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“The Legend” is the Best Yoga Mat on the Market: A Review

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Broga® Yoga President and Co-Founder, Adam O’Neill, reviews what he believes to be the best yoga mat on the market and shares an exclusive, limited time discount for the “Yoga for Men” online store.

“The Legend” is.

 

I sweat like a horse in yoga classes. (Hot yoga is out of the question. Read: “hydroplaning on puddles of perspiration”.)

It’s sort of a running joke among members of the Broga team, but as far as I know my sweat issue isn’t something to worry about. This Greatist article does a good job of making us “sweaters” feel better with some good info. But don’t read that yet. Stay with me…

Over the years, we’ve received yoga mats from tons of existing and up-and-coming mat companies. Some focus on men, some are designed for “everyone”, some focus on cushion, some on grip, some on socially responsible materials (for example, we have a ton of respect for the products and people over at Kharma Khare).

“And as it turns out, when you design a mat with the pure intention of making something that is simply great for practicing yoga on, you end up with something that is simply great for practicing yoga on. And isn’t that the point of a yoga mat?”

Some mats are designed to be easily transported, or easily sold (inexpensive), or folded or rolled in a unique way, or show you where your hands and feet should go with little images and maps. Some come with customizable prints or themed carrying shoulder bags. Some are status symbols because of their cost and the brand that makes them.

But in my experience, no (other) mat that I’ve ever used has been designed with an uncompromising focus on its fundamental raison de etre: practicing yoga. And as it turns out, when you design a mat with the pure intention of making something that is simply great for practicing yoga on, you end up with something that is simply great for practicing yoga on. And isn’t that the point of a yoga mat?

We’ve known and interacted with the guys at Yoga for Men numerous times, and we have a ton of respect for them. So when I saw that they’d created a yoga mat, it piqued my interest immediately and I ordered one.

It arrived a few days later in a simple brown box – no frills.

Before I opened the box, I noticed that it was heavy. Very heavy. I haven’t weighed it, but it feels like it weighs almost twice as much as other mats. But the weight was not a turn off for me. In fact, my first thought was more like, “holy sh*t, this is going to be awesome.” You know that feeling of holding an electronic device that seems lighter than it should? How it feels cheap, almost fragile? And by contrast the premium version of the thing, whatever it is, is often heavier – feels stronger, better? Well, this felt like the “premium thing.”

thelegend

But was it?

Yes. Completely.

I rolled it out that day and did a short practice at home. I noticed that unlike many other mats, it didn’t have a strong smell nor a “you have to use it for a while to break it in” chemical film on it. It was nearly odorless.

And it was big. Really big. Longer and wider than any mat I’ve ever used, a welcome experience for a 6’2″, 225lb dude who, like I said, sweats a lot.

My impression of “The Legend” by that point was positive, but there’s no substitute for a rigorous field test, so a few days later I put it through the ultimate challenge: a Broga® Yoga class.

Wanting to give this mat an honest assessment, I decided to see how far into the practice I could get without putting my trusty, absorbent, grippy mat towel over the top. But, to my surprise, I never needed the towel. Turns out, the Yoga for Men guys have an exclusive deal with creators of an impressively effective patent-pending wicking material that forms the top layer of “The Legend.”

Through the duration of the practice, the mat felt stable, cushy, and, I daresay, inspired.

So, in summary, here are my thoughts:

  • “The Legend” is expensive, but it’s worth it. For less than the cost of your cable bill, or cell phone bill, you can make an investment in yourself and your practice, with a very high quality product that is well designed to do the job it’s meant to do.
  • You won’t need to buy a mat towel to go over it (saving you $40-60).
  • Grip, cushion, and moisture-wicking all in one place.

IMPORTANT: Please know this, we’ve never done a review like this before and we wouldn’t have become a ‘rep’ for this mat unless it was the best mat, in our opinion, for men, on the market – which we believe it is. With such a steep price tag, the “burden of proof” is very high, but I am thoroughly impressed and recommend this mat with 100% confidence.

I shared this review with the Yoga for Men team and asked if they wanted to offer any sort of promotional discount to the Broga community. They did, so here it is…

Exclusive Discount!

