First things first, as we all know, yoga has absolutely nothing to do with fashion. We are meant to leave our egos at the door, shun all materialisms and have absolutely no desire to look good. Before you carry on reading this article there are two things I must share about myself:
- I’m as dedicated to my practice as the next yogi but, as a woman, I have an innate desire to look at, touch and ultimately, possess beautiful items of clothing.
- I’m a ‘mat fidgeter’; I pull up my yoga leggings, pull down my vest top, adjust the sleeves, remove items, add items, tuck and untuck my top and generally just fidget.
So, with my many years of experience fidgeting in the latest Lululemons I feel I’ve built up enough experience, both good and bad, to share with you my do’s and don’ts of yoga attire:
- Do check your leggings: A few months ago I bought the most beautiful pair of yoga leggings, they fit perfectly, felt luscious and were made from friggin’ bamboo! Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely it doesn’t get more ‘yoga’ than dressing in bamboo! I rocked up to my mat most days wearing my new, expensive, yoga leggings. I flowed through my practice in comfort as I could move so freely in them. How lucky am I! Two weeks in to a committed relationship with my new legging a casual comment from my dear mother made me instantly regret ever downward doggin’ in these bamboo pants: ‘You do know those leggings are see-through, don’t you’. Lesson number 1 fellow yogi; always, always, always check the visibility levels of your yoga leggings before attempting to touch your toes! If anybody wants to see your bare arse in class than I suggest you move your mat (note: apologies to the poor teacher that taught me during my bamboo phase).
- Do layer up: The problem with yoga clothing is you don’t actually know how good it is until you practice in it, and unfortunately that means buying it first. My biggest bug bare on the mat is a top that rides up. The number of times I’ve been in downward dog with my stomach declaring itself to the world and a t-shirt over my head makes me want to scream! I found the easiest way around this is to wear a really tight longline vest top and layer looser items over the top. This way you can remove any annoyances throughout your practice and your tummy will remain well and truly under wraps. Phew!
- Don’t be afraid of colour: As the popularity of Western yoga continues to grow the array of yoga clothing lines popping up are endless. Luckily for us yogis this means endless choice. We could spend hours flicking through online stores, perusing leggings, vests and wrap tops in a multitude of colours, the brightest, wackiest leggings you’ll ever see (leggings you probably wouldn’t wear in the local supermarket) and for some reason, yogis love them. As I stand on my mat in head to toe black I glance around the classroom and realise one thing, my yoga attire is boring. So, the next time you’re unsure whether to buy those stripy turquoise leggings I say ‘go for it’, bring the brightness to your next class! As for me, I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour.
- Don’t feel the need to accessorise: There is something built in to us women that makes us want to accessorise absolutely everything, including our yoga attire. I’ve never really bought into the idea of mala beads (that tasselly thing just tickles), I never want to understand what ‘Chakra Jewellery’ is (I don’t think my chakra’s need jewelling) and, try as I might, I will never be the kind of girl who can pull off an anklet or a toe ring. I guess I’m just not cut out for this effortlessly cool bohemian look many yogis are able to achieve. As much as these accessories look pretty, they probably aren’t needed on your mat. I once wore tiny stud earrings during practice and when I went into Padangusthasana my plaited hair wrapped around the stud, got tangled and then pinged my earring across the classroom floor, never to be see again. So, if you’re fond of keeping your accessories take them off before you practice!
- Do keep your clothes on: Okay so this one is more for the guys but as summertime is upon us and the weather heats up our yoga practice gets sweatier. We feel your pain guys, us girls are hot and sweaty too but never have we decided to do our practice topless (sorry!). I’ve been in a few classes lately in which the guys have given up on clothing completely and, as much as we admire your chiselled torso flowing through the standing postures its really bloody distracting! So for the spiritual benefit of the ladies in the room, please wear a vest.
At the end of the day the only thing that really matters when you step on your mat is that you are comfortable and dedicated. Yes, your new vest top will look pretty but it won’t help you kick up into a handstand and your latest yoga leggings probably do make your arse look great but if they restrict your hip rotation what’s the point?
One a final note, if you ever see me in downward dog in see-through legging please let me know…