Women on Wednesday

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.


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.

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.


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


My Inspirations: Kelly Klemolin, Certified DDP Yoga Instructor

Continuing in the series of certified female DDP Yoga instructors, this week we’re talking to Kelly Klemolin. Despite being geographically closest to me, I am yet to meet Kelly in person. I will definitely have to rectify that someday soon. For now I’m happy to share her story here (check out her insight into how to deal with obstacles, I’m really inspired by that!):


How did you get involved with DDP Yoga?

Like so many others, I discovered DDP Yoga via the Arthur video. When I saw Dallas mid-way through the video, my thoughts ran something like, “why does he look so familiar? check out those biceps! I am soooo doing the wrong yoga!” I googled and was hugely intrigued by the whole program. I love my cardio, but I also want to feel strong. Food was another issue…while I’d been reading up on clean eating for years, everyone made it so complicated. It was just one of those “I’ve gotta check this out” things…and I bought the program.

What were your original goals with DDP Yoga?

Looking back, I’m not sure I had actual goals when I purchased the program. I was looking for something different, something that didn’t leave me asking myself “are we done yet?” after the first month. I’ve done step, spin class, bootcamp, buns of steel (way to date yourself Kel!), rollerblading, power yoga, power-walking, lifting, Zumba, hula hooping, Wii fit, kettlebell, and kickboxing…I know there’s more, I just can’t remember it all right now. I still mix it up with some of these workouts, but none of them give me that kick-ass feeling of accomplishment like DDP Yoga does.

Workout-wise, I was pretty healthy when I started the program. I’ve always been flexible and my endurance was good – just don’t ask me to run…it’s a sad, sad sight . Food has always been a challenge. While I haven’t mastered the level of clean eating I now aspire to, I’m learning more each day.

Did you achieve that goal?

Since my only real goal was to find a workout that I liked – yes, I found it. On the first day I got the DVDs, I did the DD, Energy & Fat Burner. Having done yoga before, I didn’t think it was really hard…engaging was challenging, but it was okay. Day 2 I tried Below the Belt. It was like a switch went on. I was hooked.

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

It’s helped me to become more accepting that “just because I’m not there today, doesn’t mean I won’t get there.”

Did you experience any hurdles along the way?

As with all of us, life happens. Schedules, kids, commitments – yes, I let them get in my way. Finally I asked myself “how bad do you want it?” and that’s when I started moving forward again.

What are your current goals with DDP Yoga?

To finally change the story in my head that says “you weren’t meant to be thin” to something like “you’re here to be healthy.”

There are always things to take further. One thing that comes to mind is to master black crow…I’ve had a serious road block for years, when it comes to that move. I know it’ll come down to eventually just relaxing into it…but right now it’s still a sloppy mess.

What made you decide to pursue DDP Yoga certification?

I’ve been subbing as a kickboxing instructor for a few years now. I’ve been asked if I would like to teach kettlebell. Both of those just sort of happened; it’s great, but it wasn’t anything I intended to happen. When I learned about the DDP Yoga certification process, I immediately thought “I’m doing it.” It’s so much more than just a workout. I mean, you can watch a hundred infomercials about different workouts & workout products and they’re all the same: Check out my abs! Whoa – look at my ass! DDP Yoga is different. It’s about being being better than you were yesterday – inside & outside.

Original hopes – I’m not even sure. My hopes are still evolving. This is really basic, but I really want to help make someone’s life better. That may be something as simple as helping someone break that plateau they’ve been on forever, teaching them the best plan of attack in the grocery store, or working with them to touch their toes when they said it couldn’t be done.

How did you find the certification process?

The certification process was a good experience. The easiest part was the practice. Learning the moves and communicating them to others was straightforward. The hardest part was getting in front of the camera. I fear cameras – I think that’s why it took me forever to finally get certified.

What has being a certified done for you?

A couple days ago one of my son’s karate instructors showed up at my class. He’s a kind of gruff guy and you always know where you stand with him. He’s a fantastic teacher and has my complete respect. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated having him in class. When we finished, he came up to me and told me how much fun he had and what a great workout it was. I was exhilarated. That’s what being certified has done – and I’m looking forward to more of that feeling of accomplishment.

I teach DDP Yoga at a local karate school. Another job – yes, I am a full-time voice talent, doing commercials, narrations, e-learning, video games, or being that annoying voice that won’t let you out of phone-tree hell.

What’s next for you and DDP Yoga?

Right now I’m going to focus on growing the classes. On a slightly related note, I will be working on getting a certificate in nutrition.

Where can people find you?

I can be reached at kelly@kellyklemolin.com.


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!


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.


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.


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


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