For the next six days – now, through Monday, November 30th at 11:59pm, you can use code – Broga25to get $25 off of “The Legend” mat… and $25 off of any Bhujang style item in your cart (besides art-wear and logo-wear) at the Yoga for Men online store.

Thoughts?
What’s your favorite yoga mat? Have you tried “The Legend”? Please let us know in the comments below.

Personal Broga® Yoga Coaching now Online

By Events, Featured, News, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

Father and Son Broga

Whether you’re a brand new beginner, or an experienced yoga practitioner looking for some new inspiration and a fresh approach, private yoga training can be one of the best ways to develop or refine your own practice.

Historically, a student’s choice of private yoga instructor has been limited to the teachers that lived in their town, but easy-to-use technologies now make it possible for students to work with any teacher, anywhere. 

Broga® Yoga instructors are some of the most competent, dedicated, effective yoga teachers in the world (in our humble opinion), so we’re very pleased to announce that starting now, you can work directly, personally, with them through our new Online Coaching System.

Broga’s top instructor, Creator and Co-Founder, Robert Sidoti, will be the first to offer his time to a very limited group of private clients each month.

According to Robert, “the opportunity to help more folks find a practice that is truly customized for their bodies through personal, direct online communication with an instructor is immense and very exciting. I’m looking forward to getting started!”

In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a hand-selected group of top Broga® Instructors to the line-up of online personal coaches.

For pricing and more information on the online coaching process, please have a look at the online coaching page.

Personal Online Broga® Yoga Coaching: More information and registration

Please direct any questions to team@brogayoga.com or feel free to leave a comment below.

 

You are awesome.

Don’t stop… belieeevin!

By Inspirational, Motivation, Uncategorized No Comments

You’ve probably heard that most people bail on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January (which is getting close).

 

So we wanted to remind you of a few things:

 

You can do it.

 

It won’t always be easy.

 

Sometimes you’ll want to quit… but you can choose to keep going!

 

Celebrate every step forward. Celebrate progress. 

 

Don’t be too hard on yourself… but don’t be too easy on yourself either!

 

Whatever you’ve wanted to improve about your life, believe that it’s possible, then keep on keepin’ on.

 

We’ll see you on the trail. 

 

Love,

 

-Team Broga 

Let’s Start With What You Need

By Opinion, Uncategorized No Comments

I recently came across a forum topic entitled “Let’s start with the definition of yoga!” Some of the conversation was insightful and interesting. As it turned out, the objective was not to establish a concrete definition as the title would have you believe. But when I first read it in my inbox, I had an immediate reaction. I thought, “No! Let’s not START with the definition of yoga. Let’s start with what YOU NEED.”

 
As you well know, there are hundreds (thousands?) of books about yoga – what it is, how it works, what it does for you, the history, lineages, etc. There are also many different schools of thought about “proper alignment” and whether or not “Western yoga” has bastardized and co-opted yoga’s true “essence”. While interesting academically/historically, many of these conversations miss the point in my view.
 
 
I look at this way. Yoga is an art and science for improving the quality of human lives. Put another way, it’s value lies in how much it helps you improve your life. Much of yoga is very old. Most of it is very wise. But it doesn’t matter. It’s more simple than that. Yoga is ultimately about your now.

  
If the practice of yoga makes you feel better, then yoga is good. Period. End of conversation.

  
You could spend a lifetime studying the sutras and going on pilgrimages (and that’s totally great if that’s what you want to do) or you can go to a couple of yoga classes here and there every few weeks. You can do a full-on deep dive into the vast spiritual depths of yoga, or you can take three focused deep breaths while sitting at your computer at work.

  
The point is, the definition of yoga is irrelevant. What you need to make your life better is of ultimate relevance.

  
You need to:
  • breathe
 
You may need to:
  • to feel better in your body
  • gain strength
  • improve your circulation
  • lower high blood pressure
  • reduce stress
  • avoid injury
  • feel fulfilled
  • feel connected to a sense of purpose
  • and so on…
  
The practice of yoga, even for a few minutes each day, can help you identify, address, and develop what you need.
  
Then, when you’ve practiced yoga for a little while, you can define it for yourself.
  
