broga bromance?



david good - broga - yogaWe’ve seen them in the gym, tanning and doing laundry and now bros everywhere are participating in a new form of physical activity – Broga. Yup! You read that right, yoga for bros. Briar Hill ambassador, David Good, shares his thoughts on dudes and their bromance with broga. 

men and yoga

Yoga, when it was created, was a sexist practice. It was an activity designed for men by men and women were discouraged from participating. Now the pendulum is swinging back and more men are signing up. I’ve noticed especially because I have to share the small change rooms with them. Guys are letting go of their fears of not being flexible enough or their preconceived notion that yoga is for women. They’re starting to notice the benefits of yoga for their minds, as well as the ways it compliments their other fitness interests – Coach Taylor said it, “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Right?

broga

Some studios are offering classes called ‘Broga’, which is designed specifically for men with an emphasis on strengthening postures. These classes make for a good introduction to the practice for guys who are self-conscious about being in a room full of women as they tackle their first class.

to broga or not to broga

The debate is still a hot one though. Are “men’s only” classes really the way to go especially since yoga, at its very core, is supposed to mean ‘union’? On top of this, tons of women are trying to attend Broga classes because they're looking for the ‘bigger challenge that’s being offered to these guys exclusively. I’m not really a fan for many reasons that stem directly from the history of the practice. I think it should be an inclusive practice that brings people together, not one that segregates them. Shouldn’t we all be able to play together?

What are your thoughts? Is Broga totally kosher or completely offside? 

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39 Comments »


Wow broga! I haven’t heard of this phenomenon. I think it’s really exciting. I don’t blame guys for being intimidated in a room full of bendy women – I sure would be if I were a bloke! Ultimately if broga is going to increase the number of men practicing yoga then I’m all for it!

Comment by Jessica Keel — February 24, 2012 @ 6:20 am


I don’t think there is a problem with Broga being aimed towards men. Perhaps a stronger male presence is what helps dudes to feel less self conscience and more open to participating. BUT- no need for ‘men only’, we are well passed that mentality. I feel there is A TON to gain from classes/practices that are open to all ages, genders and levels. A post for the dudes- LOVE IT!

Comment by Anil N. Singh — February 24, 2012 @ 8:52 am


Do you all have any idea how intimidating it is for a guy to go to a beginners yoga class? I live in Southern, CA and to go to one means generally I will be the only guy there. I’m married, so while it might be a ploy to pick up chicks, it’s not for me. Most yoga studios have failed to really openly welcome and engage men, in a way that communicates with men, not women.

By the way- I love Lululemon, but you all do it too. Look at every email you send- womens clothes are always on top. Most of the writers on this blog appear to be women. Men’s clothing is never shown at the very front of the store- it’s off in its own sad corner. I love your clothing, I love the brand, but let’s face it- this is one spot that isn’t quite as welcoming to men.

Comment by J — February 24, 2012 @ 10:15 am


I can understand the want to have a class aimed at guys and can also understand the intimidation of being the only guy in a class full of “bendy” women (as said above). But I definitely feel it shouldn’t be “men only”. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be able to attend them.

Comment by Ben — February 24, 2012 @ 10:20 am


Broga seems like just a way to get more men interested in Yoga. As a male who has done yoga for some time, i can sure say that it is intimidating and very, very difficult for an inflexible guy to start out at yoga. I dont think there is anything wrong with Broga, but if men want their own classes, then they should be called “men’s only’ classes, just like ‘women’s only’ classes. Broga is a guy-oriented form of power yoga, thus not grounds for gender exclusion. Gentle Hatha is an example of a more female oriented form of yoga, but again it is not gender exclusive. the idea of gender exclusion is fine, but only when the classes are particularly called ‘women only’ or ‘men only’. Sometimes gender exclusive yoga classes are just more comfortable for people, and there is nothing wrong with that. Bottom line = Broga and gender exclusive yoga classes are separate topics.

Comment by bryn — February 24, 2012 @ 10:29 am


This is an interesting little teaser of an article. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

I noticed a mini typo: “woman” should be in the plural “women” in the line that reads “These classes make for a good introduction to the practice for guys who are self-conscious about being in a room full of woman as they tackle their first class.”

