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Co-founders Robert Sidoti and Adam O’Neill created Broga as a safe space for men who may be self-conscious about not being as flexible as the woman on the mat next to them in class, or want the benefits of yoga without the Sanskrit chanting. The studio’s website reassures men: “Broga is a yoga class geared for men (where it’s okay if you can’t touch your toes).”
Tired of hearing a wife, girlfriend, mother, sister or female friend sing the praises of yoga, some guys will eventually man up and tag along to a class. Once there, in many studios, he might be one of few downward facing dudes.
Being the only man surrounded by a room of limber ladies in tight-fitting yoga pants might sound like paradise. But it gets rough when the gal on the next mat can touch her nose to her knees and the guy can barely bend over to reach his toes.
Men who crave the benefits of yoga, but recoil at sharing the experience with a room full of women are turning to Broga, a rugged take on the 3,000-year-old practice of movement and breath.
Broga celebrates the physical over the spiritual, and strength over flexibility. Experts say it sets men free to flex tight hamstrings without hearing invocations to Hindu deities or feeling inept next to a woman twisted like a pretzel.
Broga is becoming a popular choice for men (and increasingly women) who want a sportier version of yoga without the sole focus on stretches and bends.
Broga combines traditional yoga with functional fitness exercises and high-intensity interval training. It works on improving core strength, cardio, muscle-toning, stress-reducing, and clarity-building postures.
Do men need their own yoga studio?
Co-founders of the Massachusetts-based Broga yoga studio certainly thought so, touting their program as a “strong” and “energetic” class “where it’s okay if you can’t touch your toes.” Putting aside the fact that it’s okay in any yoga class if you can’t touch your toes, there is certainly some truth to the subtext here: stereotypically, yoga often isn’t exactly viewed as a hyper-masculine pursuit.