February 1, 2011

Broga—Yoga for Bro’s.

Power Yoga has birthed a whole new breed of men who do yoga.

These men are not Yogis, they’re Brogis.

Beside catios, nothing is trendier than yoga

…right now—and thanks to the success of bandana enthusiast Baron Baptiste, “Power Yoga” studios are popping up in cities around the nation like Peet’s Coffee shops (Starbucks is a stretch.)  Maybe it’s the sweaty workout or maybe it’s the manliness of the word POWER, whatever the reason regular guys (Bro’s) everywhere are getting their Downward Dog on and creating a new breed of male yogi called, Brogi.

By “regular guy” I mean a man who doesn’t have beads in his hair, keep a “consciousness journal,” use the term “mindful” and eat kale, goji berries, maca powder and wheat grass on a regular basis or actually ever. Brogis eat real food, not raw food. They drink beer, not broth. A “green diet” for a Brogi is when he has a Caesar salad before his NY Strip. Eating “locally” means going to a pub within walking distance. A food-share is a plate of nachos or wings.

(NOTE: clicking on the links below will help explain this article a lot.)

Brogis are old school, not new age. Brogis spend the weekend in ski lodges, not sweat lodges. Brogis go to work seminars, not breathe-work seminars. Brogis seek counsel from golf coaches, not life coaches.  Brogis are not precious and emaciated, they don’t wear little shorts, shirts made from hemp, or have dragon tattoos. Brogi’s don’t join “Men’s Groups” to talk about their feelings with other guys but they often join men’s leagues to compete in sports with other guys.

You will never hear a Brogi employ the word Namaste unless he’s talking to a woman and mistakes the word as her last name. For example, “I’m sorry, did you say your name was Rachelle Namaste? Are you French?”

Brogis don’t “practice” yoga, they just do it. They don’t believe a workout will give them a spiritual experience or fix an identity crisis. They live in a world where problems are solved with solutions, not stretches. Brogis aren’t at the yoga studio to find themselves, they’re there to lose their hangover.

Brogis don’t wear jewelry, and if they did it wouldn’t be made out of wood or crystals. Brogis read the Wall Street Journal and Yoga Journal. They read the Wall Street Journal for news, and Yoga Journal for being romantic with themselves. Brogis are never perfect, but don’t pretend to be so. They’ll talk to you, not have a dialog. If you date a Brogi and it goes terribly wrong he won’t blame it on his Saturn’s return, unless his ex-girlfriend’s name is Saturn and she just returned from living in Australia.

Brogis don’t reek of Patchouli, but agree Axe is no better.

A Brogi will look you in the eye and tell you what he thinks, not gaze into the distance and tell you what to think.

Brogis love the yoga workout, but the yoga studio can be a confusing place filled with strange people and unusual sights, sounds and scents. Yoga is so mainstream now almost every style of yoga is offered at a local gym, but doing yoga in a gym is a bit of a canned experience, like praying at the chapel in the airport. So to help these Brogis navigate the strange world inside the yoga studio here is a cheat sheet.

Yoga Lingo:

Setting the intention: Often in the beginning of class, once the teacher has talked about him/herself for a good ten minutes that you’ll never get back they’ll tell you to “set your intention” for the class. This may seem odd since obviously your intention is to do some yoga. That’s why you just drove across town and paid to be there. “Setting the intention” in yoga-speak means getting psyched up, like listening to AC/DC in the locker room before taking the field to play in a sporting event.

Aum: Some teachers will make the class say Aum three times before class begins. This can be a little awkward, especially when only a few people join in. It can also be very funny when one of those new age yogi dudes Aum’s really loud and twice as long as everyone else. This may be some kind of hippy mating call, although it’s probably never worked. Feel free to mouth the words, like during the Lord’s prayer.

Namaste: Some yogis feel the need to greet fellow students by saying, “Namaste.” This is like the guy who goes to an Italian restaurant and orders in Italian even though he’s in an Olive Garden in Ohio. Consider his greeting a fist bump and look at him and say, “Hey.”

Shanti shanti shanti: If a yogi is really carried away with himself he might say goodbye to you with, “Shanti shanti shanti.” Basically he’s saying “Peace out.” Pretend not to hear him and keep walking out the door. If it’s a female yogi walk even faster because she probably considers herself a “Yoga Goddess.”

Perineum: Your taint.

Drishti: Many times during class the teacher will tell you to focus your drishti. Drishti means where you’re looking, which is most likely the perineum of the housewife in front of you.