Also, I think that this concept could be teased way out for a dynamic conversation on the topic. This could be a massive Master’s thesis idea! Cool.

My thoughts:

Sometimes a focused space for men or whoever is generally feeling excluded/exposed/not ready can be good to work up the courage to enter a larger “playing field” or yoga space that encompasses all kinds of practitioners.

I am not sure why the emphasis on strength building postures is necessary. To get men interested? Unfortunately, I think this reaffirms the masculine imperative of hyper-masculinity, and actually undermines the whole idea of men’s classes. Also, it relegates other classes assumed to be women’s classes to a more “feminine” or “weak” and “bendy over strong” status.

I plan to offer Men’s Yoga without the emphasis on strength, and solely with an inclusive attitude that a safe space is a meeting place from which to go onwards in the yoga journey.

Thanks again for sharing!

Comment by Sophie — February 24, 2012 @ 10:35 am


Let the guys have their class! Good for them wanting to try and have their own moment! There are tons of women only classes and gyms. Why cant the men have theirs? Work it bros!

Comment by Rebekah — February 24, 2012 @ 10:36 am


I totally agree with you David. Yoga means Union, and we should keep it that way. It has historically been a man’s game! Now that things have turned around, men want to take it back? Not cool. How often do women enter a men’s arena for sport despite being uncomfortable–all the time!! Come on men, ball up and do the same! Athletic pursuit is gender neutral, and until we see it that way in the classroom, we wont achieve gender equality!

Comment by A — February 24, 2012 @ 10:42 am


In the 8 years I have been practicing “yoga”, with both women and men in the class, and women and men instructing, I’ve not once ever heard anyone mention the term “broga”, and this is in Boston where some of the most amazing yoga instructors practice their trade. The term doesn’t so much make me think of guys in a yoga class as it does a batch of frozen yogurt gone bad, with an accent. As far as the ‘challenge’, I can tell you that the ‘girl’ classes pretty much kick my butt any day, and I have never left a class feeling cheated for my masculine build. *yawn* move on.

Comment by Keith W — February 24, 2012 @ 10:44 am


There’s a lot of gyms that still have “women only” sections that men aren’t allowed in, so I don’t see a problem with offering men-only classes. I think to deny that is called a double standard?
Personally, I’m not intimidated by a room full of women. There’s lots of guys that are good at yoga, and lots of women that aren’t. And vice versa. I don’t think the point of yoga is for anyone to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

Comment by Tyler — February 24, 2012 @ 10:46 am


who cares? As a woman, i think it’s nice to have the option of coed yoga vs women’s yoga. Our bodies are different… just a fact of life. I can also understand why men might want the same. it’s a little more relaxing when the opposite sex isn’t around sometimes.

Comment by Casey — February 24, 2012 @ 10:50 am


I don’t think it’s too bad. If it makes the guys feel less intimidated and it brings them to “regular” classes, then why not? I have been practicing for a few years now and I really like it when there is as many men in the stuio as there is woman. It is not a “girl” thing.

Comment by shannon — February 24, 2012 @ 11:01 am


I think it’s better to start with broga if you’re intimidated, and then get addicted and probably switch to a regular class than just never go to a yoga class ever. If it is what it takes to get started, then why not?

Comment by Marie — February 24, 2012 @ 11:29 am


I think an introductory class for men is a fantastic idea! My husband has said himself that he wouldn’t go to a class full of woman who who know what they are doing when he hasn’t a clue. Once you are comfortable with the moves you go with a coed class. I think it is a great way to build confidence so you aren’t walking into a room full of yogis and being unsure and reluctant to disturb the flow of the class.

Comment by Denise — February 24, 2012 @ 11:38 am


Agree! We should all be able to play together – eye candy is nice! I have no interest in broga classes.

Comment by Marc — February 24, 2012 @ 11:51 am


My studio, in addition to a Yoga for Men class, offers Yoga for Athletes – a very challenging class focused on strengthening. I’d rather see more studios go the “yoga for athletes” route than the “broga” one, so that everyone can be included.

