When it comes to cross-training for runners, the benefits of yoga are many and widely discussed. Social and cultural conditioning, however, often stops men from taking up this ancient regimen for the body and mind; some find it too ‘flowy’ or slow, others are not too keen on the chanting and breathing techniques that form a part of it. This is possibly the reason why yoga studios boast a stronger female following, while the weights corner in a gym is crowded with men awaiting their turn.
In 2009, Massachusetts-based yoga instructor and personal trainer Robert Sidoti decided it was high time to introduce men to the benefits of yoga, and so, he created ‘Broga’. According to the official website, Broga combines the best core-strengthening, muscle-toning, cardio-working, stress-reducing, clarity-enhancing yoga postures with functional fitness exercises for an amazing workout. Essentially, the Broga workout emphasizes on the physical and strength training aspects of yoga, without the focus on spiritual development. “It’s not so much about feeling your heart center as feeling the stretch across your chest,” Sidoti said in an interview with Reuters.
The benefits of doing Broga are pretty much the same, at least physically, as those from yoga. It enhances flexibility, strength, stamina, concentration, endurance, and athletic performance. It speeds up recovery – an important advantage for runners – and also improves range of balance, motion and mobility. A typical Broga class is a lot like power yoga, with certain modifications focusing on strength training and muscle development.
That’s not to say that Broga is an exclusively male-dominated fitness routine. While it may be designed for the typical man looking for power and intensity in his workouts, it can appeal to anyone who wants a sportier version of yoga without a focus on stretches and Sanskrit tongue-twisters. Lucy Fry from The Telegraph tried her hand at the UK-version of Broga, founded by Matt Miller, a former professional American football player, in 2012, and was pleased to find that it wasn’t the “explicitly sexist affair” she was expecting. Women are more than welcome in the class, she says, which turned out to be a “fantastic and supremely challenging all-body workout”.
If you’re a man on the sidelines hesitant about taking up that yoga class, why not give Broga a shot? While the movement hasn’t quite taken off in India (we did invent the original thing, after all), you can get started with training videos from the official Broga YouTube channel.
Main Image: flmtraining.co.uk