Broga: No-shame yoga for men
Feel more comfortable in a weight room than in a yoga studio? Convinced that yoga is "too New Age-y or hippie-ish" — or simply too hard? You may want to try "Broga," a type of yoga designed specifically for guys. The classes are less zen-focused than traditional yoga, and cater to men who aren't as limber as their female counterparts. "It's okay if you can't touch your toes," the Broga website reads. Here, a guide to the latest exercise trend:
Why do men need their own yoga?
"I was seeing a lot of male friends and family in their mid-30s suffering and not knowing what to do about it," co-founder Robert Sidoti tells Yahoo. Their bodies were worn down by stress, aging, and abuse from hard-contact sports, but they weren't game to participate in traditional yoga classes. Yoga was first developed in India by men and for men, but it's still often viewed as a "chick thing" in the U.S. Aside from its reputation as "not macho enough," says Cari Nierenberg at MSNBC, yoga can also be embarrassing for "downward facing dudes" who see women touching their noses to their knees while the men can barely reach their toes.
How is Broga different from regular yoga?
Men generally "have cement shoulders or really tight hips," Sidoti says, and they may not be able to perform the more challenging poses. Broga combines traditional yoga postures with strength-training exercises and calisthenics, like push-ups. Also different: "Talk of chakras is kept to a minimum," says Dave McGinn at Canada's Globe and Mail. Classes use "familiar language" instead of Sanskrit. The musical accompaniment is also more like "what you might expect to hear in a garage" instead of a yoga studio: The Black Keys, Radiohead, and Bob Dylan. The instructors are "more like a buddy giving you pointers" than a traditional zen master, Sidoti says.
Is it a serious workout?
"This is not a dumbed-down version of yoga," Sidoti insists. "People see the name 'Broga' and they think it's just a bunch of idiots. But there's integrity." Other yoga professionals agree that man-centric yoga is a smart idea. "Men often bring a competitiveness, an intensity... to their yoga practice," says Omega Institute yoga instructor Matt Carpenter.
Are women allowed?
Broga classes are open to all, but they are definitely "geared for guys," says co-founder Adam O'Neill. Women who attend often end up enjoying the experience, says Sidoti. "It's less of a scene. They come in their sweat pants and do their thing."
Where are these Broga classes?
For now, Broga — as created by Sidoti and O'Neill — is only offered in Somerville and Martha's Vineyard, Mass. But the duo has plans to grow the brand, with instructor training certification, online classes, and DVDs.