Yoga is what it is to you.

Brogi of the Month – September, 2013

By Events, Featured, Interviews, Motivation, Teachers, Uncategorized No Comments

The Brogi of the Month Award goes out monthly(ish) in recognition of a person who, through action or word, makes things better for themselves and the people around them. In most instances, recipients will be acknowledged for great achievements in the health/fitness/nutrition – aka Broga – realm, but not always. The common denominator will almost always be an achievement that inspires. All those who receive the award will get a 10-class pass (or something of equivalent value). We love inspiring stories, so please feel free to email us nominations and a story any time.

The September, 2013 Brogi of the Month Award goes to a guy who has done something rather unique with his retirement, something we find really inspiring. Having reachedBill Williams an age and status at which many people might prefer to do LESS with their bodies, Bill Williams decided to do MORE. A short time after retiring from his successful fourth generation family business, Bill began training to become a personal trainer. Then he became a 200hr certified Yoga instructor. Then a TRX instructor. Then a Broga Instructor!

We are very excited to have Bill as part of our Broga® Yoga teaching community and so – as we hear – are the good people of Mexico, MO.  As you’ll see below, we aren’t the only people who think Bill rocks.

Check out this recent interview with Bill and feel free to drop him, or us, a note in the comments section.

If you don’t mind sharing, how old are you?
Bill: 64 years young! Age is only a number!

How did you first learn about Broga?
Bill: I believe I heard about Broga from a family member on the East Coast. I looked online to learn what Broga was about, and then I wanted to learn more.

What drew you to Broga? 
Bill: I was hesitant to take a Yoga class that was primarily women.  I reluctantly attended a Yoga class and recognized there is a great need for Yoga classes designed to attract men to attend.

In addition to teaching Broga, what else do you do currently?
Bill: I also teach Indoor Cycling, TRX Suspension Training, Group Fitness Classes and Personal Training.

Broga: Before getting involved in fitness, what did you do?
Bill: My career was a family business of commercial laundry and linen supply. I was a fourth generation President until passing the reins to a younger brother who operates the business today.

Broga: Have you always been in good shape?
Bill: I would have to say that while I was generally in decent shape, but now, definitely the best shape of my life!

Broga: You were recently awarded TWO Inspiration Awards at the International IDEA Fitness Conference in L.A. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Bill: I was, and still am, very honored to be chosen by Fitness class instructors, to receive the two Inspiration Medals. The class instructors would present the medals following the class to the person or persons whom they felt were the most inspiring to others.

Broga: What challenges do you see people your age having as they try to stay healthy? Any tricks or recommendations that you’d offer?
Bill: I think the most difficult decision for most is the time commitment. We have to make taking care of ourselves a top priority. If we don’t there are always many other things we could be doing with that time slot. I think it is important to first make the commitment, then decide what time frame we are willing to make our fitness training number one over all other choices.

BillandConnie

Bill Williams with personal training biz partner, Connie.

Broga: Any advice for people who are looking to fitness as a second career?
Bill: Find someone who you admire for what they do for the Fitness Industry. Learn what makes them successful, and perhaps ask for their help. Then take the trainings, and become certified and knowledgeable with the coursework you plan to instruct.

Brogi of the Month – July, 2013

By Featured, Interviews, Motivation, Students, Teachers One Comment

The Brogi of the Month Award goes out monthly (obviously) in recognition of a person who, through action or word, makes things better for themselves and the people around them. In most instances, recipients will be acknowledged for great achievements in the health/fitness/nutrition – aka Broga – realm, but not always. The common denominator will almost always be an achievement that inspires. All those who receive the award will get a 10-class pass (or something of equivalent value). We love inspiring stories, so please feel free to email us nominations and a story any time.

Our first Brogi of the Month is a guy that has inspired us …a lot. It has been a pleasure getting to know him and having him in our Somerville classes. He was very nervous for his first class, having never done anything “like this” before, but he kept coming back. His name is Mo Jarava and he’s lost nearly 70 lbs as a committed Broga student.

This past week was his 100th Broga class. Congratulations, Mo. We’re proud and honored to have you in this community.

Here’s a brief interview with Mo from a couple weeks back – i.e. just before his 100th class.

