Sport Thursday, November 3rd Words by: Adam Knight, pictures by: Adam Knight

What is Broga (and how can I)?

Sport Thursday, November 3rd

What is Broga (and how can I)?

Put simply, Broga is Bro yoga. Yoga for bros. It’s a guys-only class that’s just started as a means to get more men involved in yoga.

Yet despite the mix of footballers, rugby players and middle-aged men in middle-aged running shorts that it attracts, the new class, based in Hereford, is not some Bro-fest whereby participants do headstands to Avicii tunes, while a projector streams videos from the LADBible.

Ross Powell, himself a former footballer, has found in yoga a balance that helps him feel grounded in the world, and specifically, in Hereford.

His classes reflect that. Unafraid of embracing the authentic – Ross has recently returned from a month in Goa, spent staring at flames and diving deeper in to the tradition of India’s second-favourite export – his style goes beyond that of a souped-up stretch class, but lands close enough to home to be the perfect starting place for any guys looking to unroll their mat for the first time.



IMG 4451 2

If he’s not the first footballer, or sportsman, to see the value in balancing those hours spent out on the training ground, or pushing weights, with the low-impact workout yoga provides, he is also not shy in talking about the benefits to mental health of setting aside some time each week to practice.

To be able to that with a community of other guys – at a time when we are hearing more and more about the dangers of men closing themselves off – is an interesting idea.

Here’s Ross’ take on why more men should do yoga, how he got started, and what it’s like to pour water through your nostrils in the name of karma (this doesn’t happen in the class).


What are the big things stopping guys from getting involved?

Ross Powell: The barrier for males is often that you might feel a little embarrassed. For all these years, yoga’s been perceived as a female thing to do. So guys immediately – without having tried it – they think that because of what they’ve heard, what they’ve seen in the media. 

In a male-only class, you get a different energy. You get a bit of togetherness – you’re all masculine, you’re all guys. And there is generally a common denominator of lower back stiffness, hips, hamstrings – so a class dedicated towards men can hit those areas as well. If you can loosen those areas up a lot, other areas can become supple quite quickly, other positions open up.

Psychologically I think men can be more comfortable in that environment to perform those positions.

I think it’s a more comfortable entry-level for males to get in to the practice.

IMG 4456 2

What can guys Brogis expect from their first class?

Ross Powell: When you walk out, it’s a totally different feeling to when you spent an hour pushing weights or down the track or whatever – you feel re-energized,  relaxed, but you know you’ve worked.

You’re not going to have the intensity of a Crossfit session – it’s a different thing, that’s the ying and yang. That’s the balance.

But it’s an all-over body workout. You’re going to be able to tone all parts of your body and you’re going to be able to breathe properly. You’re going to get stronger, more flexible, and take some coping strategies out in to the world with you.


Coping strategies?

Ross Powell: I think there’s a lot of blokes out there with low self-esteem, with depression, who don’t want to open out – we could create a community here of people who want to come and find the mental benefits in a more comfortable setting, alongside the sportsmen who want to come and stretch out and reap the benefits physically.  We can help all kinds of people find a community, a group.

IMG 4439 2


What's the approach like to yoga in India?

Ross Powell: In India, yoga’s in their school curriculum. Because it’s implemented from an early age, you don’t have that difference in gender balance later on. And it’s something that’s passed on down the generations over there.

Of our three instructors in Goa, all different in their ways, but all were male. One of them was teaching us things passed down from his grandfather. These guys never have any trouble sleeping at night.

The authentic experience you get in Goa is like nowhere else in the world. To be able to experience it there is something very special. We were doing some pretty 'out there' stuff - we had to do these cleanses, one of them was staring solidly at an open flame to cleanse your eyeballs, and another involved pouring water from a lamp in to one nostril until it came out the other one.


How did you get in to it yourself at the start?

Ross Powell: I got back from doing my Sports Science degree at Cardiff – down there I had my football, and I was djing, I had all sorts going on – and I got back and I didn’t know what to do. I felt myself getting closed in.

All my friends had fanned out all over the place, so I started to read these mindfulness books because I found myself getting pretty low, but I couldn’t really pinpoint why or what was happening. I was lost.

They helped me be a bit more in the moment, a bit more present, a bit more mindful of what’s going on around you and I realised that all these elements and principles of philosophy were pointing towards one area, and that was yoga.

At that point I had never taken a yoga class. I went to my first one and enjoyed it and enjoyed how I left it feeling. From there, I started broadening my knowledge, using apps at home to practice, Youtube, everything I could try.

Like anything it’s a discipline. You reap the benefits over time. You feel you’re able to sit for longer, or to stretch down further. It’s an amazing feeling. This was the first thing since I started playing football that I got a passion for.

I was at Homer Park at the time taking classes and I just thought, ‘I’m not happy enough’ – and I wanted a bigger percentage of my week doing what I was passionate about. I feel like I want to help people. That’s my motivation. 

Now I’m creating this base where I’ve got my own classes three times a week - which is nice. But I’m going to client's houses teaching yoga 1-on-1 as a PT and I'm looking at going in to schools, going in to sports teams and teaching a group at a time and see how they take to it as more of a mobility session – it doesn’t have to be the entire authentic experience- purely the physical, the stretching out part of it.

I’m teaching down the SAS camp this week, which is going to be cool – teaching all the squaddies. Both that mental and physical side suits so many people. I get excited talking about because I can’t believe I haven’t been doing it my entire life. 


IMG 4445 2


Ross currently runs classes from a studio based at Café Miro on St Owen's St, Hereford. Broga is Wed night, mixed classes are on Tues and Friday - all 6pm -7pm.

For more info, or to get in touch, check out his Facebook page here - or drop him an email on

Do you want to write for Herefordshire Live? Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or say