Men who want the benefits of yoga but are ashamed of sharing their experience with women are turning to “Broga” — a rugged version of the 3,000-year old practice of breathing and movement.
Broga is an exercise that focuses more on physical rather than spiritual, as well as strength rather than flexibility. According to experts, it helps men flex their tight hamstrings eliminating the practice of hearing invocations for Hindu deities or feeling incompetent next to a very flexible woman.
Eric Wright, 22 years old, a financial analyst from San Jose, California, said, “I consider myself an athletic guy, but have never been flexible and didn’t like the thought of embarrassing myself in front of a group of women.”
Wright, along with his colleagues, utilizes Grokker, a video streaming service, in order to practice Broga.
“On Wednesdays we have a standing Broga appointment and anywhere from 5 to 8 others will join me,” Wright said.
According to the founder and CEO of Grokker, Lorna Borenstein, there are more men who are including yoga, the best pre-workout for 2015, to their workout routines as a cross-training tool to be more flexible and improve their recovery time.
“Men are a little late to the party, but we’re seeing more men in the workplace who find time to do yoga together a few times a week,” said Lorna.
Robert Sidoti, a yoga instructor from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, created and co-founded the Broga Yoga which trained about 299 Broga instructors in approximately 22 states in the US. He was able to teach the first Broga class in 2009.
Sidoti said, “A lot of guys were saying ‘I can’t touch my knees, let alone my toes. I would never go to a mostly women class and do things I’m not good at.’”
According to him, they rarely get into poses which require them to do deep forward bending, binding, and twisting. In fact, they actually incorporate a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sequence into yoga.
Brogan, like yoga, is actually also driven anatomically.
Sidoti said, “It’s not so much about feeling your heart center as feeling the stretch across your chest.”
According to the senior adviser for health and fitness education at the American Council on Exercise, Jessica Mathews, men think that yoga is a workout more than a spiritual practice.
Matthews, who is a yoga teacher as well, said, “They celebrate the physical.”
“Four months ago, I couldn’t touch my toes and today I can almost reach my palms to the ground,” says wright when asked about how yoga affected his flexibility.