Substituting ‘rock music for chanting in the safety zone’ of yoga

Yoga for men is a thing, if you hadn’t realized it by now. (We’ve posted a few times about it.) There’s Broga (we first mentioned it almost three years ago). Yoga for Jocks. And one that maybe is OK: Detox Retox. First you do yoga, by coincidence at a craft brewery. And then you taste some of that craft.

Almost invariably, the chanting is cut and rock music is in.

It’s all outlined in a story from this week at the Los Angeles Times. And I highlight it for a few bits of information it offers:

  • Lululemon plans dedicated men’s stores by 2016, which will open up a whole new opportunity for the company to say or do something offensive — if one can offend men. Maybe some sort of Girlie Man Shorts or ‘Lil Girl Tops?
  • Prana — which I happen to prefer to Lulu — also has expanded its men’s line. And next fall, Alo will relaunch a men’s line.
  • Broga expects to have 500 trained teachers by the end of the year. I wonder what that training involves. (They cost $395, according to the Broga website, and are specifically designed for guy’s needs…)

You also can read about burrito-designed yoga bags, the Yoga Joes that I avoided until now and much, much more. A little taste:

“Men are more interested in the flexibility and mobility benefits of yoga than ever before; it helps them in life and sports performance — better strides in running sports, better golf swings,” said Keith Irace, regional director of group fitness for Equinox fitness clubs. “There is also a desirable aesthetic benefit that’s attractive to men. A male yoga body is lean and defined.

“Men make up easily one-third of all [intermediate and advanced] yoga classes at Equinox, and the percentage is higher in some locations, like West Hollywood,” Irace said. “The high-male-attendance classes also happen to be male-instructed.”

But the chain has no plans to add classes that target guys.

“That would be gender-ist!” jokes West Coast Equinox spokeswoman Chelsea Hagler.

So it’s the flip side to this old nugget from Deepak Chopra.

Posted by Steve

Good thing or not? ‘Broga’ in the news

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of the media coverage I see about yoga is from local or small papers (and, of course, plenty of blogs). So I always think it’s a big noteworthy when a larger, more mainstream outlet highlights yoga.

Today’s bigger story is from the Boston Globe, the bigger of that city’s two papers. Of course, maybe we can argue whether it actually covers “yoga.” Because the subject matter is …

Broga.

Now, I suppose first I should say: Yeah, I wish I’d thought of that. Maybe the next big thing will be my idea. Anyway…

Despite my knee-jerk reaction, the founders of Broga insist they aren’t going “yoga-lite.” Here’s 41-year-old co-founder Robert Sidoti:

“This is not a dumbed down version of yoga. There’s a lot of movement linking the postures, but adding push-ups and variations of squats. People see the name ‘Broga’ and they think it’s just a bunch of idiots. But there’s integrity.’’

Hammering this point home seems to be the thrust of the article. (I assume Sidoti and his partner, Adam O’Neill, are pretty stoked with how it came out.) Of course, one person’s “not dumbed down” might be someone else’s “removing all the yoga from yoga”:

Sanskrit terms are avoided as much as possible, and poses are carefully explained.  “Broga offers a much more palatable introduction to yoga at a much more familiar level,’’ says O’Neill. “There aren’t a lot of esoteric yoga terms that are used. We move from the familiar to the unfamiliar.’’

Now, I understand there’s definitely a place for this. And I suppose one bottom line always comes down to: It’s better if more people are doing some kind of yoga than fewer are.

Right? Because, as I know first hand, even if there isn’t Sanskrit or other “yoga principles” involved, some of it might sneak through anyway. And I’m going to default to the categorical position that that is a good thing.

But “Broga,” along with all the other “-gas” out there — dogs, horses, paddleboards, etc. — does continue to cloud the meaning of what “yoga” is. I’m not even sure that “Hatha Yoga” is correct in most of these instances. Is it just the asanas? In these instances, it seems to be. But it feels like the naming genie is out of the bottle — can you imagine every yoga studio in the West replacing “yoga” with “asana,” as would probably be more correct. AsanaWorks — does it have the same ring?

Although “Hot Asana” kind of makes me giggle.

Posted by Steve