broga | for downward facing dudes
posted: September 20, 2013
“Men need a form of yoga that they don’t feel intimidated by from the start,” said Matthew Miller, co-founder of Broga. “But at the same time they need to feel challenged by it.”
The former American football star and super heavyweight body building champion, aka Matt Miller the Piller, is now a yoga-loving lululemon ambassador.
Once he was asked to become an ambassador, Matt decided he needed to start doing yoga on a weekly basis. His muscles were desperate for the kind of opening and stretching that yoga would provide. He met London-based yoga instructor, Rachel Okimo, after they were chosen as the first London brand ambassadors for lululemon. They hit if off immediately: He trained her and she helped him with his yoga practice and together the pair co-founded the business. That’s how Broga was born.
They created a strong, intense and challenging workout that’s as manly as the name sounds. Broga classes are most definitely intended for bros, and with that the pair are quickly smashing the ‘yoga is for girls’ myth.
The hour-long class of accessible, yoga-inspired poses not only compliments any athletic training regime, but also challenges the body in new ways. Participants use and develop strength, stamina, and flexibility from the very first class.
The class structure is very familiar to an athlete: it begins with a dynamic warm-up, moves to a serious strength building section on a specific part of the body and then deconstructs that same area by opening it up and challenging it to stretch. The movements are also familiar to an athlete because each pose is done repetitively and builds on the previous pose.
Broga breaks down into a unique syllabus of four workouts each addressing a specific problem area, which are devised by Rachel. Each workout is repeated four times which allows ‘brogis’ to improve each time they come to class, prepping them for the next workout in the series. “Participants progress further each time and learn to establish connections that open up typically tight areas like the chest, hips, and hamstrings,” said Matt.
It’s definitely grounded in traditional asanas but the difference between Matt’s classes and traditional styles of yoga is that Broga doesn’t immediately assume men are already flexible and open in these areas, it opens them gradually to that possibility. “I prefer to have participants building up to postures, doing prep work repetitively and correctly, than to have them attempt something the wrong way,” he said. “It is so much better when they didn’t even realize it was preparation and suddenly behold, a properly aligned warrior three.”
Broga can also help athletic performance by reducing incidence of injury caused by over tension in the muscles and connective tissues. Matt says they use a mind-body connection to teach athletes to be more aware and in control of their physical body. “In effect, we’re teaching how to enter into that elusive zone reached in sport.” he said “There are such strong similarities to being in an athletic zone and a meditative yogic state.”
Broga was designed for the male athlete, but it’s also a killer workout for women. “I love women in a Broga class, they are usually a specific type of women: accomplished and comfortable yoginis looking for a strength-building and toning workout,” said Matt. “Women have the flexibility that guys lack, but the physical power aspect of Broga challenges them – I am often cursed at later for inflicting two to three days of delayed onset muscle soreness.”
So come armed with a towel, some water and an open mind to explore your body in a different way than your other strength training. “You will feel like you lived, and you made it through, and it was worth it.”
Classes are taught Blue Cow Yoga in Moorgate, City Athletic in The City, The Third Space in Soho, Yoga Haven in Clapham, Evolve Wellness Center in South Kensington and various Gymbox locations around London.
Find out when and where to get your Broga on with Matt here.