DDP Yoga is an asana-based fitness program designed to burn fat, increase flexibility, and strengthen injured muscles. It's an aerobic, low-impact workout you can do at home, at your own speed in an old pair of Bermuda shorts if that makes you happy.
Amping the Asanas
Diamond Dallas Page developed a system for rehabilitating his own injuries after a championship heavy-weight wrestling career using the moves from power yoga, a high-octane version of cardio-friendly ashtanga. He added calisthenics, therapeutic stretching, isokinetics, and core strengthening, dropped the namastes and meditation, and called it YRG -- Yoga for Regular Guys. He healed himself and resumed wrestling, winning more championships after his comeback. However, Page was as interested in motivation as he was in perfecting his plank, so he offered to teach his method to his injured buddies from the wrestling circuit and to war veterans. When disabled Iraq War vet Arthur Boorman lost almost 140 lbs, regained his ability to walk, and essentially became a jock following Page's program, and the video went viral, and YRG became DDP for Diamond Dallas Page. DDP Yoga's cult following exploded overnight into mainstream consciousness.
What You Do
The program arrives on a set of videos that range from Beginner to Extreme. Some sessions last only 15 minutes, others work up to more than an hour. All require only a mat and a heart monitor. Nutritional suggestions accompany the how-to's for the poses.
- Expect familiar poses to be renamed -- in DDP, pigeon pose is called can opener, warrior pose is labelled road warrior.
- You'll get a lot of slow planks, pushups, and lunges -- those muscles will burn -- and the pace is steady with no breaks.
- Bank on less jumping around because impact is kept deliberately low-to-moderate to favor damaged joints.
- Use the heart monitor to stay in the optimum zone for safe aerobic activity.
The isokinetics are packaged as "dynamic-resistance strengthening" to repair and build muscle and to contribute to balance improvement. It's definitely "dude" yoga (although DDP has its women devotees) with no frills but plenty of straight pep talk about "ripped abs" and a "shredded body."
What It Does for You
Page claims his method will replace fat with muscle, restore flexibility and range of movement, rebalance and re-motivate you, give you a rock-hard core and an athlete's physique. His targets have always been damaged guys who can't handle the rigors of a traditional fitness program. However, DDP has more widespread appeal because examples abound of people--men and women--who've tried it, stuck with it, and turned their physical deterioration around. DDP takes some very good yoga, some very basic core/strength building, and some very generous modifications to ease you into success with the poses as your body adapts, and provides a no-nonsense series of graduated workout sessions that will work as long as you do. Check the sample of a slow-burn pushup, an original DDP/YRG staple, to see a modified but tough move.
Pros and Cons
Dude yoga definitely goes down easy for those big lugs who can't handle "girly" yoga classes with soft music, buff bodies, and the latest trendy spandex. However, it's real value is the solid fitness-building -- available when you stick with it, and accessible from the start due to the no-shame modifications. You can pace yourself at home, a plus for the housebound or mobility-challenged. You've got plenty of role models who aren't supermodels; they're imperfect beings like you in need of a system tailored to their goals. Male or female, DDP's "Hood Ornament" (Standing Bow pose) and "Space Shuttle" (arms-overhead lunge) could put you back on track for vigorous activity and improved health.
But, and this is worth considering, DDP Yoga isn't a killer weight-loss program. It's not aggressively aerobic enough for that. Likewise, it will befuddle your yoga brain if you switch back and forth between Page's imaginatively renamed poses and traditional asanas in your regular yoga class. You might sample the program first before plunging in. A yoga devotee will be very comfortable with the beginner, and maybe even the intermediate level poses and won't find them challenging. If you can handle ashtanga, Vipassana, hot yoga, or any hatha class, you could just add strength training or a Pilates class to your routine for similar results.
Is It for You?
This could be your yoga if you are in recovery from mobility-constricting injury or have limits on the level of impact in your exercise routine. For strict weight loss, you want a more active workout or some regular running, tennis or swimming sessions. Likewise, if the spiritual origins and meditative benefits of yoga count in your evaluation, look for a more traditional approach. DDP works for some people who might never try yoga at the YMCA. It embodies many of yoga's benefits. Choose the yoga you will stick to, and you'll see the best results.
Back to the Mat
Grab your sticky mat and stand tall as a mountain to kick off your yoga session. If your spine needs more flex, your abs need some tough love, and your balance resembles a wobble board, make that Mountain pose an Ignition and put DDP to work for you. Maybe it's "not your mama's yoga" but who's complaining about that when your downward dog is getting a little growl in it, and your cobra is getting more sinuous and bendy by the day?