ever be one me. I don’t get to scrap the old one every time I make a mistake. I am stuck with myself for the rest of my life, and with all the scars, extra weight, and other reminders of where I have been and what I have done. And that’s a good thing. If I scrapped all the memories and lessons of my first time through the weight loss process, and pretended this was my day 1 again, I’d lose a massive opportunity to learn both what did work last time thought, and what didn’t worked. This is not a second weight loss journey. This is all part of my one and only weight loss journey.

Couldn’t have put it better myself!

2. No Taboos

I consider myself a gluten-free vegan, and avoiding foods that contain those things has become second nature to me. I am no longer tempted by Dairy Milk or Hershey’s, so that is not an issue. I am, however, struggling to be a sugar-free, gluten-free vegan, and I am extremely tempted to Choco Boom Boom bars, Larabars or Amy’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies! Instead of saying, “I will never eat gluten-free cookies again,” which invariably leads to me thinking of nothing but cookies, I instead will say, “I am avoiding them for now.” And when I reach my weight goal, I will buy a single Larabar rather than a bulk-purchase. For most people, the multipack is better value, because it costs less per bar, but that saving only works if you don’t eat the entire packet that day! In the meantime, I will be focusing on developing the habit of turning to cucumber, apples, celery or other whole foods for snack-time!

3. No Labels, No Bullying

I am a little heavier than I would like to be. I feel healthier when I am leaner, and I struggle with feelings of regret for having given into food addiction and squandering the weight goals I achieved. However, this is temporary. I will regain my weight goals. In the meantime, I will not be defined by the extra weight I am carrying in my midsection. I don’t like how I look right now as much as I liked how I looked at 140 lbs, so instead of spending hours staring at the mirror and beating myself up for what I don’t like, I will choose not to look in the mirror. And when I do, I will actively force myself to be positive and focus on things I do like. Similarly, I will not call myself some of the horrific names I used to call myself, or bully myself for having weak moments or setbacks. I frequently explain to people that they should treat themselves as they would others. If your friend came to you, and said, “I feel awful, I broke my diet and demolished an entire pack of Oreos,” you wouldn’t tell her she’s a fat, worthless, pig, nor would you berate her at length for tripping up. No, aside from the fact that you would have to be a horrible, evil person to treat someone that way, you are also aware that it wouldn’t help anything. After being treated that way, your friend would end up in a shame-spiral and would probably end up overeating again to bury those feelings. The exact same thing happens when you treat yourself that way.

So that is my now, very public, setback and roadmap to getting back to where I was. I will update this post with my weight every week until I get to my target (below 147):

  • 12/01: 167 lbs
  • 12/08: 160 lbs

 

The Ultimate Guide to What DDP Yoga Could Do For You!

DDP Yoga has done so much for me that it’s hard to put it all in one post. So I am cheating and presenting an omnibus of posts instead! Click on a picture to see one of the many ways DDP Yoga can improve your life!

What will DDP Yoga do for you?

Fix your mental health?

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Fix your physical health?

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Fix your chronic pain?sore_knee

Fix Your Career?

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Prevent future injuries and stiffness?

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Make you drop an amazing amount of weight in 90 days?

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Let you wear all the clothes in your wardrobe…

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…or require you to buy a new one?

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Give you a nice big novelty cheque?

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Help you develop balance like never before?

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Fix your skin?

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Let you turn fitness into a career?

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Let you find your passion for helping others?

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Let you exceed your goals?

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Earn a cool new tattoo?

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Or improve your math skills?

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(Okay, so it’s probably not going to help with your math skills!)

 

Maybe it will improve your motivation?

What do you want from DDP Yoga?

The Hardship Fund: How It Began

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This morning, my DDP Yoga client let me know she was going to be about 30 minutes late. That gave me about an hour to sit down and put together my 10 Tips For Losing Weight post that I am working on.

However, as is my terrible habit, I checked Facebook before I got going. After seeing all my notifications, I wandered over to the DDP Yoga group. I stumbled onto a conversation in which someone had simply posted, “I wish i can afford ddp yoga.” I skimmed through the comments, which mostly centered around pointing the original poster in the direction of free yoga resources, or explaining that DDP Yoga can be purchased in installments.

