Thanks to social media, the market for leggings and sports bras continues to grow by the day. A quick search on Instagram will show you thousands if not millions of yogis showcasing their coordinated outfits. However, not all brands and products are made equally and you have to be careful in choosing the right gear with the help of these factors.
Material and comfort
The absolute no-nos when it comes to yoga wear are cotton, denim, and wool—they’re not made for physical activity, at least not the kind we want. Bamboo fabric have recently become popular and Shape explains that it’s due to its light, breathable, and moisture-wicking qualities. It can also be worn for other activities such as running which says a lot about its ability to control sweat and odor. Other worthy alternatives with similar features are nylon, polypropylene, tencel, and the classic spandex. The type of fabric used will affect your level of comfort in class. Check for breathability which is vital for more strenuous styles such as hot yoga. Again, it needs moisture-control so that the sweat doesn’t pool on your mat and cause you to slip out of poses.
Because yoga takes you through some very bendy poses, you need your pants and your top to get there with you. When fitting clothes, make sure to try a few poses in the fitting room to check their capacity to stretch. It might feel silly, but it’s better than hearing your pants rip while you attempt a wide-legged forward fold.
Another reason for trying out yoga clothes before you buy them is to check for the transparency. In 2013, Lululemon had to recall a bunch of yoga pants because they were a little too see-through. It can be really embarrassing for you and other practitioners as well if your undergarments are seen through sheer leggings while in a downward dog.
Fit and coverage
As we’ve said here on Yoga Lifestyles, loose tops can be annoying while you practice especially when you’re doing an inverted and it slides down to your head. Find well-fitting clothes that allow adequate mobility without being too flowy. It’s also important to think about coverage. Since you have to share the room with other people, make sure that your clothes aren’t too distracting. For instance, if your clothes are too brightly-colored or too revealing, it might take away from the practice of others.
Aside from the practical considerations, whether an outfit makes you feel good or not is also important. That affects your ability to practice or whether you show up to the mat at all. You can put on shapewear underneath, which can enhance your mobility and help you achieve proper form when doing bends. Woman Within has a variety of different types of shapewear that will go perfectly with regular yoga apparel such as high waist tummy control underwear and body-shaping tanks. This is especially beneficial for moms who are trying to get back in shape but need extra compression in their midsection as they recover from pregnancy-related conditions. Of course, make sure that they are stretchy and don’t constrict movement or inhibit your breathing.
Many people don’t really think about where their clothes come from but yoga is a lifestyle that practices non-violence. Yogapedia explains that this is ahimsa or non-violence, and it’s the most important of the five yamas that helps one lead a moral life. It talks about practicing non-violence towards oneself and other beings and that includes the environment. Do some research on how different clothing companies operate and check if they have sustainable practices, so that our quest to look good, feel comfortable and stay healthy is still in alignment with the principles of yoga.