 

 

Broga: What do you do?
Mo: I’m a law enforcement officer with the federal government.  High pressure, and high demands.  I’ve been an officer for the past 18 years.  It’s something I’m used to but it doesn’t make it easier.

Broga: Is your job stressful?
Mo: Extremely.

Broga: Tell us a bit about how you found Broga and your expectations when you started.Mo
Mo: After a recent promotion, I began suffering from migraines.  I’ve always had a Type A personality, and migraines were a common occurrence for me but this was something different and much more intense.   After a battery of tests, one of which landed me in the ER, I was told “You need to relax”.   The last thing someone who is stressed needs to hear is “just relax”.   I ended up in therapy having electrical current run through my muscles to get me to unwind.  That’s when I knew I had to do something.   I saw an ad for Broga and started reading up on it.

I went on to the site and read about the course, the instructors, and the basic Broga mission statement.   I had my hesitations but decided to give it a try.

I wrote Adam and Robert an email and explained a little of my situation.   I was overweight, inflexible, and hadn’t done any fitness regime since years.  What I did have was the desire to improve, to find a balance in my life and find a way to calm my mind.  I wanted to participate but didn’t know if I could keep up and I didn’t want to hold the class back.   Adam wrote me back and told me Broga was the class for me.

Broga: How would you describe your level of fitness now compared to when you started Broga?
Mo: I’ve been practicing for over a year now.  I can totally see an improvement in my fitness level.  I think back to the third Broga class I took.  I almost gave up after that night.  My first two classes were tough but I was able to keep up.  That third class was intense.  I remember the thought “what fresh sadistic hell is this?!” going through my mind throughout the class.   I decided right then and there to give up.  I wasn’t ready for this level of intensity and this was just a beginner course.  After class, I was gearing up to go home; feeling defeated and like a failure.  Some of the other students in the class were milling about we began talking.  These were guys that were very fit and they were commenting on how the class had kicked their ass.   Ok.. so if the class was tough even for them, maybe it wasn’t just me.  I decided to come back the following week.   I remember Robert telling us we had already taken the first step, we showed up, we were there.  That meant a lot to me because I came so close to not going back.   The classes were still tough, and I still had my days where I dreaded hearing the words “forearm plank”.  But I kept with it.

Throughout the past year I’ve experienced a series of mini achievements.  I slowly starting to do some of the stuff I previously felt was impossible and improbable.  Poses that I once thought I’d never get into unless there was an intricate systems of pulleys and levers involved, now became a routine part of my practice.

Broga: Looking ahead over the next few years, what are your health and fitness goals?
Mo: Now that I know I have it in me to dedicate time to my health and fitness, I’ve taken more of a proactive approach to my well-being.  I’ve changed my diet, eating habits and behavior.   I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and am on the way to getting to a healthy weight and fitness level.  Once there, I hope to be able to maintain and keep improving.  I’m looking at expanding my exercise routine to include some gym time.  I’m attending Broga three times a week and am looking for something in between the class days.  I’m keeping tabs on the number of classes I attend, when I get to class 100, I am going to try my hand at the Broga 2 class.

Broga: How awesome was it when you were able to do Crow pose for the first time?
Mo: The first time Robert had us do Crow pose in class I actually laughed out loud and shook my head.  There was no way I was going to get my body to do that.  Robert looked at me and said “No?  Not happening?  It’s ok, you’ll get there.”  He taught me a modified version that would help me to eventually get there.  As the classes went on, that pose became a goal.  I would eventually do it.  Around class number 50 I was finally able to do Crow.  It wasn’t perfect, I only stayed up for a few breaths, but I did it.  It was amazing.  Something that had been so far off had finally come within reach.

Broga: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
Mo: I can’t say I have one favorite.  I like the balance poses like tree, warrior three, and side plank.  Humble warrior is awesome!  Every once in a while a new leg stretch or back stretch gets thrown into the mix and I just want to scream out thaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!!

Broga: What’s your least favorite yoga pose?
Mo: Still not a fan of forearm plank but I am able to do it now and stay up.  We just added a mountain climber exercise that is a bit vicious but I can definitely feel the impact and benefit.

