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Review of "Yoga for Regular Guys"

By Diamond Dallas Page
Quirk Books, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Dec 5th 2006
Yoga for Regular Guys

Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) is a world champion professional wrestler who has also appeared in some TV shows and movies.  His main message, as stated on the back cover, is that yoga is not just for women and scrawny new-age girly men.  He explains that yoga is an excellent workout that will enhance flexibility, and will also provide men a great way to meet attractive and fit women.  He provides his own approach, which he calls Yoga for Regular Guys (YRG).  There's a one page introduction by heavy metal rock star Rob Zombie, saying that once he overcame his initial skepticism, he tried YRG and found that it works. Most of the book consists of instructions for different workouts of 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes.  There are sections at the end for working on particular parts of the body, such as the back or the hips, on maintaining health, and eating well -- he recommends organic juicing! 

The yoga workouts are from introductory to intermediate levels.  They use sun salutations and standing workouts, but no shoulder stands or other inversions.  The workouts are illustrated with a different person in each pose, with the poses numbered. On a double page, there are 8 poses, and the poses go from left to right along the top row on both pages, and then along the bottom row on both pages.  There's a short instruction along with each photograph.  The people doing the poses are both men and women, and they wear all sorts of different clothes, from a skimpy top and tight underwear worn by Gypsy, a professional dancer, to a loose t-shirt and green pants work by Marlon Ransom, a trainer.  The pictures are quite small, and there's not a great deal of information given with them, so it might be hard to get the postures exactly right: working out the best position for the feet, for example, can be confusing.  On the other hand, you do get to see different people doing the same poses, and you get to see the same poses from different angles, so you can get a fair amount of detail from the pictures. 

The biggest difficulty in using any book for a yoga workout is that it is not always convenient turning the pages to see what comes next.  For example, if you are doing the three-legged dog, which is a form of downward dog with one leg extended high behind you, it isn't so easy to lift a hand up to turn the page to see that next you have to move to a runner's lunge.  After going through the practices a few times, the transitions will be familiar, and you can go through the postures until there comes a convenient point to turn the page.  A problem with this particular book is the way it specifies the 30-minute and 45-minute workouts.  The 20-minute workout consists of 11 sections, with names like "Touchdowns and Side Bends," and "Raining Cats, Dogs, and Cobras."  The 30-minute workout adds one new section and replaces another, but to follow it, you have to go back to the 20-minute workout, the switch forward to the added sections, and then switch back to the original 20-minute workout.  There's similar problems with the setting out of the 45-minute workout.  This makes it much more difficult to smoothly do the workout.  Even in the "at a glance" pages at the end, which set out the different workouts, the whole 30- and 45-minutes workouts are not shown as a whole, but just as add-ons to the 20-minute workouts.  This is a serious flaw for a book that is meant to make yoga more approachable to regular guys -- they are not going to want to be flipping pages backward and forwards in the middle of a sweaty workout. 

The basic idea of YRG is good: it's true that most men are rather wary about yoga, and most yoga classes have far more women than men.  Most yoga DVDs seem to be aimed more at women than men.  Now yoga is clearly becoming more popular and accepted, and men are starting to see the advantages it brings.  Yoga for Regular Guys may help open some men's minds to ways to heal the mind and body together.  However, it is far easier to follow a yoga DVD than it is to follow a book, especially when it comes to coordinating the breathing in and out with the movements, and sophisticated DVDs like Shiva Rea's Yoga Shakti give much more flexibility in creating workouts that books do.  (Shiva Rea is also far more attractive than DDP and most of his friends.)  Probably some people will be put off by the Eastern-flavored music and foreign names for postures that someone like Rea uses, so it's worth noting that now DDP is selling his own yoga DVDs through his website and he recommends the Brian Kest PowerYoga DVDs.  It might be worth using the book along with a DVD so a beginner can get used to the idea of a yoga flow and take a good look at the different poses in the book, and then follow along to flows in real time. 

 

Link: http://www.diamonddallaspage.com/

 

 

© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.

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