Comment by Erica — February 24, 2012 @ 1:51 pm


I do not think this is a bad thing.

I think co-ed classes are great, and they should always be open and available. However, gender specific can be helpful as well.

Examples: I have a cousing that teaches classes, at a shelter, for women who were victims of domestic violence, battery and rape. These women have the chance to exercise and “heal” in what they feel is a safe and non-threatening environment.

I used to paticipate in a class that was all men. That was a nice experience as well, to socialize with other men, and laugh at our clumsiness and imbalance.

Men and women have different physiques. Womens are often more flexible (particularly in their lower body) while men often have greater upper body strength. That being the case, it is nice to have the option to attend a class where the focus can be on the core exercises and asanas that can target a specific gender and their often similar body needs and requirements.

Just a thought…

Comment by Arch — February 24, 2012 @ 2:11 pm


I am almost always the only guy in my classes, doesn’t matter where, Yogaworks, Core Power Yoga, independent studios, California, Minnesota or Sun Valley, all levels, I have never felt intimidated nor have I ever felt out of place. I thought that was what yoga was all about, no judgments. It’s always worked for me, and I kinda like being the only dude. I actually look forward to the day I am a Lululemon athlete ambassador, in my dreams that is.

Comment by jeff — February 24, 2012 @ 9:36 pm


The concept of ‘union’ should encourage exchange of energy, not further segregate us. If women are the more “bendy”sex and men have the upper body strength advantage(at least as it is socially constructed) then a flow of developing flexibility and strength, should be in play.
As far as feeling afraid to enter a space where you feel excluded, remember the civil rights movement, and women entering the board room for the first time. Once you cross those borders with positive intent, you have expanded the world and made it safe for others. We should also strive to make our yoga studios a welcoming place for men, and not put the burden of the “just here to get stronger” imprint on them. Maybe they’re here to find balance, and go deeper in their spiritual journeys. Let everyone define themselves and love them for their efforts to grow.

Comment by Trigirl — February 25, 2012 @ 5:25 am


I think its a great idea for men.

When I first started weight training, I liked going to a gym that was women only. Now, it doesn’t really bother me, and I go to a combined gym, but having that option was really important to getting me started.
Guys should have the same option for yoga. I bet that after they get passed the initial trepidation that faces all beginners (men and women) that many would later be comfortable with dual classes too.

And if there is demand for more challenging classes, then women should be asking for classes to be added to meet that need too, but not by taking away men only classes.

Yes, yoga means union, but more so union between mind and body, which you need to be comfortable to do. For some that means men or women only classes. Why not have as options as possible to get as many people as possible to try out this great activity we love?

Comment by Kiki — February 25, 2012 @ 1:28 pm


As a guy who practices yoga, too, I have to side with David. One of my favorite aspects of yoga is ‘union’. It brings people together, to openness, to community, to joy, to good health, to mental and physical strength. Yoga practice should be as inclusive as possible. Needless to say, men: if you’re feeling shy about being the only guy in class, bring a friend! With a little patience and a good instructor, your worries will disappear and your thoughts about your breath and your practice will be the only thoughts that matter. No thanks, Broga!

Comment by CD — February 25, 2012 @ 5:44 pm


Broga is for pussies!

Come on, real bros will not be intimidated by attending yoga class with women-you can actually learn a few things about yoga and yourself by participating in a class with women in it

Comment by tony — February 25, 2012 @ 8:10 pm


Broga is not Yoga. Yoga is integration, union, seems like we are going the opposite direction when we categorize it like that.. seems to me that men are doing it more frequently now without the broga option.. but there is not harm in being creative:)

Comment by Stephanie — February 26, 2012 @ 3:34 am


While the term “Broga” makes me cringe slightly, I do think it’s funny like “Bromance.”

My perspective is a bit different; Although I attend an integrated gym and lift weights, 95% of the weight users are men. I seldom attend classes, but 95% of the classes are attended by women.

Recently a Yoga studio in my town had a class called “Tight Guy Yoga” – which fit my demographic perfectly, with humor, and was well attended.

