‘Broga’ links men to men­tal health

Upper Hutt Leader - - CONVERSATIONS - MATT STE­WART

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 well­be­ing – 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 well­be­ing 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 bal­ance 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.

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 where you ‘‘can learn how to be a be­gin­ner, make friends and be your­self,’’ 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 events linked to Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week, di­verse parts of the com­mu­nity could be drawn to­gether and con­nect more peo­ple to ser­vices and pro­grammes which sup­ported phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing, she said.

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