By Dorene Internicola
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - A new hybrid form of yoga that blends calisthenics and rehabilitation techniques is gaining popularity across the United States with its brawnier path to fitness.
Fitness experts say DDP Yoga may lack the relaxation benefits of a more traditional yoga practice, but it can be a well-balanced and effective exercise workout.
Shirley Archer, an American Council on Exercise spokesperson, said DDP Yoga features traditional yoga postures in a non-traditional format.
"The style is oriented toward a fighter's workout," said the Singer Island, Florida-based fitness and wellness expert.
The program incorporates all aspects of fitness-cardio training, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and balance but it does not include the meditative or relaxation benefits of traditional yoga.
"If you do not include the meditative aspect of yoga," Archer said, "the benefit of balancing the nervous system and encouraging restoration is lost."
Professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page said he developed DDP for people who wouldn't be caught dead doing the traditional mind-body practice.
"At the end of 1999 I blew out my back," said Page, a three-time World Championship Wrestling (WCW) World Champion. "My wife suggested yoga and I thought, 'That's for girls.' But I tried it and was blown away by how much it helped me."
DDP Yoga mixes traditional yoga postures with what Page calls "rehab stuff and old-school calisthenics." In mid-class he will drop down for a set of pushups in a boot camp-like setting.
The postures are similar to those found in all yoga classes but Page jettisoned their Sanskrit names and beefed up their English equivalents.
In DDP Yoga the crescent pose, a back-bending lunge, is re-named superstar. Mountain, or standing pose, is called touchdown and child's pose is re-dubbed safety zone.
A warrior pose becomes road warrior and packs a martial arts punch.
"It's a difference in tone and attitude," said Page, who has been doing workshops across the United States and will bring DDP Yoga to Scotland in June. He has also taken it to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Terri Lange, a 61-year-old retired nurse, practices both traditional yoga and DDP Yoga.
"I love the flexibility yoga gives me. I think that's the fountain of youth," said Lange, who is based in Woodstock, Georgia.
But she said she likes DDP Yoga for the cardio punch it adds to her practice.
"Traditional yoga is quieter. DDP Yoga is shouted commands and working with force," she said.
Archer believes if DDP Yoga attracts men who would not otherwise be active, then that is a big bonus.
"Since this program does not have a spiritual component, it is attractive to people who may not be interested in more traditional yoga," she said.
Lange said the different feel of DDP Yoga attracts a lot of men disinclined "to walk into a yoga studio in tights."
"It's an aggressive way to do this," she said. (Editing by Patricia Reaney)