Broga: What do you like most about Broga class?
Mo: In no particular order…

  1. You can go at your pace.  There is no race or competition.
  2. The instructors tailor the poses to your current level.  Be it adding a strap, changing the pose or other modifications, they teach you how to get the most out of each pose and flow at your own level.
  3. The music.  I’ve added a few of the songs to my playlists and have found I start subconsciously breathing deep and calming down when I hear them.
  4. It has become the highlight of my week where I can turn off everything else going on and just focus on my breath and the poses.
  5. Effort and Ease.   It’s become a mantra not only throughout class but in my daily world as well.

Broga: What do you like least about Broga class?
Mo: There isn’t anything I don’t like.  As the word is getting out and more people are discovering Broga, the classes are starting to fill up.   I have to make sure to get there early to get my spot in the back corner.  I’m very much a creature of habit and can be a little OCD.  I have my focal points for my drishti.

Broga: What would you tell someone who is unsure about trying Broga?
Mo: They need to give it a shot.  If they are looking for a way to better their health and improve their life, try it out.  They should talk to others in the class, I know I’m not the only one who has benefited from Broga.  They can come talk to me about it too,  I’m the one in the back corner.

Broga: If someone gave you $1 million dollars to help people get/stay in better health, what would you do with the money?
Mo: I think it comes down to education.  Educating people on how to make proper choices, and take care of themselves.  Helping them find whatever works for them.

Thanks for the inspiration, Mo! With your success, the words “Mo-tivation” and “Mo-bility” are taking on new meaning in the Broga world.

If you have any thoughts or questions about what it takes to make big, sustained changes in your life, please share them in the comments section below.

3 Simple Ways (For Men) to Avoid Injury in a Yoga Class

By How To, Students, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Like running, skiing, playing basketball, lifting weights, shoveling heavy snow, or anything else that involves pushing your body’s range of motion and stamina, practicing yoga can lead to injury if not done with care, moderation, and self-awareness.

Here are 3 simple ways to avoid injuring yourself as you tap into the many benefits of yoga.

1.) Go to an appropriate class (in two parts).

Part 1 – Choose the right class – i.e. type of yoga & level of class:
If you are new to yoga (even if you’ve taken a few classes), are slightly out of shape, don’t get a lot of exercise, have some chronic pain, or know that you are a little stiff in the joints, you should ONLY be taking an introductory yoga class. Don’t push it. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost two years and still get just as much out of an introductory class as I get out of an intermediate level class. I know people who have practiced much longer than I have and they say the same thing. We see a lot of guys who show up to our Broga II class (presumably believing that the Broga I class is too easy) that really shouldn’t be there. We make sure to communicate this professionally and respectfully whenever necessary and recommend the Broga I class, but you (the student) should recognize when you’re out of your comfort zone. When you’re in the right class, you’ll know it because it will feel right.

There are many types of yoga and many types of classes. Our recommendation is that you find a yoga class that is specifically designed for you. You wouldn’t go to a prenatal yoga class (unless it was prenatal for couples) right? If you look around you’ll find a class that is specifically for you.

Part 2 – Choose the right instructor:
Once you find the type of class that you want to attend, you should then find the best available instructor for that class. Friends and colleagues can give you a good recommendation, but you need to ask the right questions. If someone who has been practicing yoga for 10 years recommends a yoga instructor, ask if that instructor pushes them. If so, it’s probably something that they appreciate, but you won’t (unless you have also been practicing yoga for 10 years). You need an instructor that will guide you through every movement with clarity and care.

Also, once you identify what seems like the best class and teacher, go a little early – good teachers (often) have full classes. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to the teacher and see #2.

If your first class isn’t what you’d hoped or expected DON’T GIVE UP. You’ll have good days and bad days (so will teachers) so assume it just wasn’t a great day and try again. You should give it at least a second chance before you decide to throw in the towel or look for another class/instructor. On the other hand, if you’ve done a bit of research, you’ve probably found the best class right away. If so, it should be a challenging, but rewarding first experience.

2.) Tell your instructor if you have any injuries or limitations or concerns.

