By Andre Carter —
“I CAN DO THIS.” Arthur Boorman wrote those four simple words in a 2007 email to DDP Yoga founder Diamond Dallas Page. The retired Army Airborne staff sergeant was in desperate need of pain relief for his failing body, and he had turned to DDP Yoga, an “all in one workout” that is designed to improve cardio and flexibility through combined elements of traditional yoga, strength conditioning, Pilates and mixed martial arts. Since returning home from the first Gulf War in 1991, Boorman’s weight had ballooned to more than 300 pounds. The injuries he sustained in combat were made worse by his obesity and left Boorman wearing leg and back braces, needing a cane to walk and a CPAP machine to keep him breathing while he slept because of sleep apnea.
Early on, the two men corresponded through email every day after Boorman bought one of Page’s DVDs, and Page devised a food plan for him to follow. “I wrote him and said, ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself and how much you need help,’” said Page, a three-time world heavyweight wrestling champion. Page worked with trainers, nutritionists and kinesiologists to develop a yoga plan after he sustained a career-threatening back injury in the ring. “In the first paragraph he wrote back, ‘I’ve been relegated to thinking of myself as a piece of furniture.’ We talked about commitment and setting goals.”
It wasn’t easy. “DDP Yoga is a different animal,” said Boorman. “It works to develop strength in ways that regular yoga doesn’t. It kicked [my] ass. It was hard. It was difficult. It was challenging. It was like being slapped in the face, but it was exactly what I needed. I needed somebody who was not going to look at me as an object of scorn. Dallas held me accountable. It was, ‘If you don’t get your act together, you’re gonna die.’”
The results were almost immediate: Boorman lost 20 pounds after just two weeks of dieting and working out. “How do I keep this going,” Boorman asked Page. “How often are you doing the program?” Page replied. “He said, ‘I’m doing a 20-minute workout, five days a week.’ I said, ‘Do seven,’” recalls Page. Boorman stopped eating processed and junk food, and he upped his workouts to seven mornings and five nights per week. After one month, he lost 34 pounds, and the three-month weigh in showed a loss of 74 pounds. Ten months after asking for Page’s help he had shed 140 pounds.
Although Boorman never was diagnosed with PTSD after his experiences in war, he said that DDP Yoga had a healing effect on his mind, in addition to his body. “Dallas creates an open environment,” said Boorman. “It’s called yoga for regular guys. It’s an environment of openness and camaraderie, as opposed to this aesthetic, quasi-religious environment that you often see in yoga classes. It was the place that I was able to open up and feel what was going on with me.”
Adds Page, “Exercise is the greatest stress reliever on the planet. It helps people work through their limitations. Arthur had a boatload of them. I had an audio book that I gave to everyone in my class. It’s called Own Your Life. Arthur installed it in his car and listened to it every single day. I explained to Arthur that he had to reprogram his brain. Going through all of the shit he went through, it was no easy journey.”
That journey delivered Boorman, a father of three, to his current weight of 170 pounds. You can visit YouTube to watch the 2012 video that documents his extraordinary transformation. It has been viewed more than 11 million times.