One of the many surprises that the Big Fat Survey brought up was the different forms of activity that men were interested in getting involved in. We didn’t think that yoga would get much of a look-in, but more than 13% of you were interested in getting your downward-facing dog on, so when we had the chance to do some Broga, we got Steve Morrison to dust off his stretch pants and get down there…
Mention yoga and most men will look at you funny and utter one or more of the following reasons why they don’t do it or don’t want to do it.
- They are not flexible enough. This neatly ignores the fact that if ever there was a reason to do yoga, this would probably be it, but more on this later.
- It is full of extremely flexible women in lycra. Again, all I am seeing is another compelling reason for more men to go (don’t tell my girlfriend).
- It is full of earthy, tree-hugging, Chakra-chanting and candle-burning nonsense. Ok, I get this one.
As a proud mouth breather and someone who struggles to find the inner circle of the Glasgow Underground, never mind find inner-peace, I have always found yoga off-putting. Possibly, this is down to not meditating enough or ever being able to sit still, but I can relax when I am sleeping. If I am in a gym or studio I am looking to sweat and to feel like I am working out.
As a runner, an Amazing Loser and a try athlete, I know the importance of stretching my muscles and improving my flexibility to both improve my performance and reduce injury. In the past, I have tried Bikram yoga (the one done in an oven) and I did enjoy it, but I couldn’t afford a second mortgage to keep up with the cost of classes and sadly put my mat away.
So when my pals at the SFN Expo who I’m an Ambassador for, invited me along to the wonderful studios of Chi & Co to try Broga, their yoga for men class, I brought my mat out of retirement and met Matt Miller, who had brought Broga to these shores, from the USA.
Broga is Yoga for Bros, although as many women do it as men. Each session focuses on specific areas of the body and breaks down each posture into terms that the average bloke can understand. And understand this, you will discover that it is tough. The Dirty Dog had me panting for breath and looking for a bowl of water and two days later my triceps were still hurting (in that good, macho, feel the burn way).
But Broga is more than just about making yoga more accessible for men, it is a great way of getting stronger and more flexible. It’s a workout, but it is also fun and includes teamwork to achieve postures that I honestly previously thought would break my back or my neck. Broga does require a level of fitness, although each move has an easier alternative.
As anyone who does yoga will know the best bit of the class is at the end of the hour-long session where you relax and basically lie on the floor. We did relax and we did end up with blankets over us, but if truth be told, I was knackered and I was ready for a sleep. Having tried and enjoyed Broga, I am keen to do more including aerial and yoga for running, both on offer at Chi and Co. And hopefully I’ll see Matt again at the SFN Expo in Glasgow on 29th and 30th August, while I’m also looking forward to the US founders of Broga bringing their Move Yoga to the UK, later this year.
How’s your flexibility? It’s one of the most overlooked areas of our fitness regimes and yet it’s the one that most often leads to injuries. There’s an interesting test here (don’t try the bit where she dislocates her spine). Let us know your results!