Combining fitness exercises with yoga poses, Broga is a type of yoga class targeted at men. Ideal for those who are hesitant to join a female-dominated class, Broga classes allow men to practice yoga amongst other males. As the classes are designed for men, they include yoga poses that meet the specific needs of the male body. While the classes include an element of spiritual balance, they focus primarily on core-strengthening, muscle toning, and cardio exercises. Some classes even include high-intensity interval training – ideal for those looking to improve their fitness levels. Most Broga classes are equipped with yoga gear, so all you need is a light-weight yoga t-shirt and some comfortable shorts. In this article, we explore Broga in more detail.
Broga was founded in 2009 by sports enthusiast, Adam O’Neill. Growing up, Adam’s mother was a yoga teacher. As he grew older, his mother recommended that he should incorporate yoga into his sports training; however, he refrained from doing so because he was worried about the repercussions it would have on his social status. Back then, yoga was seen as being a feminine practice – especially amongst teenage boys.
It wasn’t until Adam injured his back that his perspective changed. After his injury, he began to develop sciatica and underwent months of physical therapy to treat the issue. Near the end of his treatment, he realised that many of the rehabilitation exercises were similar to yoga. It was at this moment that Adam realised there was a gap in the market for male-targeted yoga classes. After rehabilitating his back, Adam pitched the idea to his friend, Robert Sidoti, a yoga instructor and personal trainer. With Roberts yoga knowledge and Adams passion for fitness, the pair decided to go into business together. A few months later, the first Broga class was launched in Boston. After receiving plenty of positive feedback, the business partners expanded their brand. Today, Broga classes can be found all over the world.
While traditional yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit, Broga focusses on the physical body. First and foremost, the practice is a strength workout with an element of cardio. However, as the classes include traditional asanas, they have many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, too.
A Broga class will usually start with floor stretches to warm up the muscles. Next, students will move onto cardio exercises or high-intensity interval training. The class will then finish with male-targeted asanas such as Bridge Pose, Reclining Big Toe Pose, and Forward Fold. To keep the class motivated, popular music is often played. While traditional yoga classes use classical music, Broga classes use rock or indie, depending on the student’s preference.
Though Broga classes are targeted at men, women are more than welcome to attend. On average, around 50 percent of Broga instructors are female, and classes usually have a 70:30 man-to-woman ratio. Although the chosen postures are great for the male body, they can be beneficial for women, too.
It’s not uncommon for men to experience tight muscles in the torso. Thankfully, Bridge Pose opens up this area to release tension. To practice the asana, start by laying on your back. Next, bend your knees while keeping the soles of your feet on the floor. Allow your arms to drop down to the sides of your body. Finally, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your buttocks and back off the ground to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Working to relieve tension throughout the body, Reclining Big Toe Pose helps to balance the nervous system. To practice the asana, start by lying flat on your back. Keeping the soles of your feet on the ground, slowly bend both knees. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and begin to draw your knee towards your chest. If it helps, you can use your hands to draw your knee in. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Finally, use your fingers to grip the toes of your right foot and straighten the leg. If your leg doesn’t straighten completely – don’t worry! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the asana is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Stretching the calves, hamstrings, and torso, Forward Fold Pose is another great posture for men. For those with a busy lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for tension to accumulate in the back, neck, and shoulders. If this tension goes untreated, it can cause a variety of issues including headaches, poor circulation, and even sleep problems. Practising Forward Fold pose can combat tension before it affects the body.
To practice the pose, stand tall with your feet in-line with your hips. Next, bend at the waist and begin to lower your upper body toward the floor. To ensure pressure on the lower back is minimised, try to keep your knees bent throughout the pose. Next, take hold of your ankles and let your body hang naturally toward the floor. You are in Forward Fold Pose. Hold the posture for 1 minute whilst breathing deeply.
Whether you’re hoping to improve your fitness levels or tone up for summer, practising Broga regularly can help you to achieve your goal. Before attending a local class, it’s worth picking up some men’s yoga clothes. As the classes vigorous and intense, it’s important to keep the body cool. Wearing a light-weight yoga top will allow the body to oxygenate sufficiently – even during high-intensity interval training.