If we agree that the goal of Yoga is unity, we can agree that there are many paths to convergence. And if having a path for men who are intimidated to be in a class of bendy women gets more men into practice, it’s a good thing.

However, if the reason for the class is to offer hard-core strength moves, that women might aspire to; let them in.
~Davi

Comment by Davi Ravi — February 26, 2012 @ 8:12 am


I think broga is great as an introduction class for men. There are so many womens only classes out there that I do not see a problem for men to have there one or two broga classes a week.
Then once their confidence is up… Send them off to the mixed classes where they can share their new moves. :)

X

Comment by Danna — February 28, 2012 @ 12:29 am


I don’t necessarily see a problem with gender specific classes, but I’m not a fan of exclusivity. Also, “Broga” sounds like one of the worst marketing aberrations ever.
I am one of those super stiff guys that was (still is in many ways) intimidated by a yoga class, but so what? it doesn’t stop me from practicing regularly, I know what my limits are and I adjust the poses accordingly. I think the need for “broga” comes from bad instructors that want everything to conform to an ideal form, rather than taking the time to understand the individual frames and suggesting how to adjust the practice.
Accepting others (and yourself) is part of what Yoga gives you, exclusivity doesn’t sound like something that fits the picture.
Now a closing (silly) thought: I wonder how gay men feel about “broga” :)

Comment by dario — February 29, 2012 @ 1:31 pm


I love the idea of ‘broga.’ I personally am just starting to pick up yoga. As a swimmer, flexibility is something very important to my athletic performance. I also love the idea of yoga and finding inner peace. I know many guys (especially athletes) who could benefit greatly from practicing yoga. Not only would they increase their strength for sports, but they could also channel some of that “macho” anger to a more calm, relaxed place. Broga on!

Comment by Lauren P. — February 29, 2012 @ 3:52 pm


You know, we hear of these kinds of specialized classes and they can sound quite silly. But it is good to remember that Yoga is most effective (and efficient) when tailored to the needs of the individual. It may be hard to understand how someone could be intimidated in a Yoga class. But people come with varying levels of self-confidence and daring. Tailoring a class to men, who are in general stiffer than women, have more trouble setting boundaries for themselves as they watch others in the room achieve difficult poses, and who largely have been nurtured with a different paradigm for what fitness means, is actually not a bad idea. Yes “Yoga” means “union” but that translation comes with a bias to Vedanta and even so it is a translation that refers to the state of yoga and not necessarily its practice. “Yoga practice” does not require that this union be achieved right now. It allows you to pursue it in stages according to your needs and abilities. If these classes help men overcome discomfort and develop awareness that will help evolve their practice and allow them to focus, then it is actually more in line with a different translation of the term “yoga”: “the cessation of the activities of the mind”.

Comment by Oreste — February 29, 2012 @ 5:18 pm


I have been to a few Broga classes and they are the best. Broga Broga Broga!!!!!!

Comment by Shawn — February 29, 2012 @ 9:06 pm


Hi I finally got my boyfriend to do yoga in a broga yoga class!!!!! He was extremely stubborn about going at first and now is hooked on BROGA!!!!!!! Beat idea ever! To get more info I went to http://www.brogayoga.com =)

Comment by Monica — February 29, 2012 @ 9:15 pm


I love Broga, Its the Best.

Comment by shawn — February 29, 2012 @ 9:24 pm


Hey there, I am writing to weigh in a bit. I am the Creator of “Broga”. I have Co-Founded this with Adam O’neill. For the past few years I have been teaching Broga to men ( and women ). Not all classes are “men only”. We are always open to having women join the class. With that said, the women who come know that this is more geared for the male body, and I think that appeals to the women that come. It’s actually so amazing for me to be teaching to a room full of people and have 75-80% men and the rest women. It’s usually the opposite in most classes. I know plenty of men around the globe have found yoga and practice regularly, but I’m going after the men who would never step foot in a studio for various reasons. We all know those guys. Yoga just hasn’t been presented to them in a way that seems accessible. Even though most of us who already practice and are familiar with the world of yoga, know there are plenty of styles and approaches that would be beneficial to them. I think by calling it “Broga” ( for better or worse ) , and really putting forth an effort in designing it specifically for them, makes it easier for them to show up, and when they do, they love it and come back. In the 3 years I have been teaching Broga, I have men that have attended well over 200 classes who’d never been to a yoga class prior. I have men who had never been, who now bring there son’s ( and daughter’s ) and who talk about Broga at dinner parties and casual gatherings. They talk about how “great” they feel in there bodies, how much less stress they have in there lives ( and how to manage it when it’s there ). I know this because when this mans wife attends the class with him, she cannot thank me enough for offering this as she is almost in tears. I’m not patting myself on my back, I’m just super stoked that I have played some kind of roll in this mans positive life change. There are many other examples like this man’s experience.

