BROGA WITH YOUR MAN

A yoga class that both you and your part­ner will want to at­tend again… and again.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

How many times have you walked into a yoga class that’s dom­i­nated by fe­males, with a few men clus­tered in a cor­ner? The ben­e­fits of yoga ex­tend to ev­ery­one, whether you’ve got balls or boobs.

For one thing, it’s a great form of body­weight train­ing, and also im­proves body aware­ness as you move through poses with your breath.

Sadly, yoga is of­ten por­trayed as be­ing about back­bends, hand­stands, arm bal­ances and splits, alien­at­ing those with­out a strong core or flex­i­ble limbs. Search #yoga on In­sta­gram and you’ll get the idea.

No won­der men – mostly stiff ev­ery­where – shy away from yoga stu­dios, pre­fer­ring to lift weights at the gym.

With Broga, though, the tide is about to turn. Bro-what? An amal­ga­ma­tion of “bro” and “yoga”, Broga was cre­ated and co-founded by Robert Si­doti in 2009 to en­cour­age more men to take up yoga.

“Yoga is widely seen as a fem­i­nine sport for those who are flex­i­ble. How it’s be­ing of­fered isn’t su­per-ap­peal­ing to the men I know. Ev­ery guy thinks: ‘I can’t go to yoga, be­cause I can’t touch my toes,’” he says.

With that in mind, Robert de­signed a fit­ness rou­tine that in­cor­po­rates fun­da­men­tal yoga poses, func­tional train­ing as well as high-in­ten­sity interval train­ing, and coined it Broga Yoga.

Since then, Broga Yoga has taken off, with just as many women sign­ing up for classes as men.

“Broga is like a bridge to yoga. Many stu­dents like it be­cause it’s so straight­for­ward and non-ab­stract. It gives them the con­fi­dence to en­ter a mind-body

stu­dio even­tu­ally. Some of my stu­dents have gone from ‘Uh-uh, yoga is not for me’ to be­com­ing full-time yoga teach­ers,” he says.

The trade­marked Broga Yoga is of­fered at Vir­gin Ac­tive gyms in Sin­ga­pore.

Here’s why you should sign up for it, with your part­ner, of course.

1 BROGA IS SU­PER-NONINTIMIDATING.

For­get bind­ing yoga poses that look like body con­tor­tion. In Broga, you will be able to do ev­ery move from start to end. Robert says: “Stu­dents come in know­ing that they are build­ing strength and flex­i­bil­ity through very ac­ces­si­ble pos­tures. In Broga, they will be able to do ev­ery­thing. There’s no need to take a break un­til the next doable pose comes.”

The ses­sion kicks off with a few min­utes of mind­ful breath­ing, just like in any yoga class. You’ll then do a cou­ple of ba­sic Hatha poses like for­ward fold, plank and down­ward dog, be­fore pro­gress­ing to a faster se­quence with more body-weight ex­er­cises like lunges and squats. Sim­ple bal­anc­ing poses like tree and war­rior 3 are in­cluded, fol­lowed by gen­tle cool-down ex­er­cises.

2 BROGA IS A LE­GIT WORK­OUT.

There are peo­ple who equate sweat with an ef­fec­tive work­out. Not all yoga ses­sions will re­sult in sweat, but Broga will.

Af­ter warm­ing up, you’ll do a se­ries of poses in a flow, sim­i­lar to Vinyasa yoga. High-in­ten­sity interval train­ing ex­er­cises are done at the halfway mark, so you’ll be jump­ing, squat­ting and do­ing burpees, just like in a HIIT class. This seg­ment is not long enough to wear you out, but you will def­i­nitely break a sweat. Robert es­ti­mates that each hour-long class burns up to 500 calo­ries, depend­ing on how hard you push your­self.

3 BROGA MOVES ARE TAUGHT IN SIM­PLE LAN­GUAGE.

The in­struc­tions are de­liv­ered straight­for­wardly in English. For in­stance, you will be asked to do push-ups in­stead of chat­u­ran­gas, and a chair pose in­stead of utkatasana, the San­skrit name. You will not be asked to “open your heart” but to “stretch your chest” in­stead.

The ben­e­fits of each move are stated, like “This is go­ing to strengthen your core, back and thighs” to mo­ti­vate you. There’s not even a “Na­maste” at the start or end of the class. No spir­i­tual con­no­ta­tions, noth­ing to de­code.

4 BROGA IS NOT JUST ABOUT YOGA.

There’s a part on func­tional train­ing, too, through ex­er­cises that in­volve push­ing, press­ing, squat­ting, ro­tat­ing and bend­ing. These im­prove your mo­bil­ity that’s es­sen­tial for daily move­ment.

5 BROGA CAN BE AS TOUGH OR AS SIM­PLE YOU LIKE.

For ev­ery move, the in­struc­tor will show at least three lev­els of pro­gres­sion, from the eas­i­est to the hard­est, so there’s some­thing to chal­lenge you. Es­sen­tially, broga is a multi-level class, so any­one from a fit­ness new­bie to a sea­soned yogi can take part with­out feel­ing out of place.

The Broga class ends with stretches any­one can do.

Writer Estelle and her hus­band Gavin with the cre­ator of Broga, Robert Si­dotti (mid­dle).

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