Most good instructors will ask if anyone has any injuries or limitations at the beginning of every single class. If you do have an injury, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, MAKE SURE YOU TELL THE INSTRUCTOR. If the instructor doesn’t ask, he/she isn’t being responsible (dock them 10 points and don’t go back), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up. Your yoga class is FOR YOU, not your teacher or even the other students. Be smart. Be a little selfish. Protect yourself. Make sure you are clear, even if it feels weird to speak up, about your injuries or limitations or concerns. Most good instructors will keep you in mind throughout the class and will give you variations of poses to help you get the most out of the class – without hurting yourself.

3.) If it don’t feel right, don’t do it!

There is absolutely no reason that you should do anything in a yoga class if it doesn’t feel right. If you’ve been injured before, you know that “Uh-oh” feeling when some part of your body goes past the point of no return. If you are paying attention to your body (as you should be in a yoga class) you’ll sense when your knee, or neck, or back, or hip starts to feel a little “tweaky”. When you feel that, back off. A yoga practice should challenge you, push you to your edge, cultivate a sense of awareness, and help you improve your body and mind, but it shouldn’t push you past your edge, make you take risks, spur a sense of competitiveness, or cause injury. If it don’t feel right, don’t do it!

Bonus: Be your own advocate and guide. Go with intention. It takes motivation, maybe some encouragement from friends or relatives, and willpower to go to a yoga class. Maybe there are other things you could be doing or maybe you went out last night or you have a cold or you’re “just not feeling it”, etc. When you do surmount your personal obstacles and decide to go to a class, go with a good attitude. Go with intention. Go with a desire to learn something “about yourself” and to take yourself to the edge. Go with the intention of coming home and feeling better than you did when you left. And go knowing that you won’t hurt yourself.

How did we do? Have you been injured in a yoga class (and learned something from it)? Did we miss any tips? Let us know! Leave a comment.

 

Broga & Movember

Men’s Health Awareness Month: Broga Donating to Prostate Cancer Research

By Events, News No Comments

Here’s the deal: You commit to your health & we’ll commit to donating

In honor of your commitment to your health and Men’s Health Awareness Month (November), Broga is donating funds go the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).

  • Option 1 – Come to 3 Broga classes this month (yes, we know there are only a few weeks left) and we’ll donate 50% of your class payments to PCF and list your name (if you want) on a special page on our website acknowledging you as a contributor.
  • Option 2 – Come to any Broga class with a mustache (men only, please) – you know, for ‘Movember’ – we’ll donate that class payment to PCF.
  • Option 3 – Buy a T-shirt this month, we’ll donate 100% of the proceeds (after our T-shirt production costs) to PCF.

As you’d probably expect, men’s health is a major concern of ours. Through Broga, we are offering men a powerful opportunity to take charge of their personal well-being as they both improve their current quality of life and, hopefully, stave off the many ailments that afflict the sedentary at much higher rates than the active.

Exercise is good for you, but unfortunately, we live with the reality that no matter what we do, bad things can happen to, and in, our bodies. Prostate cancer is one of them. So this month, we’re going to make a contribution to the world-class research being conducted by the PCF.

We hope to make a sizable donation at the end of the month. Lets do this – because we can!

Broga Featured in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine

By News No Comments

Earlier this week, the September issue of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine came out with an extended special section featuring Broga.

We just want to thank Justin Ahren, Jocelyn Filley, and the MV Magazine crew.

Justin, great writing – anything that mentions Fight Club and Charles Bukowski in the same article would generally be awesome in my book, but that they were both mentioned in regards to Broga… well, it’s an honor.

Jocelyn, the photos were/are great. You really captured the essence of Broga – no small feat for a foggy day like the one we had for the shoot.

Thanks again!

Broga photo from "Only a Game"

Broga on NPR’s “Only A Game”

By News No Comments

We’re very excited to announce that this coming Saturday, August 20th, Broga will be featured on NPR’s “Only A Game.”

We were visited by “Only a Game” Producer Doug Tribou two weeks ago in Somerville, so we’re anxious to hear the feature. If you can, tune into your local NPR station this Saturday and let us know you heard it.

Here is a listing of NPR member stations and the “Only A Game” timeslot nationally.

See you on air!