Broga. Yoga for bros. Only there are women here too. I’m confused.
Turns out I shouldn’t be as it’s all very simple according to my class’s teacher, Matt Miller – it’s simply a form of the hugely popular exercise geared towards (though not exclusively) men with an emphasis on strength.
Furthermore Broga requires no experience whatsoever which is handy seeing as I’m not particularly strong, I can’t even touch my toes and have never tried any form of yoga in my life.
Not just for ex-military types
Miller is a college American football star turned bodybuilder and nutrition expert and is so impossibly ripped he looks like he could crush me with one hand.
Fortunately he’s incredibly nice and eases the newbies into the session with a little explanation of what Broga is about.
Miller is on a mission to smash the “yoga is for girls” myth, and is a strong advocate of male athletes using yoga practice to improve themselves while at the same time preventing injury and generally becoming better athletes.
So what’s it like?
Well, the first thing Miller does turn the air-conditioning off. We’re not talking Bikram hot but the studio is soon warming up nicely.
Believe it or not, this is doable
Then we begin. And instantly I realise all those pictures of people serenely holding yoga poses while looking like they’re the most relaxed people on Earth are utter bollocks.
Yoga is hard. Within minutes my amateur attempt at a downward facing dog is thwarted by hands so sweaty even a rubber mat can’t grip me.
We go through a number of poses whose names I can’t remember but the next day will be able to identify by which of my limbs I can’t move as a result of them.
The session is 55 minutes long and this particular one concentrates on the back. This covers a variety of poses including bridge pose, variations on the plank and even (which I somehow managed) a bow pose.
You see, this is the great thing about Broga, you’ll surprise yourself.
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I still can’t touch my toes but I go through a taxing workout as a complete yoga virgin and do – more or less – all of the exercises with only minimal cursing.
Admittedly, I was a little intimidated by the class before I went as I expected a room full of toned yogis scratching the back of their necks with their little toes. I even wore tracksuit bottoms so embarrassed by my pasty white pins in a room full of the bronzed types that seem to frequent Soho Gyms.
But I needn’t have worried – by halfway through everyone is struggling so much to avoid the puddles of sweat building up around their mats no one has time to notice anyone else.
The culmination of the session is a full upward bow pose with the assistance of a hastily met partner.
After apologising for having to grip onto the sweatiest body he’s had to touch in a public place I blow my own mind by pulling it off without dislodging a single vertebrae.
Broga is available at SoHo Gyms