Elongating My Spine With DDP Yoga is
Holding Back the Hands of Time
After a decade of martial arts but still persistent back pain and sciatic flare ups I realized that I had to learn to elongate my spine and I decided to do this with a fitness program called DDP Yoga.
I feel like a different person and my martial arts abilities have improved dramatically. I am not saying that I look ripped like an athlete… yet… but I do feel great!
Combine this with the elimination of gluten, GMO’s, lactose, and sugar from my diet and words cannot describe how incredible I feel. Do you know how wonderful it is to eat food that is not going to come back and haunt you later? If you are reading this article then you probably do understand what I am talking about because you have probably been down that road too. It is likely that you know that change is worth the effort. It is not something that you do, it becomes a lifestyle.
There is no way I could have ever started the journey if I had not come to a place where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I used to hate exercise even though I played with free weights and had a bench to goof around on. When you feel like crap you just don’t have a lot of energy to exert much effort into anything. My spine had damage in the Thoracic region from an accident in the summer of 1993.
I tried lifting a 300 lb plate tamper used for landscaping and with that act I tore the inner upper and lower ligaments deep inside my hips. Those ligaments are the suspenders that hold your iliac crest or hip bones together. Well, mine were separating so I ended up wearing a special belt to hold them in place. I had a friend who was into ballet and modern jazz dance and he showed me some routines which I started to do regularly which helped. A few exercises like lunge steps and stretches. After about a year I was able to take the brace off but I had no feeling down my left leg, which was a sign of nerve damage. Tap my knee with a hammer and it just hung there limp staring back at you. The bottom line was that I was starting to feel better and I no longer needed to tie my hip bones together so the exercising had helped. I knew the damage was still present but the body is resilient and it will rearrange itself internally to compensate for a lot of issues working around the problem sometimes.
My diet through the 1980’s and 1990’s was atrocious!
The only things I ate were fast food, pop, gluten, sugar, corn, and everything containing bleached flour.
I used to make fun of people with food allergies as I wolfed down a greasy burger with fries and chased it with a chocolate shake or soda and then suffered with bowel problems for the rest of the night. I had no idea that I was my own worst enemy. I was sick every week and in bed for at least three or four days every month. The irritable bowel syndrome and rotten egg burps were disgusting. I had to plan any driving trip by mapping out where each washroom facility was because I would have to hit every one of them along the way.
When I started my martial arts training in 2003 and my teacher suggested I speak to his nutritionist I had no idea what I was in for. When the nutritionist informed me that I had to eliminate gluten from my diet for a start I almost died right there. I could not see how I could possibly survive without the bleached flour food products I loved to eat. It took some effort but I listened to the advice and started removing wheat products and lactose from my menu. I noticed changes almost right away but it was not easy. I was craving the food that was killing me. I was like a crack addict but my bowels reminded me every day how sick I was and that I just had to do it. I was literally dying from the inside out. To be more precise I was rotting from my bowels upward.
As my martial arts progressed my teacher got in touch with one of his students from his earlier schools who had become a spinal therapist. It just took an introduction to start me on a two year journey of rehabilitation therapy. Twice a week for almost a whole year he worked on my back before I headed to the Gung Fu Club. He explained to me how delicate the spine really is. That there are three stress factors that have a huge impact on our body. Everything we experience is reflected in the operation of our spine. It is the central nervous system not unlike the main breakers that control the electrical currents through a house, but in this case the power flow is going out to affect every function the body performs as well as the organs involved.
The three main stresses that affect our spine are physical, emotional, and nutritional.
Physical stress is obvious. It often occurs with the experience of an accident like falling or being impacted by some force, or tearing by lifting the wrong way, as in my case. Usually the physical injuries are the end result of prolonged stress from the other two symptoms.
Emotional stress is created by expressing negative feelings which flood our minds with unpleasant images which in turn influence our bodies to radiate with things like dread, anger, sorrow, worrying, and most common is anxiety. All of these tell the body to create natural toxins which seep through our cell structure weakening the function of our organs or the responsiveness of our digestive system. Our bodies our resilient in that whatever feeling we desire it will give us, even if some feelings are poisonous to our own well-being. I admit that I was addicted to being depressed. That dark feeling of dreadfulness fueled by anxiety was something that had me in its clutches for many long years. I had no idea the long term affect this would have on me.
Finally there is nutritional stress. I can only speak for myself on this issue because you have to come to your own conclusions on what is right for you. Wheat was killing me and I had no idea Genetically Modified Foods are basically patented death to our bodies. Soda pop everything sugary were the only things I would drink. Water was not even an option that I would consider. My whole menu was a one way trip to irritable bowel syndrome hell.
Each of these three factors was red flagged for me. It is no wonder I was such a bloody mess.
Of the four degenerative phases to the spine, mine was a phase 2 bordering on phase 3!
2003 was a transition unlike anything I had ever expected it to be. I started to study kung fu. At the same time I was learning the pros and cons of nutrition. The spinal therapy was providing some long overdue relief from the damage I had done to myself ten years earlier. This was just the beginning of a journey that would demonstrate to me a completely new and healthy way to live.
In October of 2012 I started DDPYOGA. As awesome as the martial arts has been I had no idea how important it could be to properly elongate the spine. Kung fu does not specifically target the back so this has been a revelation of discovery. After nine months I now do DDP Yoga six days a week. The opening of the joints and hips release tension and stress unlike anything I have ever experienced up to this point. Each posture is like a sigh of relief. My progress is steady and I am seeing improvement every month. I feel even better then I imagined possible. I cannot help but borrow the words of Diamond Dallas Page as my own mantra which I speak over and over again throughout my day, “Elongating my spine holds back the hands of time.” A second powerful phrase he says is, “Only you control how you react, adapt, breathe, and take action.” These words are tremendously motivating and inspirational. I am grateful for this program that Dallas has put out there for us to take advantage of and improve upon ourselves developing a greater expression of life for each of us with the desire and the determination to make change happen.
My long term goal is to be able to be healthy enough to enjoy every day no matter how old I live. I want to be able to be confidently independent in my ability to do what I want with mobility that is never fading. I want to be like the patriarchs of old of whom it is said when they passed away that they had their eyesight and all their faculties intact. What more could one ask for. I am going to live with health, strength and flexibility and be grateful for every breath because life is far too precious to be anything less. I used to take it all for granted but not anymore. So much of what I do is an attempt to demonstrate a greater expression of life. If I pass nothing more than this onto my children and those who are fortunate to cross my path than it is enough. I can fulfill my journey with a feeling of completeness because I can believe that I have done well.