What should you wear to your first yoga class?
If you go to yoga on a regular basis, chances are you have your go-to yoga clothes that stretch and move with your body. If that’s you, then this article is not for you. This article is for all of you who might be thinking about taking a yoga class but maybe aren’t sure if tight yoga pants and a trendy top that sets you back $200 is really what you need.
For those of you who don’t know me, I love the bright colours and patterns that have shown up in the yoga clothing market. I love that feeling of putting on a pair of stretchy, bright, happy coloured pants that I know will make everyone smile when they see them (even if they’re laughing and thinking ‘I can’t believe she’s wearing those!’). Are these pants for everyone? Heck no! I get that some people try to tone down attention to certain part of their bodies or want to hide body parts they don’t love or want to slip into class unnoticed and the last thing that will help you accomplish this is a pair of neon coloured tye died yoga pants.
When looking at what to wear in yoga class you really have a few things to consider: Ability to move, your mental and physical comfort in the clothing, and how will it handle under stress (I’ll clarify that in a little bit).
I will start with ability to move. The reason yoga clothing and more specifically, form fitting clothing is great in yoga is because they move with you and you don’t get caught up in them. They simply do not hinder your ability to move into poses in class. When you think about what you would like to wear, will it be so loose that you’ll need to be adjusting or fixing it every ten minutes? Find form fitting and stretchy clothing that has capacity to stretch. Not all stretchy pants are created equal. Ladies, think of your slim fit stretchy jeans. These are not good for yoga. A stretchy legging has much more give and can accommodate the movement you are about to embark on in your practice.
Your mental and physical comfort in the clothing is also key. Can you do anything if you don’t feel good in your own skin? The answer is probably, but will you feel good doing it? Probably not. So find clothing that you can feel comfortable in. Don’t like form fitting clothes? That’s okay. You are still welcome in a yoga studio without tight fitting yoga clothing. Find some loose fitting jogging pants and a loose T-shirt and get yourself to yoga! The only recommendation I would make there is that if you are self conscious, you might want to tuck in your shirt to practice. You want to feel confident and capable in your yoga practice and if you are worried about any part of your skin n your stomach or back showing while you stay in downward dog, then you need to make sure you’ve tucked in at least part of your t-shirt before you begin. I have to take a moment for a quick side note here. I’m by no way saying you need to hide your body or be shameful of what you look like. YOU look amazing. You really do, all of you. The intention of this is not to make you feel embarrassed about your body at all. I promise. What I have seen sometimes with people who are new to yoga practice, they’re already extremely nervous about going to a new class and trying a new activity. They don’t know what to do or expect and then they aren’t comfortable in what they are wearing as well. I can’t take away the nerves that come with signing up for a new activity but I can help you go to your first class feeling comfortable in what you are wearing. Trust me, it can make a difference.
My third point about how clothing will handle things under stress is my favourite topic. There are lots of ways we can put our clothing in stressful situations. Here’s an example; wearing a low cut tank top to yoga can offer unnecessary stress on clothing. Every time you go into downward dog, your top has to hold you all in (ladies this is especially for you). So just make sure that your shirt has sufficient strength and amount of fabric to hold you in place. What else can be stressful for clothing? What if you buy pants that are not thick enough? I’m sure we all remember the big fiasco a few years ago with a certain brand of yoga pants that were see-through. It’s really hard to tell if your pants are thick enough to stretch out and hide what you have on (or don’t have on) underneath them. For this, I highly recommend the bend and check test with your friend. The next time you see a close friend and are wearing the pants you want to wear to yoga, jump in front of them and bend over. Ask them what they see! If your pants can handle the stress of being super stretched out when you bend over, then they will be great for yoga. As a yoga teacher, I’ve seen lots of things and I never know if I should tell someone I can see their bright orange underwear through their black pants or not. There are many brands of good pants out there that will pass the bend over test so do your research and buy a pair that you feel great in and that will cover what you don’t want seen.
The biggest thing is that you want to feel comfortable in your clothes so that they don’t distract you in your practice. One of the most common things I see as a yoga teacher is how distracting clothing can be. You get into downward dog and you have to keep pulling your shirt to cover your stomach, every time you stand up you need to adjust your top... these situations happen all the time but with the right clothing considerations, you can be free of these distractions. This freedom will allow you to get the most out of your practice.