My story starts with obesity and a poor self image since childhood.. I had NEVER been active or athletic in any way. In my early teens, I began going to metal shows and participating in mosh pits. What I thought were sprained knees quickly proved to be lasting injuries. My right knee felt as if it would "pop out of place" and the left one just plain hurt. The pain was immense and the swelling lasted several days after feeling that "popping out" sensation. This could happen anytime I tried to walk on an unlevel surface, pivoted on my heel, stepped in a hole or stood up without being incredibly careful. But my pain was not limited to my knees. I never understood my constantly hunched posture that had become natural to me. My back pain was off the charts some days and I wouldn't leave my bed. After dedicating a period of time to researching spine conditions, it became obvious to me that my particular ailment was thoracic kyphosis (exaggerated outward curve at the top of the spine) compounded with lumbar lordosis (exaggerated inward curve at the bottom of the spine, This is usually the result of an anterior pelvic tilt which is caused by tight hip flexors from inactivity. X-Rays later revealed a moderate case of scoliosis as well. I couldn't do anything I wanted to do effectively.
I played in a number of metal bands on and off as my health and pain levels would allow. While my band mates were hanging from rafters, running in place, and playing in a power stance spinning their hair, I was standing still (sometimes with a crutch.) At the largest show I ever played, I walked up the stairs to the stage with a cane. This of course did wonders for my confidence which couldn't have been more absent at the time. Upon reaching adulthood, I was in a very serious car accident. The car went up in the air and smashed into a tree. The airbag hit me directly in the knees and I was propelled forward into the dash. Of course my knees took the impact. We hit the tree so hard the impact broke my tail bone. I had to have an MRI on my knees. The feeling of dread when I thought about seeing how extensive the injuries actually were became a new source of stress and depression. My ACLS were completely split and I underwent arthroscopic graft replacement and menisectemy on both legs. After the surgeries, I spent more time than ever sitting down. My back couldn't handle the relatively easy rehab and I gave up without thinking about it too much. I became fused to a recliner which made my anterior pelvic tilt worse and caused my back pain to become unmanageable.
From age 20 to 24, I was slavishly dependent on illegally obtained opiates and painkillers. I drank alcohol to cope as well. When I reached out to a sports injury doctor, she told me "Your knees are always gonna be for shit" and told me to apply for disability since I was unable to work consistently. At my lowest point, life seemed completely off limits to me and I was sick of living. I had always struggled with depression but I had reached a new level of hopelessness. After a year or so of severe depression, atrophic legs, drug abuse, and and immense pain as my constant companion, I decided that trying to get fit couldn't hurt much more than existing in my current state. Life HAD to get better or I was going to "opt out." I started using and recumbent exercycle and lifting weights but ended up hurt many times because of my limitations. Months of this yielded zero noticeable results. I was just more rigid but with sore muscles. I have never been a fan of wrestling. However, my closest friend who had witnessed my struggles and saw that I was making an effort to change told me that his favorite wrestler had a yoga program. He said that it was rebuilding celebrities' bodies from the ground up. He started showing me before and after photos and the results were incredible to me. Not because of the weight loss, but because of the clear difference in curvature of the people in the pictures' spines. I was looking at posture not pounds lost. This led me to Arthor Boorman's famous video. This was the first time I'd seen DDP's face even though I'd heard the name a million times. I saw that his concern for those in poor health was authentic and that his program was built around rehabilitation. I started slow in August of 2013.
As of January 1st 2014, I had improved my pain levels immensely and lost about 5 pounds. I was out participating in life which was a good trade off for the small amount of time I'd invested. I was watching Elliot Hulse's strength camp channel on youtube looking for motivation and he said something profound. He said that the ferocity with which you approach training and becoming the strongest version of yourself reaches out to every aspect of your life and influences results in different areas. This struck a chord in me and I decided to get serious. I cut off all other options and took everything I could from the entire YRG program including diet and the "living life at 90% philosophy. I began the advanced program and made no excuses. I was exercising daily without injuring myself. As a high school drop out with a fear of car accidents, I felt the confidence I had built from doing YRG seep into other areas of my life very quickly. After acquiring my GED and my driver's license, I enrolled as a freshman in Dalton State University and currently maintain a 3.8 GPA. This is no coincidence and is harmoniously connected to perusing fitness and health. From a size 36 waist, I now wear a size 30. The satisfaction I feel when I'm looking for a size small when shopping for shirts never gets old. I've lost roughly 60 pounds and cut out any "food" that doesn't fill me with vitality. I am proudly addiction free. This WOULD NOT have happened if I hadn't began YRG and stuck with it. In my small town, I'm almost treated as a newcomer. Nobody recognizes me. Nobody remembers the broken down obese me that couldn't hold down a job and walked with a limp.
I will continue a rotation Double Black Diamond and Diamond Cutter 6 days a week until I've mastered them both entirely. I will then graduate to DDP YOGA Extreme and see what it has in store for me. I do not avoid my workouts or make excuses not to do them. Its the highlight of my day. I notice a huge difference in how I feel on days that circumstance prevents me from doing YRG. I do not take prolonged breaks from the program. It makes me feel what I've been trying to feel for all of my adult life and I have no intentions of ever stopping. I'm also tossing around the idea of becoming a certified instructor when I inevitably reach the next level of fitness but I'll cross that bridge when I get there. :)