My love of movement began at an early age…
…I played all the typical team sports from childhood through high school. I biked and skateboarded to and from school, around my neighborhood, hiked with my family, surfed and even took a few years of gymnastics.
Looking back, it seems that everything I did involved running, playing and moving in some capacity. I believe this established in me a solid foundation for a life filled with healthy activity, exercise and conscious living!
An active life wasn’t something I thought about consciously. I was active because it felt great, and I enjoyed it! It brought me happiness, and energy. And I felt a sense of freedom, contentment; I felt alive Looking at this through the lens of yoga, I would say I achieved states of pure bliss, or nirvana while playing. Some people may refer to this state as ‘the zone.’ Either way, it’s a state of mind or being, I have craved my whole life. And I’ve always known where and how to find it: in my body, on the field, in the ocean, pulling or pushing my body around in yoga and so on.
Around 1996/7, while living in NYC, I began to explore yoga classes. Every so often, because they were free at Crunch Fitness where I had a membership, I’d drop in. I began to enjoy this new modality of movement. As the years went on, my interest grew. I began to fully embrace a practice. Around 1999, in a small house where Sivananda classes were held, I got hooked. Yoga became an integral part of my life. I went to classes often, and our family trips were built around yoga, and tropical locations. Now at this point, not having a set focus on exactly ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’ (I was an aspiring actor for several years), and being pulled in the direction of yoga more and more, it felt natural to take a Yoga Teacher Training. Just like that, I was a yoga instructor.
…how I became a yoga teacher….
…I don’t have is an intense story about how I became a yoga teacher. I wasn’t injured and yoga saved my life. I wasn’t coming out of a dark time in my life and I found yoga. Nope, I simply found something that made me feel awesome and embraced it and do it without too much thought. It was all about how it felt in my body and my mind! Having my YTT, I began to think about teaching but I had no idea what it was I wanted, or had, to offer. I understood sequencing and basic yoga principles and philosophies, but was unsure about how to offer something people would embrace or enjoy … And, I was terrified of being in front of, and speaking to people! So where to begin?
Then I had an insight, an awareness that had been growing in my mind: why were there so little men in yoga classes and teacher trainings. In my experiences, Yoga was strongly dominated by women. Having zero to do with women (I love women), and everything to do with the question: where were all the men? And why were they missing out on this incredible way to care for their bodies, get in shape, and much more, I began talking with men.
They swore they would never step foot in a yoga studio for fear of feeling embarrassed, or of being ‘that guy’ in the back who couldn’t touch his toes, or they felt yoga benefitted only women and most likely was a waste of their time. Men don’t sit around and stretch for an hour, boring! With an understanding and sensitivity to this, and after good conversations with friends, Broga was conceived.
Gathering all of the yoga sequencing I’d learned in my YTT, drawing on years of my personal exercise experience and my certification by NASM for Functional Movement training, I began to create programming, content, a language, and an overall feeling and experience one could have in a Broga class. Broga couldn’t be boring, or focus too much on postures which required a ton of flexibility; instruction would need to employ a language relevant to the average guy’s life; and it would have to feel like a workout which would provide tangible results.
While doing everything I could to honor and respect the teachings of yoga, I began creating the Broga class I thought would work best—a combination of my hatha/vinyasa training, functional fitness postures and movements including lunges, squats, pushing, pulling, bending and twisting, and a form of cardio that was safe and still fit into the ‘yoga’ class but didn’t turn into a bootcamp situation. Breath awareness was important, as was a kick ass, inspiring playlist of songs that fit the moment of the class. I thought carefully about crafting language and intentions that promoted a man taking care of himself: reducing stress, healing his back, strengthening body and mind. I incorporated useful and relevant messages to remind men to pay attention and know that important things are being addressed during the class. Thus the results!
The very first Broga workshop/class…
… I taught was on Martha’s Vineyard on Feb 24th, 2009. I’ve been going steady ever since! Gradually, a brand was born with the help of a great biz partner, Adam, and others along the way. I’ve taught countless workshops, teacher trainings and classes around the world. I’ve met many amazing people and teachers, and others who have supported me throughout. It’s been so much fun. I’m so grateful for all the feedback, suggestions and tips received over the years. I’ve learned so much!
What’s become clear to me recently is this: the hours I’ve spent over the years playing basketball 3-5 hours a day, all the rounds of golf, the surf sessions, the gym and yoga time, the beach days/swimming, the backyard baseball and kickball games with my son and his friends, and (my all-time favorite fall activity) raking leaves onto a tarp to gather and dump them, and dragging my son Miles around the yard for fun while, in my mind, getting an awesome workout! What I’m getting at is that much of that time I would have some guilt in the back of my mind, like I should be doing something to further my career or build my business. What I now realize is it was all preparation and study for where I have been in my work the past few years and up to the present. It was absolutely NOT wasted time.
Activity was and always has been who I am, and how I choose to live my life. Now it is also how I have chosen to work, and to share the teachings of yoga. It is woven into everything I do in my life. I’m so happy that it was only a small voice of guilt, that it was not strong enough to dissuade me from doing what I love. If it had been stronger, who knows where I’d be now, or what I’d be doing.
For the past few years I have been looking to redefine and rebrand myself. As much as I am ‘The Broga Guy’ and absolutely love what I have worked hard to create (with a lot of help from others), Broga the company and brand I trademarked, co-founded, and created in 2008 is only a part of what I offer. While Broga has helped me grow, and has been an incredible stage upon which to strengthen my teaching, there are a lot of teachings and offerings I want to share which are not associated with Broga. They are simply by me, Robert Sidoti.
I am Robert Sidoti…
…a 48 year old man who has a lot to offer the world.I am passionate about the practice of yoga and can say with confidence. I am a skilled instructor who has spent thousands of hours honing my craft. I have the confidence and desire to work with people in ways that will help them, feel awesome, live pain free, love themselves more, and feel more connected to their purpose, passions, and so much more! In addition, I am a devoted father to a beautiful son, I am the son of two amazing parents (mother passed on), I am a boyfriend to a gorgeous and loving woman whom I love and adore, I am a fully dedicated ex-husband and co-parent with an incredible woman and lifelong friend, and I am a friend to the many people I love.
I am devoted to living the most awesome life possible, my Optimal Life, with humility, honesty, vulnerability, kindness and compassion to all; zero judgement of others; with a desire to evolve and learn everyday; and to share and serve whenever possible the gifts I’ve been blessed with, or have absorbed through hard work along the way! Life is way too short to hold on to regrets, anger, resentment and old stories!
Let’s do everything we can to take good care of ourselves with patience and dedicated focus, never succumbing to ‘hacks’ or shortcuts in any way at all. Do the daily work, keep it simple and balanced, and enjoy your life my friend :))
Thanks so much for taking the time to read! With respect and gratitude, Robert.