We try broga - yoga just for men

Broga at Auckland's True Yoga.
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Broga at Auckland's True Yoga.

Given yoga is a practise meant to open the body and clear the mind, is there purpose for a men's only version? Stephen Heard unearthed some activewear and embarked on a mission to find out more about the art of broga.

THE BASICS
While it may sound like a lads' night out fuelled on elbow bending, broga is simply: yoga for men. So why does the testosterone-fuelled gender need its own dedicated class? For Auckland's True Yoga, broga isn't strictly gender bias and welcomes lady friends in an opened armed tadasana pose. Instead, broga is for anyone after a more physical experience, something they might not necessarily get out of other styles like yin, naan or vinyasa. Each class aims to offer a full body workout through a combination of high-intensity cardio and traditional poses.

GIVING IT A BASH
My expectations were for a full blown sweat marathon and mannish changing room back slapping. Instead, the experience was equally calming and challenging. Like most yoga styles, breathing was a main focus. The process of concentrating on breath is insightful and something I would recommended to anyone. Traditional poses like downward facing dog and crow pose were interspersed with more demanding physical actions like planking and never-ending leg balancing. It tested my knowledge of anatomy and pulled focus on body parts that could perhaps do with some more attention. 

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WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT
If you're in limbo with a stale exercise programme, broga is a great alternative to change up your physical activity. The slow and controlled movements act as great rehabilitation for injury. According to broga co-creator Robert Sidoti, known health benefits include increased flexibility, as well as all the usual suspects you'll encounter with physical activity: increased energy, muscle strength and tone, a better metabolism, and when combined with the appropriate diet - weight loss. 

RISK RATING 
Not listening to your body and over-extension are prime leaders of injury. Before launching into that flying grasshopper pose, you should recognise your body's limitations and make sure you warm up through some light breathing and stretching. Also select classes that come under the guidance of an qualified yoga instructor.

ANY SURPRISES? 
Having not practised the discipline since obtaining a performing arts diploma over a decade ago, my bod is not quite as bendy as it used to be. Considering, it was surprising exactly how far I could flex. The feeling afterwards was a blissed-out rush. I walked out red faced and with a proper understanding of the word 'zen'.

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 - Sunday Star Times

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