Lifestyle feature: Wrestling inspires yoga fitness craze

Haydn Walden shows off his DDPYoga moves
Haydn Walden shows off his DDPYoga moves

A series of dynamic hybrid yoga classes, which can aid weight loss and rehabilitate injuries, is taking the local fitness scene by storm.

Created in America by three-time WCW World Heavyweight champion Diamond Dallas Page, the workout made quite an impact on Bognor Regis’ Haydn Walden.

He made it his goal to bring the fitness programme to this country, qualifying as the UK’s first DDPYoga instructor.

Haydn has always enjoyed a challenge.

Being diagnosed with dyspraxia at six and suffering with hyper-mobility didn’t hold him back.

Throughout his childhood he tried to play popular sports like other children, but was bullied because he couldn’t run properly or catch a ball.

“Sport became my nemesis” said Haydn.

“It was watching WWE and WCW wrestling which was the escapism for me.

“I loved it and I longed to look like those athletes.”

Time to heal

Aged eight, Haydn discovered drumming.

Despite being told he shouldn’t be able to play the drums, he applied an ‘I can do anything if I work at it’ attitude and, before long, it became his career.

In his 20s he was on the road touring as a successful drummer, but suffered with considerable knee pain.

Diagnosed with under-developed quadriceps, he was treated with electro stimulation and strength-building exercises and decided to get fitter and healthier.

The next ten years were spent joining several gyms, practising Muay Thai boxing and lifting weights, still inspired by WWE and WCW wrestling.

Sadly, a few years later, a series of fitness setbacks struck Haydn.

Sustaining two bad kicks to his right leg and ankle in a Muay Thai class put an end to his martial arts training.

Taking time off to heal meant his weight increased and allowed old injuries to fester.

At Christmas 2012, Haydn was at his lowest ebb.

Weighing 16st, he knew something had to change.

Chris Jericho

Still an avid wrestling fan, he watched the 2013 Royal Rumble with amazement as Chris Jericho returned from touring the world with his band Fozzy and wrestled for more than 40 minutes.

“I was intrigued at how he had stayed in that shape on the road,” said Haydn.

“Many people asked him the same question over Twitter. His simple response was ‘DDPYoga’.

“When I researched, it blew me away.”

Following the DDPYoga programme guide, Haydn transformed his bad eating habits and began training four to seven times a week.

Each new workout brought a new challenge, pushing his mind and body to the limit.

From a basic lunge to the standing split, he struggled to stand on one leg, while holding the other one in the air behind him, even with both hands on the ground.

Applying the ‘I can do anything if I work at it’ attitude once again, Haydn soon began to recognise the improvement in his performance, flexibility, core strength and fitness.

He can now hold a standing split with both hands wrapped around his ankle.

Diamond Dallas Page

In June, 2013, Haydn met with Diamond Dallas Page at a workshop in the UK.

Dallas was so impressed with Haydn’s dedication and training, he asked if he would like to teach DDPYoga.

His intensive training started in August last year and by December he was the first certified DDPYoga instructor in the UK.

Combining traditional fitness, sports therapy, yoga and dynamic resistance, DDPYoga improves muscular strength, increases flexibility and strengthens the core with minimal joint impact.

With Haydn now running weekly classes in Bognor, Chichester and Fareham demand continues to grow.

“My DDPYoga classes are a fun and entertaining way to burn fat, rehabilitate injuries and start owning your life again,” said Haydn.

“It is for everybody – men, women and children.”

Popular with professional American football players, wrestlers and MMA fighters, Dallas originally developed the DDPYoga programme, for athletes like himself, suffering years of injuries due to high-impact sports.

For the first 42 years of his life, Dallas was someone who ‘wouldn’t be caught dead’ doing yoga.

However, when he ruptured his L4 and L5 discs during the height of his professional wrestling career, he was desperate to keep his childhood dream alive and tried yoga for the first time.

He quickly started mixing parts of yoga with his rehabilitation and traditional workout principles.

Almost a decade later, he has refined his workout and now teaches others, as Haydn now does at his local classes.

“Along the way, I’ve seen how very unconditioned men and women can do DDPYoga,” said Haydn.

“It’s great for increasing flexibility and mobility and weight loss just happens to be a really awesome side effect, too.

“Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.”


To find out more, email or call Haydn on 07824 901665.

The first class is free of charge.