Mala: A beaded necklace. Yogis wear malas as universally as people used to wear those yellow Livestrong bracelets before they lost their sizzle faster than bacon on ice and became not quite so dope.
Chaturanga: A pushup. Marines do more chaturangas than anyone.
Lululemon: Ralph Lauren
Kombucha: Red Bull with vodka
Yoga Journal: Victoria’s Secret catalog
Yogi Training: Golf camp
Teacher Training: Amway
Yogi Toes: Beer cozy
Cleanse: Crash diet

Yogalites and Yogalebrities

Yoga, just like every other fitness craze, has it’s own group of Yogalites and Yogalebrities who have their own dvd’s, clothing lines, studios, and some of them even go on tour. You’ll hear their names dropped around the studio a lot because regular yogis love to talk about the famous yogis they worked out with. So to help Brogis understand who these people are below are some comparisons of yogalebrities to celebrities.

Rodney Yee & Colleen Saidman : Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Baron Baptiste : Jayden Smith
Shiva Rea : A mix of Madonna and Ann Coulter
John Friend : Two parts Donald Trump, one part Jerry Garcia, with a sprinkle John Tesh on top.
Bikram Chodroy : Simon Cowell meets Archie bunker
Judith Lassiter : Tipper Gore (Both love censorship.)
Tara Stiles : Sarah Palin (Mavericks)
Seane Corne : Daryl Hannah (Activists)
Rainbeau Mars : David Beckham (Adidas sponsored Los Angelites)
Kathryn Budig : Pam Anderson  (Pam bared it all for PETA, Kathyn took it off for Toesox)
Amy Ippoliti: Rooney Mara (up and comer’s)
Sting: The lead singer of The Police

Yoga Places

As much as yogis like to brag about which yogalites and yogalebrities they’ve worked out with, they love even more to talk about the yoga places they’ve been. Two popular destinations that a Brogi may overhear yogis in the studio talking about are Kripalu, and Sivananda. Kripalu is home of the workshop junkies where people go to try to become a better person. It’s kinda the opposite of Las Vegas, although rumor has it what happens at Kripalu, stays at Kripalu. Sivananda is pure spiritual tourism where people wear robes and pretend to be a monk . . . for a week.

Yoga Teachers

Perhaps the most mind boggling aspect of working out at a yoga studio is the actual yoga teacher. Often these people are very young but speak with an incredible amount of authority on how to lead one’s life. Brogis, beware of preachiness from anyone, especially those who are younger than you or have more than two tattoos. If you happen to space out while they’re talking, don’t worry, their secret to success usually involves nothing more than breathing, which is pretty much mandatory for doing everything in life, except swimming underwater.

Yoga Breath

When it come to breathing yoga teachers have a funny understanding of how the breath works. For example, they’ll tell you “send your breath” to your thighs, or your back, maybe even your perineum. Brogis, if you can not do this do not despair. It’s impossible. Here’s how breathing actually works: air passes through your nose, goes past the epiglottis, into the trachea, through your vocal cords in the larynx until it reaches the bronchi. From the bronchi, air passes into each lung then follows narrower bronchioles to the alveoli, at which point it is diffused into the pulmonary capillary.

Yoga Asanas

Yoga teachers sometimes speak in Sanskrit. Don’t worry though, the studio didn’t just move through time and space to a remote village in India. You can still drink the water. Some teachers just really love them their Sanskrit, like the girl who goes to London for ten days and comes home with a British accent.

Yoga Music

The yoga studio introduces to a whole new style of music to a Brogi, unless his mother had a midlife crisis and happens to own some Krishna Das (real name: Jeffrey Kagel, from Long Island, NY.) The chants set to Top 40ish beats will probably stick in the Brogi’s head for the rest of the day or even longer, frustrating him to no end with odd words swirling in and out of his thoughts. Ironically most of this foreign music played in the studio is performed by middle aged white people from America who changed their names to something more “authentic.” Authenticity is very important to yogis. Just ask Jeff, I mean, “Krishna.”

Yoga Classes

Another hurdle for Brogis is understanding the various styles of yoga classes offered at their studio because often the studio’s class descriptions are written in yoga-speak rather than plain English. So here’s a simple breakdown of what a Brogi can expect at the following yoga classes.
Vinyasa: Like practicing a controlled fall or being drunk in front of your mom and trying to appear sober.
Ashtanga: Dinner at grandma’s.
Bikram: A flight to Tokyo with no air conditioning and a very confrontational flight attendant.
Kundalini: Lamaze class on acid with lots of singing.
Yin: Naptime. Best after a few hits of the Afghan Kush from your local dispensary.
Forest: Enduring a break up conversation with that girlfriend who “needs to talk.” Assume the position, you’ll be in it for awhile.
Jivamukti: Stepping into a foreign land.
Power yoga: Jane Fonda workout meets PX 90 meets Cirque to Soliel while listening to the soundtrack from glee in a sauna.

***NOTE: The actual style of these classes is bound to change to whatever whim your yoga teacher happens to be chasing that day. They may run the air conditioning when the room is supposed to be heated, or teach a level III Power Vinyassa class like a level I Yin. This can be frustrating, especially when you paid for a heated room and a tough workout. But don’t lose your cool, Brogi. Just do as your teacher tells you, and send your breath to your pulmonary capillary.

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