I added my two cents, pointing the poster in the direction of Do Yoga With Me, a fantastic online yoga resource. While classical yoga isn’t my thing, I love that this website features full-length, high-quality videos with certified yoga instructors as well as short tutorials for certain poses. I sometimes use their videos when I want to stretch or meditate but don’t need the heavy cardio of DDP Yoga (usually because I have just done my DDP Yoga!)

After I posted, I read a couple more comments and noticed that someone had suggested chipping in and buying the set. Shortly after that, another person bought the Max Pack outright! There were a lot of people congratulating the generosity, as well as others still replying to the original post. In amongst them, a lady named Maria posted, “I wanted to get the program too but finances won’t even allow me to split the payments up. It’s my luck I suppose. Lol. I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention. Good luck on your journey sweetie. Love ya”

So, a flash of excitement came across me and I posted, “Did we all see Maria’s post, wanna make this a two-fer?” Within seconds, I had replies pledging money, so I pitched in with 3 other people and collected money to my PayPal, and purchased the Max Pack for her. The fact that we bought 2 Max Packs for people was already exciting enough, but then someone posted about a man they knew who could benefit from a similar act of kindness, and minutes later, we heard about another lady who would be helped immensely by DDP Yoga, but couldn’t afford it. Within minutes I was able to collect the funds for 2 more Max Packs, and after pestering people to send me the pertinent mailing info, I ordered the DVDs for them. I ended up paying the shipping on all the orders, but it was a small price to pay for knowing the positive impact that is currently winging its way to deserving people.

The whole thing was a shining example of what DDP Yoga is, and the kind of people who are in TeamDDP. We are a family, and we think nothing of helping one another. DDP Yoga has taught us that we need to support one another, and that we will all be more successful when we band together and take care of each other. Those lessons have obviously be well-learnt, because when we are confronted with someone who needs support, be it in the form of financial assistance, advice, compassion, or any other resource that person needs. It’s not even a question, it’s as involuntary a reaction in us as having your knee swing up when the doctor bangs it with that little triangular hammer!

The people who received the DVDs were more grateful than I could have anticipated. This conversation epitomizes the reaction of our new teammates:

Recipient: I’m so overwhelmed about all this. Y’all didn’t have to do it.
Me: Yeah, we did… That’s what teamDDP is all about. Welcome to the family!
Recipient: Thanks sweetie!!
And the generosity spread beyond the 4 initial Max Packs.  I found out that a heart rate monitor had been purchased for Maria by another member, and someone else bought a DVD player for another user. In addition, I wandered away from the computer for a couple of hours and came back to find I had more donations. I solicited a few this morning, and we have ordered a fifth Max Pack for a young mother and her husband. But why stop there?
l realized that the thread was beginning to get lost as people posted new things to the group’s timeline. I really wanted to sustain the momentum we had found, but a Facebook group’s thread wasn’t the way to do it. The phrase “Hardship Fund” popped into my head almost instantly, and I set up a separate page for it. I was able to recruit four other members of teamDDPyoga (Christina Russell, Steve Doyle, Mary Callicoat and Graham O’Quinn) to work with me in running the Hardship Fund: collecting donations, finding people who need help, and distributing DDP Yoga Max Packs. We are collecting donations for people who need the positive impact of DDP Yoga, but who can’t afford it. The donations will be used for DVD purchases, and sending USPS labels to those who want to ship old HRMs or other equipments to deserving recipients.
I am so proud to be a member of TeamDDP. The meaning of team keeps growing and becoming more and more awesome, and I am being made a better person in so many different ways, most I which I never would have dreamt of when I was placing my order for my very own Max Pack!
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In response to this momentum, I posted that we are dispensing with Throwback Thursday. Looking backwards is anathema to DDP Yoga. We are the group that coined the phrase ABMF: Always Be Moving Forward. Well, now it has evolved: ABPF. Always be paying it forward:
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