Can Broga make yoga bearable for men?
I am a beer-pounding,Â basketball-playing, weight-lifting, red-blooded male. Why, then, am I on all fours in a dimly lit studio, angling my inflexible body into backbends and cat stretches?
â€śItâ€™s like a fast-moving meditation,â€ť Broga founder Robert Sidoti explains as he leads me and 14 other pupils through a series of yoga poses interspersed with pushups and rapid-fire squats. â€śThe most important effort is to let go of the effort â€” which is hard to do, because we are such dudes!â€ť
Since April, Sidoti has been leading these weekly â€śbrogramsâ€ť at the Armory in Somerville. (He started the concept on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard in 2009 and still teaches classes there.) Demand has been so high that heâ€™s added a second Saturday session and started offering weekend retreats.
Iâ€™ve never been a fan of yoga. Twisting into awkward positions while enduring triple-digit temperatures and Enya tunes as a tree-hugging hippie urges me to â€śopen my mindâ€ť? Not for me. So although Sidoti says he seeks to remove yogaâ€™s â€śNew Age-y stigmasâ€ť and demonstrate its guy-friendly benefits, Iâ€™m skeptical when the class begins.
Our group, made up of young professionals, granola types, and even a few women, does some traditional poses, but the tricky toe touches and pretzel-shaped contortions I expect never come; instead, with its challenging upper-body and core exercises, Broga feels more like enlightened circuit training. Sidoti encourages students to do modified versions of the more intimidating moves, and (thankfully) avoids the pseudo-spiritual lingo.
Less than half an hour in, my shirt is soaked and Iâ€™m regretting the decision to â€śget into characterâ€ť by donning spandex shorts. My arms feel like rubber and my legs are in spasm. I know Iâ€™ll be too sore to make my usual Sunday weight-room session, but who cares? Downward dog is this manâ€™s new best friend.
$100 for ten 75-minute classes, or $15 per class (first class free); Somerville Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville,617-207-9374, brogayoga.com.Â Â
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2011/11/this-is-a-test-homme-stretch/