What do you wear to yoga
Your yoga practice deserves the right clothingIf you're new to yoga, or are starting a new practice after some time away, there are choices to make. Which form of yoga will work best for you? What kind of mat do you need? And then there's the question of what do you wear to yoga to make it the best experience?
Many yoga newbies are surprised to learn that the yoga clothing you wear can seriously impact the quality of your experience ... and in some cases, the experience of your classmates. This is especially true for people who are used to the t-shirt and whatever attire in gyms.
As a long-time yoga practioner, I'd hate to think of someone giving up on yoga because their clothes got in the way. So to get your practice off on the right foot, here's what you need to know before the first Sun Salutation.
On the bottom
I have to say this, yoga pants are not sweat pants. Yes, they are both comfortable and allow easy movement. Both are sold in some athletic stores and may even come in the same colors. But that's where the similarity ends.
Sweatpants are thick and loose, designed to keep a wearer warm ... or to prevent them from getting a chill after a strenuous workout. Yoga pants, on the other hand, are lightweight. They're designed to move with the body and not get in the way of movements or catch on your heel as you move from one position to another.
You can choose yoga pants in a variety of lengths, from all the way to the bottom of the foot to just below the knee. Properly fit, yoga pants should not bag or sag anywhere. But if you're self-concious about your body, start with a pair one size larger than normal -- but do make sure the waist fits well without binding. You won't be able to focus on asanas when your pants are uncomfortable, or slipping down!
Don't skimp on quality. Yes, some of the low-end discount stores sell "yoga pants." But odds are they're more for fashion and won't last more than a class or two. Buy the best you can afford, and avoid an embarrassing "exposure" in the middle of Triangle Pose.
Tops for yoga
The yoga magazines love showing people in short tops peacefully holding a pose. But the truth is, most of us don't have the abs worthy of exposing to the world, much less a classmate standing about a foot away.
That means short tops might work for photo shoots, but probably not for real-life class.
What you will need is a top that will stay down during Down Facing Dog and in place in Tree Pose without impeding movement.
Yoga shirts made of quick-dry material are one option, especially for hot yoga. But any well-fitted but not tight short-sleeved shirt will work too. If you have a concern about your top sliding up during inversion poses, layer with a long slim tank top underneath. You can even tuck in the tank to keep it in place when the poses get complicated.
Traditionally, yoga is done barefoot. But for a variety of reasons from cold feet to concern about germs and fungus, many people would prefer to wear socks. But regular socks are slippery, and could be dangerous.
That's where sticky-bottomed or traction yoga socks can come in handy. Choose a style that allows toes to move separately for the best balance and control.
And about your hair ...
One final answer to the question of what do you wear to yoga class. If your hair is longer than chin length, you will want to include a hair tie in your yoga gear. It's no fun to try and watch your teacher through a fringe of sweaty hair. That's a problem that even the best of yoga clothes can't fix!