Why should you consider taking a Broga class?
There are many misconceptions surrounding yoga, not least that it is an activity in which only women take part. There is also the misconception that yoga is all about spirituality and chanting – yes that is all part of yoga, but how spiritual a yoga (or a Broga) session is, is solely down to personal choice.
And just because your hamstrings are tight does not mean you cannot do Yoga!
Finding the time for yoga or Broga
For many fitness enthusiasts the thought of doing yoga of any sort does not enter their radar. Whether it is because they have a full-on exercise regime that includes cardio, weights, spin classes and boxercise and they simply don’t feel able to fit any more in; whether they are time-starved and think an hour of stretching-type activity is just not achievable; or whether they simply fear the unknown – there are a myriad of reasons why people don’t do Yoga. And there are even more reasons why they should.
A relatively new kid on the block is Broga, which is a combination of stretching, strength work and yoga. The fitness website BrogaYoga describes it as “the best core-strengthening, muscle-toning, cardio-working, stress-reducing, clarity-enhancing yoga postures combined with functional fitness exercises for an amazing workout.”
More action, less meditation
The emphasis of Broga is more on hard physical work and much less on meditation than regular yoga. This is in recognition that not everyone is comfortable with combining spirituality and exercise. At the same time, Broga does introduce elements of a ‘healthy body/healthy mind’ concept as it links many of the health benefits of yoga to development of a strong core and toned muscles. “It is not so much about feeling your heart centre as feeling the stretch across your chest” is the response from personal trainer and Broga instructor Robert Sidothi when asked about the spiritual emphasis of yoga.
The physical benefits of Broga are are pretty much the same as traditional yoga. It enhances flexibility, strength, stamina, concentration, endurance, and athletic performance. It speeds up recovery and also improves range of balance, motion and mobility. The main difference between the two strands of yoga is that Broga is more about muscle toning and development. It is a bit like a continuous power sequence.
Not just for the boys
While one of the main aims of Broga was initially to bring yoga to a male audience, that is not to say that Broga is the exclusive preserve of men. 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, certainly many women find the focus on muscular toning a preferable option.
And what about the spirituality? The meditation? The chanting? Well, for many people who take up Broga for enhanced flexibility and body conditioning, the spirituality seems to follow on. One comment on the Broga official website said: “There’s a spirit in the room that makes me want more and more. It is an amazing experience.” Although the emphasis may be on the physical, by allowing their bodies to connect to their minds, many people are finding that Broga offers a means of de-stressing and relaxing, which eventually becomes an important part of their overall physical and mental fitness.