FITNESS

Yoga For Men: This Singaporean Shares How It Builds Muscle Tone

  • He Swopped A Life At Sea To Go Full-Time Into Yoga
    1 / 5 He Swopped A Life At Sea To Go Full-Time Into Yoga

    Ex-Navy Officer Brandon Chong is on a mission. The 27-year-old wants you to know that real men do yoga. In fact, the founder of Instiinct Studios is on a mission to spread the word that #sgbrogis is a thing guys should add to their Instagram feed. He shares with Men’s Health why guys should start swarming yoga classes, and what results to expect.

    “When I was still a Naval Officer, I would go to different yoga studios in Singapore around twice a week. But when we were travelling for weeks at sea, I would take my yoga mat to my room, watch yoga videos and practice. Every time we docked, I would practice.

    When my bond ended after five years in the Navy, I realised that it was time for a change. I already knew then that there was so much more that I could do, and I needed to do something every day that motivates me. So I gave up the job, and the next day I went to India for a month of teacher training in an Ashram. I wanted to stay away from the over-commercialised aspect of yoga, really get down to the basics and have an authentic experience away from social media and distractions. I came back to Singapore in 2016 and started teaching, and after five months opened my own yoga studio, Instiinct Studios, in January 2017.”

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  • He Never Saw Yoga As A "Girly" Sport
    2 / 5 He Never Saw Yoga As A "Girly" Sport

    “I’ve always been interested in movement, and was a competitive Latin dancer when I was 18. And when I watched YouTube videos on yoga, I saw that there were a lot of guys who were practicing. So I wasn’t fazed when my female friend brought me to a hot yoga class. Then, I was 22 and in my second year of training as a Naval Officer.

    I went along thinking that yoga was about flexibility and lines, but it turned out to be a lot more challenging. Because the workout was about strengthening and engaging the muscles, my whole perspective was changed. I remember thinking, “This is shiok. I want to do it again!””

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  • The Tangible Results Were What Fuelled Him
    3 / 5 The Tangible Results Were What Fuelled Him

    “At my first class, I couldn’t even touch my toes. But within one and a half month of daily practice, I managed to touch them – and now, I can kiss my knees. I saw a crazy amount of growth in the first year – it’s about just practicing every day, even if it’s just five minutes.

    In terms of physical results, you can see your muscles becoming more toned, and you get better body awareness. I remember not training for my IPPT and seeing a big difference in my results, just because yoga made me more aware of my breathing and my body movements. I realised, hey, my practice is actually functional.”

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  • He Started Instiinct To Change Gender Stereotypes
    4 / 5 He Started Instiinct To Change Gender Stereotypes

    “When I came back from India, I came across an online group of guys who practice yoga. And I thought, I really want to make #sgbrogis come to life. So when I started Instiinct, I started hiring male instructors – at one point, we only an all-male teaching staff! Now, we have a mix of both genders.

    I wanted my studio to be gender neutral, with darker walls and a wide range of classes like power yoga and high intensity classes. Two years ago you wouldn’t have a male instructor teaching your class. Today, 20 to 40 percent of our classes would be made up of men, and I see more local men going for instructor training, which is amazing.”

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  • Yogis Don't Just Do Yoga
    5 / 5 Yogis Don't Just Do Yoga

    “If you stick to one workout, whatever sport you’re doing, it’ll get monotonous and you’ll plateau. Other than yoga, I do HIIT, strength training, run twice a week and try to swim weekly as well. I also do a lot of mindfulness exercises and meditation to stay sane.
    It’s really about balance. Even with food, I still love fried food and drink wine – I’m even up for beer yoga! You just have to listen to your body and stay mindful.”

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    By Clara How, images from Brandon Chong

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