Fitness expert Rannoch Donald shares the inspiring story of a Gulf War Veteran who was just waiting to die… Until an unexpected teacher inspired him to keep fighting for his fitness—and his life.
Amidst the clips of cute animals and embarrassing pratfalls there is a genuinely inspiring viral clip that has been doing the rounds. “Never Give Up” on YouTube features Arthur Boorman, a Gulf war veteran whose injuries had left him disabled, standing at 297 lbs, supported by a back brace, leg braces and walked with canes. Boorman was, in his own words, “waiting for death”.
The answer to his pain and suffering came in the unlikely form of 56-year-old retired professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. Page, no stranger to injury himself, after rupturing his L4/L5 discs, was looking at retirement. Page’s wife Kimberley, a power yoga advocate, encouraged him to join in her daily sessions and after initial protests he worked his way back to fighting health.
The Diamond Cutter did not stop there. He took his hybridised Yoga, swapping Namaste for T&A, ditching all the spiritual trappings, and created “Yoga for Regular Guys”. Referring to himself as the Black Sheep of Yoga, DDP has been an easy target for yoga purists but I can think of few people who have made the physical pursuit of yoga more accessible. Watch him with the troops in the documentary YYoga and you quickly realise how much yoga changed his life and his need to share that.
Boorman catalogued his journey back to health with the help of his son, filming his first tentative sessions, falling over, struggling cane in hand for support. Ten months later and 140 lbs lighter we watch as Boorman goes from a walk to sprint. It is a truly remarkable transformation, made all the more so by the fact that Boorman did this all himself by simply, following Diamond Dallas Page’s Yoga for Regular Guys DVDs. No personal trainer, no gym membership, no monthly subscriptions, or funky training tools. Just application rather than analysis.
Really? Can it be that simple? What is it about Arthur’s story and transformation that is so affecting? There was no cash prize, no Ferrari to win, no Caribbean Cruise or Product endorsement deal. Perhaps if anything, it is Arthur’s sheer will against the most awful odds, despite the pain, despite the weight, despite the grim prognosis of those who were tasked to help. It hints to us the possibility of radical change, wherever we are.
I have the YRG DVDs, and I can tell you the workouts themselves are challenging. Page has made sure to offer all the progressions and regressions a newbie might need, with a yoga mat, a heart rate monitor and a little onscreen encouragement from a former professional wrestler doing his own version of yoga, turning surya namaskara into his very own “Diamond Cutter” and encouraging you to work along with shouts of “Touch Down!”
Movement matters. It is the foundation of everything we want to achieve in the physical realm. Boorman faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, one which doctors and therapists had failed to address, took on the personal challenge, no longer abdicating his rehabilitation to the powers that be. He hunkered down, prepared to fall at every turn and stick with the journey.
Today, you will be assailed with methods old and new, quick fixes, bullet pointed lists and before and after pictures. What is it that makes Arthur Boorman’s transformation so miraculous? I can tell you its no secret. He dedicated himself to the process. One pose, one workout and one day at a time. This is how health becomes part of the fabric of our lives. Touchdown!