I was groaning while reading Boston.com’s feature on “Broga,” yoga geared toward bros (although women are welcome … GEE THANKS!). “This is not a dumbed down version of yoga. There’s a lot of movement linking the postures, but adding push-ups and variations of squats. People see the name ‘Broga’ and they think it’s just a bunch of idiots. But there’s integrity,” explained “Brogi” and co-creator of the Broga movement, Robert Sidoti.
“Broga offers a much more palatable introduction to yoga at a much more familiar level. There aren’t a lot of esoteric yoga terms that are used,’’ added Adam O’Neill, Sidoti’s Broga partner. “I was thinking ‘Why isn’t yoga more attractive to guys? Why isn’t there a program that’s guy-oriented?’ The issue is that yoga has primarily been marketed to middle-age housewives.”
You get the idea. Yoga is too female-centric and therefore not palatable to men. So, these bros want to make men less “self conscious walking into a room filled with women who are all dressed perfectly in Lululemon” and get more of them in the door. They want to dial down the off-putting OMing and amp up the squats.
As a person who has been doing yoga for more than 15 years, I can safely say a few things about the practice:
The “esoteric yoga terms” that O’Neil refers to are what the actual practice is about. Going through the postures is meant to prepare one’s mind for meditation, not one’s pecs for the beach. Yoga is not about doing more squats and pushups — don’t we have enough guy-oriented workouts focused on that? — it’s about training the mind, breath and body.
And the main thing you need to do to work toward training the mind,breath and body is to check your ego at the door. Meaning, that the most important part of becoming a “yogi” is that you show up even though you are resistant, self-conscious, inflexible and maybe don’t have the right Lululemon pants (although they make those for guys as well). You show up and fumble through your first chanting session and your first Sun Salutation series and crinkle your nose in confusion when the teacher says, adho mukha shvanasana. And then, even though you might have bombed your first yoga class, you learn that there is no such thing as bombing in yoga and you humble yourself and decide you’re not going to worry about looking ridiculous or being the best in the class and keep showing up and learn what adho mukha shvanasana and how to do it. You keep on getting better at it for the rest of your life. And if you do that, your quads will look killer, but not because you’re trying to make them look killer, but because you kept showing up.
The problem isn’t that yoga is marketed to “middle-age housewives” (I won’t even go into how offensive I find that statement), the problem is that there aren’t as many men who are willing to check their egos at the door and forget about doing squats and pushups for 90 minutes and go inside themselves. Although, I will say that based on my own yoga experiences, there are plenty of men who are. And even if the percentages (I don’t know exactly what they are), skew more toward a female yoga population, that doesn’t mean that something needs to be done to get bros in the door.
Broga? Just get over yourself and take a yoga class, dude. [Boston]