The main objective of choosing the right yoga wear is so you can just forget about it during yoga practice. At dawn, when the rest of the world is still and quiet, I reserve special yoga-time for a series of gentle Art of Living Yoga asanas, pranayamas (yoga breathing techniques) and meditation. It is a sacred two hours of peace before I start the day. Paying attention to simple details like which yoga clothes to wear helps to keep this time focused on what is most important – the yoga. A recent venture into Sarvangasana, (the upside down shoulder stand pose) was a funny picture of me wobbling all over, clutching at my t-shirt to keep it from engulfing my face. I decided to make a trip to the yoga clothing shop to find a better solution. Here is what I found out:
Secret #1: Be yourself.
Yoga practice is different from other kinds of workouts. It's not about the competition. It's not about opinions and beauty standards. Yoga is a process of getting to know oneself, however the journey may look like. You are invited to wear whatever makes you feel beautiful, gracious and honored. Have fun.
Secret #2: Choose yoga wear that hugs your body shape, and allows for easy movement.
Yoga tops: Choose yoga wear that is comfortable, with modest coverage that will not reveal too much. You won’t want to constantly tug at your clothes during yoga class. Stretchable cotton-blend tank tops or tees that hug the torso work well for both men and women. Avoid tops with loose necklines or collars; they get irritating during inversions, such as in my shoulder stand experience. Women should look for bra support built into a yoga top.
Choosing yoga pants: Yoga pants with an elastic waist and that conform to the body’s shape are best. For women, yoga pants are available with a foldable waist for extra comfort and warmth. Capri-style yoga pants are also popular for both men and women. Surfers won’t have to buy extra pants; men’s board shorts, the kind surfers wear to the beach, are long enough and look great.
Getting stylish: Yoga wear comes in a variety of natural fibers like organic cotton, bamboo and linen for eco-conscious yogis. Light colors and earthy tones harmonize well with yoga’s Zen effect. For fashion divas, yoga clothing can be found with design details like rhinestones, prints and embroidery.
Yoga wear to avoid: Beginners can feel just as comfortable as seasoned yogis by avoiding the following items: Overly loose pants can slide and get in the way of yoga poses. Drawstring pants are uncomfortable when lying on the stomach. Avoid wearing shorts because they can bunch up in upside-down poses.
Secret #3: Layering your yoga clothing beats yoga class microclimates.
Early morning yoga can get chilly before a warm-up. Likewise after a cool-down yoga sequence that leads into meditation. Some yoga classes share space in a gym where air conditioning is being used, sometimes at a low setting. To avoid the cold, wear yoga clothing in layers to stay cozy and warm. A wrap or lightweight wool shawl thrown over a light zip-up sweatshirt is as handy as your yoga mat. Plus, your shawl doubles as a blanket during yoga nidra, the lying-down relaxation. How’s that for efficiency?
Secret #4: With some skillful planning, yoga clothes can go from the yoga mat to the office.
It is no secret that yoga can benefit work life and relieve stress. As more businesses offer yoga at the workplace, employers have noticed the benefits, like higher employee satisfaction ratings and more productivity, but they don’t have to notice your yoga pants. Yoga pants are quietly showing up in business casual office wear for women.
Work-at-home entrepreneurs and executives who practice yoga have discovered that yoga pants are also perfect to wear to meetings, grocery shopping and picking up the kids. Transition yoga pants to office wear through pairing Secret #2 with some simple fashion know-how. Outside of yoga class, yoga pants are best incognito, so think of them as leggings. Yoga pants made of thicker fabrics like stretchy tweeds or structured knits also blend easily in the office. Wear a longer length top that layers over the waist, to the mid-thigh. Tunics look great, as well as loose sheath or A-line dresses in blends of cotton, linen or silk.
Remember that shawl I mentioned earlier? Well, here’s your chance to ensure your fashion-plate status at the office with this one accessory, so get creative. Throw on some jewelry and ballet flats or boots, and you’re ready for your next meeting off the mat.
(Marilyn is a yoga enthusiast who loves to incorporate her inspiration about yoga postures and spirituality into her writing and art.)
Read more quick yoga tips on effective yoga practice.