For most of my teen and adult life, I was a dancer. An injured dancer. Sprains, tears, pulls, you name it, I danced on it. By the time I was 25, when most people have yet to have any surgeries, I already had 2 on my left ankle (arthroscopic, and ligament reconstruction of the ATFL and CFL), as well as numerous other injuries to my psoas, hamstring and meniscus. I wore these injuries like a badge of honor, but deep down, I was angry and crushed. My body had revolted and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it. After years of self-hatred and loathing, I finally came to terms with the fact that I simply wasn't built to be a dancer and eventually stumbled into an iyengar yoga class. I studied this style of yoga for a few years, but never lost my injured dancer status, something I yearned for more than life itself.
And then about 6 months before my 30th birthday, I re-injured my psoas. Badly. To the point that I couldn't bend over without feeling a sharp stabbing pain in my lower back. I knew what tearing a psoas felt like, but this was that times 100. In fact, throughout all my injuries I never really had pain that went above say a 6 on that smiley face pain scale. This was about an 11. A trip to my physical therapist confirmed what I already knew. My psoas was a giant mess. It was coiled like snake, a remnant of the old tear. On top of that, which is more than enough to cause major back issues, I had an anteriorly rotated right ileium, a spasming right ileopsoas, a hyper mobile SI joint, lordosis, and L5/S1 dysfunction. Basically my entire core was in shambles and my angry tight psoas was pulling on my hips, causing them to randomly jut out of place.
9 months of physical therapy later, and I was “healed.” My hips no longer jutted out of place, which was a blessing in and of itself, but I lacked the core strength and flexibility needed to take most yoga classes, let alone any dance classes.
And then I saw the Arthur video on my Facebook feed. I’m pretty sure I cried profusely at that first viewing. And second viewing . And third viewing. I started researching DDP Yoga and learned it was designed by a pro wrestler named Diamond Dallas Page out of necessity to rehab his L4/L5. Finally, I thought. Finally I found something that just may remove that injured dancer label.
After talking about it for a good 6 months, my boyfriend bought me the entire DDP Yoga pack as an anniversary gift. And from that moment on, I was fully hooked. At first, I could barely hold a plank on my knees, and my 3 count pushups were more of a hold in plank than collapse into a laughing pile of mush. A simple lunge on the knee, which is the basic modification for standing lunges, proved to be my greatest nemesis, followed closely by warrior 1.
As time passed, I started noticing my overall strength and flexibility improving. A wobbly plank grew into a solid plank. Pile of mush pushups turned into controlled 3 count pushups. And lunges on the knee, which were once the most painful and inaccessible positions of all, became a welcomed stretch. As for warrior 1, well, just last week I went into it, looked back, and noticed my back heel actually went down. I’m pretty sure I did a little dance after that.
And speaking of dance, I returned to class a few months ago. It was my first class since that bad psoas injury, which happened to be with one of my very first jazz teachers. He pulled me aside after class and told me that I “still had it” The elation I felt cannot be put into words. An entire 1.5 hour hip hop class, back and core pain free. Even my surgically enhanced ankle, which had given me issues since day one, was pain free. The injured dancer label, the one I wore for about 17+ years, is finally gone. Now, one year after starting DDP YOGA, I’m simply a dancer. And thats the best gift I could have ever received. Thank you Dallas and Yoga- Doc for designing such a stellar sports injury rehab program, and thanks to everyone in team DDP YOGA for being the best support group around.