Introducing broga, one of the Collins English Dictionary's top words of 2012 (it's up there with totes amazeballs, Gangnam Style, and fiscal cliff). In the United States, Broga is a trademarked technique developed by two yoga enthusiasts from Massachusetts, basically amounting to (you guessed it) yoga for bros. They're not the only ones creating classes built around poses for today's inflexible male. But is it a real phenomenon or just a meaningless buzz word like bromance or manscaping? Whether it's legit or not, it's popping up in yoga studios across the country, at places like the Cobra Club in Brooklyn and the Pad in San Francisco. But before you bend over backward for what might be a passing trend, we weigh the pros and cons of stretching it out with the boys.
No, Bro: Don't get us wrong—we totally support men doing yoga. It can help you de-stress after a long day at the office, make you more flexible, and help you build core strength. The question is, do men really need a no-girls-allowed class? Excuse us if we're cynical, but just slapping a "For Men" label on something doesn't necessarily mean it's any better for guys. Lots of men have been happily doing yoga in coed classes for years now. Why change things?
Bro for It: "Men tend to be tighter in their hamstrings and hips, plus their center of gravity is in a different place, so certain poses tend to be more difficult," says Nikki Koch, yoga instructor and co-owner of the Cobra Club. Once you remove those difficult poses—the idea goes—the class becomes a lot more man-friendly. Plus, beginners can feel pressured by women, trying to impress them instead of focusing on technique.
Aside from impressing hotties in tight pants, men also have other hang-ups when it comes to yoga. "A lot of guys think of themselves as being really inflexible," Koch says. "They're interested in yoga, but they're intimidated by it. They think they already have to be flexible to do well in a yoga class." Apparently, being around other men who can't touch their toes can do wonders for your confidence. The Cobra Club also posits that a truly respectable "brogram" wouldn't be complete without some cold brews, which is why it offers a variety of craft beers at the bar.
Verdict: While the term broga might seem ridiculous, anything that gets men off the couch and into a yoga studio seems like a good idea. A recent New York Times article, "Wounded Warrior Pose," claimed men are injuring themselves in yoga class by pushing themselves too far, too fast. If that's true, tailoring classes specifically to bros might not be the worst thing in the world.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him at @kwagstaff.
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