There are plenty of reasons why many of us are reluctant to take part in a yoga class, but chief among them is appearance. No one wants to look silly or foolish in front of others, especially in a new situation. It's a part of our deep-seated survival instinct - an avoidance of any situation in which we may appear vulnerable or unaware of our surroundings. It takes confidence to participate in a class where you are bending, stretching, and contorting around strangers. Even to the newbie, the poses seem intimidating, and gaining the courage to participate can feel challenging.
Overcoming that reluctance is a big step in your yoga journey, and we applaud anyone willing to put in that effort. But now, there is another challenge ahead for the naturally shy newcomer: What do you wear? It's an additional hurdle that prevents too many men and women from taking part in yoga. But it doesn't have to be this way. That's why we've created this guide that covers everything to wear to a yoga class, from head to toe.
There are two words you are going to see repeated throughout this article: lightweight and breathable. These are the two most important factors that should play into deciding on any article of clothing you wear to a yoga class. And though you'll want something that is comfortable, you'll also need clothing that provides you the proper support while working out.
So while you want something loose that allows for freedom of movement, also consider a top with a fit on the snugger side. That way, it will stay in place no matter what position you find yourself in. If you've ever done downward dog, you know how irritating it can be when your shirt flops in front of your face and makes it hard to breathe. Having a shirt with a snug fit will improve your overall performance and experience of the class.
When it comes to sports bras, you're going to want a bra with maximum support and total coverage. You'll also want to choose a style that can easily move with your body as you transition between different poses. Opt for simple designs that won't easily stretch or wear out, and choose high-quality materials whenever possible.
If you're practicing a more vigorous form of yoga, try to choose a sports bra that is breathable and designed to wick moisture from the skin. You will sweat in class, and the last thing you want is to suffer the chafing that comes with it. Keep this in mind during those hot yoga classes - you'll be glad you did.
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The most important feature in yoga pants: flexibility. You're certainly not going to show up to yoga class in a pair of old jeans. You want something that's going to allow for a complete range of movement, whether it's yoga pants, a pair of leggings, even a set of tech shorts. Just make sure you are wearing something that fits well and stretches with you. Materials for these bottoms can range from spandex to polyester to cotton. However, you want to ensure that the fit doesn't restrict your mobility. These fabrics should stay in place without riding up or getting bunched up where they shouldn't.
There are many different styles of yoga out there. Every one of them will make you sweat in places you may not expect. This includes the *ahem* groin and crotch regions. Here is where those two critical words come into play again: your underwear should be lightweight and breathable. Excess sweat in the private areas can become all too public, even in a pair of dark-colored yoga pants or leggings. Avoid cotton and opt instead for something that provides moisture management and won't weigh you down. You may want to consider going with trunks over briefs to keep chafing from becoming a serious problem for men.
Yoga is a rare form of exercise where it's generally safe to practice barefoot. However, it's not uncommon for people to wear socks during their practice. For the most part, it just comes down to a matter of personal preference. Some folks like socks, some go with bare feet. It all really depends on your level of comfort. For the more serious yogi, there are specially designed socks explicitly made for yoga. These yoga socks come equipped with little rubber studs for extra grip to keep you from slipping on your mat. The best socks also allow for your toes to stretch (you can even find socks with all five toes, resembling a glove), and they should wick moisture and breathe well.
How to Wear your Hair
You want to look good in yoga class, but your hair shouldn't be something you put much effort into. If you're doing the class right, chances are your hair is going to be completely messed up by the end. We already mentioned how much you might sweat, and there are many postures in which your head will rest against your mat. Anyone with long hair will need to tie it back into a bun or ponytail to keep it from hanging in your eyes and getting stuck to your face.
Related: How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn
Dressing for Hot Yoga
The heat in a hot yoga studio will be turned up to 105 degrees or hotter, and you can't practice naked no matter how much you may want to in the heat. Since you need to remain clothed, picking the right clothing to wear is essential. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: you want lightweight, breathable materials that are designed to absorb moisture away from the skin. You will probably want to avoid long sleeves and go with shorts over leggings or yoga pants. The goal here is comfort because it definitely won't be pleasant in that sweltering heat.
Before You Go
If you have workout clothes or running gear in which you already feel good, then you can easily wear these items to yoga. But if you're just getting started on a New Year's resolution or you want a fresh start on getting fit and healthy, remember to steer clear of baggy clothes, go for dependable materials that are built to last, and above all, make sure you're comfortable.
Looking for high quality yoga gear to assist you on your yoga journey? Check out the Yoga Society Shop.