‘Broga’ - the yoga for Kiwi blokes
Broga – it’s yoga but not as you know it.
Over the weekend the Petone Rugby Football Club in Lower Hutt – as part of its ongoing drive to support the community – hosted a free broga class taught by men, for men as part of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Yoga has been a key part of broga enthusiast Andrew Morrison’s well-being – boosting his self-awareness and making him more grounded, settled and relaxed.
Morrison – one of about a dozen men who turned up on Sunday – lost his father to suicide when he was just 6 years old.
Broga was part of a suite of well-being exercises that had helped him navigate a life of ups and downs, sometimes plagued by anxiety and depression, he said.
‘‘Growing up as a boy without my dad had a big impact on me.’’
The broga movement was about building a community, building relationships and ‘‘meeting other good guys. Life can be stressful so it’s nice to be able to balance and come back to the centre.’’
Broga early-adopter Murray Hemi said he wanted to get a broga class going after spending a lot of time in yoga studios filled mainly with woman.
‘‘Having women in the class is cool but it can be quite alienating for men who are new, who aren’t flexible and are struggling to bal- ance on one foot.’’
The ancient discipline lends itself to men being able to slow down, and curb their natural tendency to compete with one another.
Slowing down and connecting with other men is said to increase emotional intelligence and helps nurture better bonds between friends and whanau.
‘‘You start to relate differently, first to yourself and then to the rest of the world – yoga is an experience, you just have to let it unfold,’’ Hemi said.
With no women around to try and impress or be intimidated by, men had a safe space where they could create a fun, friendly environment Morrison said.
People’s activity increased in tandem as the spring days became longer and lighter, Hutt City Council spokeswoman Aileen Campbell said.
By running a series of physically active events linked to Mental Health Awareness Week’s ‘Nature is Key’ theme, diverse parts of the community could be drawn together and connect more people to ongoing local services and programmes which supported physical and mental wellbeing, she said.
‘‘Yoga is an experience, you just have to let it unfold.’’ Broga early adopter Murray Hemi