Yes, true yoga doesn’t care about what you wear to class. In fact, it is not uncommon to see photos of Gurus sitting around in loincloth type things, but sometimes I do think about clothes and fashion. It’s difficult not to when you’re trying to balance in dancer’s pose and right there, in your line of vision is someone’s bits hanging out of their tiny yoga pants. Sure it’s not supposed to matter and it’s all about focusing on the self, but we’re all (well I am) only human, and even though you’re comfortable with your bits hanging out, other people in the class might not be. And let’s be honest, sometimes, it can get intimate enough without throwing nudity in there too.
So here are some tips because believe me, I’ve seen a lot in a yoga class, and I mean a lot!
Check your crotch… Those leggings you wear under your dress might not work in a yoga situation as they get rather thin around the crotch when you stretch. Believe me, when you go into happy baby, or standing forward fold, people can tell the colour of your undies, the style and even if you’re not wearing any. Tip – patterned pants are actually better at hiding unnecessary sights.
Loose is not always best… Sure, it’s healthy to let things down there breathe once in a while, but perhaps try sitting in baddhakonasana in front of a mirror and you’ll see what others can see when you’re lying there in supta baddhakonasana.
A sports bra is a good idea… This is personal experience which is embarrassing but I’m willing to sacrifice my dignity so it doesn’t happen to anyone else. In my early days practicing, I would do so in a tank top and a bra. I mean, this is yoga right? And I’m not dangerously massive in the boobage department so what could go wrong right? Well, wrong. I went into a downward facing dog, and peekaboo, a whole boob had decided to breathe itself out. Needless to say, I always, always make sure things are properly tucked in now.
Size matters… Even in yoga there we do tend to compare ourselves with the tiny person in the class, but there is no point getting a top which is a size smaller if you end up not being able to breathe. It is actually stressful enough with the heat and trying to keep up with the poses, and not being able to breathe properly actually will affect your practice. Nobody knows what size your top is apart from you and the sales person. And that hot yogadude? Well, he’s into acceptance. If he can calmly sit in a class where girls are regularly breaking down in tears, the size of your clothes won’t matter.
Save ‘hanging out’ for other times… Please, stay clear of the loose floaty shorts. You can wear them to basketball if you enjoy a bit of bounce, but not to yoga. And for the love of God, please don’t ever wear them to class without underwear. When people stand behind you in airplane, they see the entire lay of the land, and don’t even think of supta baddhakonasana! Sometimes the heat and general lethargy makes it really hard to concentrate as it is, and seeing things we shouldn’t really doesn’t help.
People know you want to keep things in place but… sometimes your pants are too tight. Yes, you are God’s miracle and we know it, we just don’t need to be reminded of it in every bridge, wheel, camel and reclining hero.
Those tiny Bikram pants or budgie smugglers… Might be great in 40 degree heat, but they don’t exactly stay in place when you’re in poses like Natarajasana. Nuff said.
If you still love your tiny pants and don’t want to give them up, then maybe a G-string or a thong? Just something to hold the bits in place, for the sake of the person who is having a hard enough time as it is trying to centre and balance.
Taking your tops off is fine in most cases but maybe might be overkill in a yin or meditation class. Again, we know you are God’s beautiful miracle, but perhaps allow for the opportunity to connect with God (or any higher power) instead of your gorgeous chaturanga pecs in the slower classes? Most of the people who come in are just starting to work into this area and believe me, starting a meditation practice is hard enough without the distraction of your beauty.
Guys and girls
The colour of what you wear says a lot… especially if it’s a heated class where you’re sweating. Believe me, it tells people almost everything. As a friend of mine said, “are you trying to say white and sweat don’t mix- or in actual fact they do a little too well and transparency follows- so it might be a shade to avoid?”
I love yoga a lot more than I love fashion but the thing about yoga becoming more and more popular is that there are more and more things available for various yoga practices. Although it’s not about brands, the availability of them does make it easier for us modern day yogis and yoginis. Brands like Lululemon Athletica (apart from that one see thru fiasco), Onzie, Lorna Jane, Liquido Active and so many more make clothes to keep the important bits covered so that you can practice comfortably. Even your trusty trackies will work as long as you’re comfortable and things are held in place. The important thing is to choose what you’re wearing based on what you’re practicing be it a strong flowing practice in a heated room or a more static practice.
If you have anything to add to this list, please do so in the comments box.
And check out some of these amazing teachers, they’re dressed 🙂
Edits by the Shunti Sisters