If you were a fan of pro wrestling in the 1990s, you probably remember Diamond Dallas Page, who rose to the fame, in part, because of his entertaining finishing move, the “Diamond Cutter.”
What you probably don’t know, however, is that yoga saved his career.
“I’m a guy who really wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga the first 42 years of my life,” Page admitted on The MoJo Show, “but I didn’t start wrestling until I was 35, (and) my career did not take off until I was 40. So I was constantly looking for ways to hold back the hands of time. In 1996, wrestling blew up huge. We owned the cable networks. The WWF and WCW had four of the top 10 shows – and that was 1, 2 and 3 every week. It was an incredible ride.”
Especially for Page, who in 1997 was rated the No. 4 wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. But with high popularity came high exposure, including exposure to injury. Page spent an average of 272 days a year performing in the ring.
“People can say what they want about pro wrestling, but one thing rings true: you can’t fake gravity,” Page said. “I took a serious beating. Plus I was doing the Tonight Show, Hollywood Squares, the Craig Kilborn Show – so I was really crazy busy. And then I finally fried my body out. I took that one bump that was really just the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I ruptured my L-4 and L-5. Three of the top doctors in the world all said the same thing: ‘You’re done. You had a hell of a run, but you’re done.’”
Page had just signed a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal.
“When you’re finally getting paid and now they’re saying it’s over,” Page said, “it’ll open up your mind to do whatever things you weren’t ready to do.”
For Page, that meant yoga, which his ex-wife introduced him to.
“As it became a necessity, well, then I started to open up my mind,” Page said. “I realized, ‘Wow, this stuff is pretty good.’ I wasn’t really into the spiritual stuff. I was more into the positions that I could get into that would help to break up the scar tissue and make me a little bit more flexible, make me a little stronger. And after about three weeks – and I’m talking three weeks – I felt a significant difference.”
Eventually, Page mixed yoga with rehab, incorporating push-ups, squats, crunches and other exercises.
“Every time you flex or engage a muscle, your heart has to beat faster to get (blood) to the muscle,” Page explained. “It’s a whole different type of flow.”
Less than three months later, Page was back in the ring.
“At 42, they said I was done. At 43, I was a world champ,” Page said. “And that was an honor. That’s like getting the Oscar in our profession.”
You can visit www.ddpyoga.com to learn more information about DDP Yoga, which is described as “a hybrid workout that incorporates some traditional yoga movements and adds dynamic resistance, active breathing techniques and power movements to make for a more challenging and results oriented workout.”
Touted benefits include “body fat loss, lean muscle growth, and improved cardio levels all without placing undue stress on the joints.”
The website also features success stories about people who lost significant weight – 100+ pounds, in some cases – using DDP Yoga.