He’s Pulling Your Leg

With a new book and DVD series, Point Pleasant native and world wrestling champ Diamond Dallas Page is out to change the way America views yoga—one Regular Guy at a time.

How did you get involved in yoga?
I was a guy who, for the first 42 years of my life, wouldn’t be caught dead doing yoga. The first time my wife asked me to do it with her, I was like, “I’m not doing that crap. It’s for sissies.” I was on top of the world. I had worked myself from one main event into another. And then I ruptured the two discs in my lower back so badly, I went to three different doctors, and they all told me my career was over. So I said, “Okay, well, let me try that yoga stuff.” Within a matter of months, I was back in the ring.

How did you adapt traditional yoga into Yoga for Regular Guys (YRG)?
I use yoga as my base, but I added old-school calisthenics that every guy on this planet can relate to—push-ups, squats, and crunches. Some yogis would think, Well, that’s just yoga, but it’s not. You’ve never [seen the] kind of yoga class like I’m doing. Everybody else is stale and deadpan in their videos. They all look like they’ve just had an enema. That ain’t mine. Mine’s a workout.

Is spirituality part of YRG?
There’s no spirituality to YRG. It’s a workout. But there is some sort of spirituality in what I call “living life at 90 percent”—the concept that life is 10 percent what happens to you, 90 percent how you react to it. You have to reprogram your mind to adapt to adversities by breaking old habits and creating new ones, by turning negatives into positives.

Who is your greatest success story?
Look at my site [diamonddallaspage.com]. There’s a guy named Larry “Smokey” Genta on the front page—Jersey boy, smoked, never worked out a day in his life. I sent [the book] to Smokey, and Smokey was up to about 270 then. He calls me back and he goes, “Dallas, I’m not a regular guy. I can’t do the workout.” I said, “Really? That’s bullshit. Yeah, you can. I’m going to modify it. I’m going to change it.” So I came up with what I call YRG Plus 50. Everything is about setting goals; his goal was to lose 50 pounds in 14 months, and on his 50th birthday have his life begin. Smokey in the last 10 months has lost 75 pounds and 59.5 inches.

Are there many regular guys in New Jersey?
Are you kidding me? That’s Regular Guy Central!

Tell us about your DVDs.
Ninety-three percent of the people in my video—there are 27 people—they’re all case studies, all friends of mine. [It’s a] three-DVD set: the 20-minute workout, because I’m really starting with basics; the 40-minute fat burner; and the last one is YRG: The Fountain of Youth. We’re going to have 50-, 60- and 70-year-old people in it. You can do this if you’re 7 to 70. You want to bond with your son or your daughter? Do YRG. You want to bond with your grandkids? Do YRG. It’s really going to change the world in a huge way about how people view or skew what a workout is.

How does YRG differ from a regular cardio workout?
I added a heart monitor onto the workout. If you’re a guy running without a heart monitor and you’re over 35 years old you’re really ignorant, because the heart monitor is your gauge of how and why. That’s like saying, “Today we’re going to lift weights, but I’m not going to tell you what weight I’m going to put on.” Why would you want to do YRG without a heart monitor? It’s incredibly important.

What should people concentrate most on while they practice YRG?
Breathing is the most important thing we do. We can go without eating for weeks, drinking for days, but we can’t go without breathing for a couple of minutes. Start by putting your hand on your stomach, and practice by breathing in and pushing your stomach out like Santa Claus, so the air will go down deep into your stomach. And as you exhale, pull your stomach back toward your spine, have it contract toward your back, toward your spine. And when you can do that for a three-second breath, take it to five, take it to ten. You can control anything if you breathe properly.

Have you had any criticism from traditional yoga practitioners?
No! Everybody goes, “I love what you’re doing.” I just say that this isn’t your regular yoga. All I really say is, at the end of my videos, “Most yogis say namaste here, but YRG is a little more about T&A [tone and attitude].”

What’s your advice for those considering a lifestyle change?
Reevaluate [your life] and what [you] want. I wanted to be a wrestler since I was 8 years old. I didn’t go after my dream till I was 35, and I became one of the top five guys in the world for about five years. And I’m from New Jersey! It means anybody can do anything they want to do.

Michelle Kahan is a former New Jersey Monthly research assistant.

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