Based on most of the comments above, it seems that the word “union” has been mentioned mostly. So one thing that just came to mind, and I know it doesn’t cover the entire topic of union… but by creating a yoga program for these resistant, super tight, made of concrete men, we are actually creating a sense of union. Broga is bringing them into the world of yoga, as opposed to them being on the outside looking in.

With the approach that Broga has of taking these men from the “familiar” to the “unfamiliar”, they slowly start to dabble in other yoga styles and disciplines. Maybe finally they will go to yoga with there wife at her studio of choice??

I know some people have there reservations about Broga and other branded styles of yoga… But who can really argue with the thought of more and more people practicing yoga in the world today? YOU know how it has had an effect on YOUR life in so many positive ways, wouldn’t you want more feeling the same? Broga is not a dumbed down or watered down version of yoga, I believe it has real integrity and heart and will change the lives of many!!

Robert Sidoti Creator and Co-Founder of Broga Yoga

Comment by Robert — March 1, 2012 @ 7:04 am


Great string of comments / insights.

I love giving people – anyone – an on-ramp to discovering a practice for themselves. And the marketing guy in me can appreciate the thinking behind the “Broga” name (see also: FunAsana Friday); but at the studios where I teach (www.shaktivinyasa.com and beluminousyoga.com), they have created classes specifically to deal with the intimidation factor newcomers feel. They call them Intro Series.
It’s an effective way to help all newbies find their feet.

I do see the value in men-only/woman-only classes when they are designed to deal with some of the important issues others have mentioned, but I think studios face a challenge of limited “prime time” slots that can be dedicated to sub-groups of sub-groups. Again, I agree with many: “I don’t care how you get here, just get here.” But to the guys who are “intimidated” to come to class because they’re afraid of looking stupid/being judged/being a beginner/whatever, I would (very) good naturedly say, “well, there’s your yoga, bro.”

Comment by Sean — March 2, 2012 @ 4:40 pm


I think you should have interviewed Robert (above) before writing this article. sounds like what he is doing is amazing.

Comment by Alexis — March 4, 2012 @ 10:40 am


“These classes make for a good introduction to the practice for guys who are self-conscious about being in a room full of women as they tackle their first class.”
I love Robert’s comments. I also love that in the end Broga or no broga women and men end up practicing together. Women end up coming to Robert’s Broga classes. In the end its all UNION.

Comment by David Good — March 5, 2012 @ 1:04 pm


Broga has been a new way for people to beome part of the all impotant union discussed above. An intelligent cultivated extension of the art that brings people into the practice. I understand that Robert Sidoti has been doing this for people for a long time. Broga is a great extension of the union.

Comment by Damon — March 5, 2012 @ 2:59 pm


A number of people have posted comments regarding yoga meaning union. I agree 100%, but with one caveat. Union, unity may happen instantly or over time. If the goal is unity and union, let’s welcome any vehicle that moves a group of people in tat direction. If “broga” is the vehicle that allows a number of people to step into the light welcome it. “Broga” may not be the union or represent the union, however it may bring about the union.

Peace

Comment by Tracy — March 19, 2012 @ 3:26 am


If women can have all women gyms and no one says anything, why can’t guys have all guy “Broga” classes?

Comment by Kester — April 11, 2012 @ 9:23 am


I think this guy qualifies as more of a bro hipster combo, or a broster if you will. Bros don’t do yoga, come on now.

Comment by Tim — August 1, 2012 @ 5:04 am


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