Q&A: Do I need special yoga clothes?

A common question from beginners before their first class is regarding what yoga clothes to wear. Can I use something I already have in my wardrobe, or do I need to buy something specific? Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts for what to wear for maximum comfort and effectiveness during practice.


Yoga clothes

These days, there is an extensive range of specially designed yoga clothes available to buy in the shops and online. They aim to provide the best comfort and flexibility so during your yoga class or home session you can really focus on what’s important – the yoga!

However, it is important to note that it is not essential to invest in anything new; it is highly likely you will be able to dig something suitable out of your wardrobe.

Learn from these DO’s and DON’Ts when choosing your yoga clothes.


Easy movement is key

Clothes that hug your natural body shape but allow room for movement are preferable to clothes that are overly tight. Stretchable or lycra yoga pants and yoga tops are therefore a good choice, ensuring you have a full range of motion.

Also, clothes tops and bottoms that are too short can end up revealing too much when getting into particular yoga poses; you don’t want to be constantly tugging at your clothes for fear of showing off too much to your fellow yogis! Something with modest coverage will help keep your mind on the yoga.

DO

  • Opt for stretchable fabric that fits your natural body shape
  • Wear clothes with modest coverage to avoid anxiety
  • Remember bra support, for women

DON’T

  • Choose tops or pants that are too tight and restrict movement
  • Wear shorts or tops that are too short
  • Opt for tops with too low neckline

Loose yoga clothes can cause issues too

Whilst it is important to be able to move easily in the clothes you choose, if they are too loose they could also cause problems. No one wants to “flash a butt crack” to the mat behind during a downward dog, or constantly be fighting lots of fabric during inversions!

Choose yoga pants with an elastic waist for maximum peace of mind, and if you choose bottoms that are looser around the hips and thighs, elasticated knees or ankles will help keep the rest of the trouser in place whilst you are moving freely.

DO 

  • Choose yoga pants with an elastic waist
  • Choose long vest tops that are fitted around the waist and hips


DON’T

  • Wear pants with a drawstring waist, as they can be uncomfortable when lying tummy-down
  • Wear T-shirts that are not fitted
  • Opt for floaty clothes that will get you tangled up

 


Avoid excessive sweat discomfort

Yoga can get very sweaty and depending on how much you sweat naturally will also have an impact. It is likely that no-one else will give a second thought to it, but it may cause a reason for you to be anxious, or just plain uncomfortable.

Apart from the way it looks, sweat can also cause your skin to rub against your clothing that can in turn lead to rashes and itching, so it is best to choose clothes made from fabric that prevents this.

DO

  • Choose darker coloured clothes if you sweat a lot
  • Choose yoga tops with open armpits to avoid sweat patches and rubbing
  • Opt for clothes made from breathable fabric such as organic cotton


DON’T 

  • Wear thin or very light clothing if you sweat a lot, particularly pants or shorts
  • Wear yoga clothing made from heavy fabric

 


Layer your yoga clothes

In a single yoga class you can go from being a comfortable regular body temperature to excessively hot and a little shivery, as you go through the motions of warm up to cool down.

Therefore, a good idea is to layer your yoga clothing so you can actually remove layers throughout the session and then put them back on, as and when necessary.

DO

  • Remember that during a cool down you may get chilly as your body temperature drops – take an extra layer to pop on at the end of class, during the relaxation or meditation
  • Bring at least a thin layer to wear after class, even on a hot day, as fluctuations in temperature can be bad for your body.


DON’T

  • Wear clothes that are going to make you uncomfortably hot during a class – opt for several thin layers so you can see how your body adjusts

 


Be yourself – choose yoga clothes to reflect who you are

Yoga is an opportunity for you to find out more about who you really are, so this can also be reflected in the yoga clothes you wear.

If you love to be bold then splash that colour around and wear something bright and beautiful. Or if a particular fabric makes you feel at peace then try and incorporate this, even if it isn’t part of the main attire – opt for a silk head scarf or some organic cotton trousers.

DO

  • Indulge in the colours and fabrics you like to wear


DON’T

  • Follow the crowd – let yoga be a way for you to express yourself!