If you’re new to yoga and getting ready to walk into your first class, it’s completely normal to find yourself overwhelmed or confused about all the gear that’s available.
Or perhaps you already have an established practice and know your way around the mat — but are looking for ways to stretch your yoga wardrobe into other sports, activities or everyday life.
Newbie or seasoned yogi, we’ve got you covered either way with this complete guide to a well-dressed practice. Read on for tips to build a starter wardrobe and toolbox, as well as how to take your gear to the streets and beyond.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need some basic wardrobe items plus optional props in order to be successful at your new practice. Yoga is a discipline without judgment, so you are certainly free to wear any clothing you own that allows ease of movement, but most practitioners find gear designed specifically for yoga — and all its bends, inversions, twists and poses — to be the most comfortable. If you’re looking for something new, check out Gaiam yoga wear which is available at Kohls.
Yoga is practiced barefoot, so no need for shoes! However, you’ll want to explore the various options for pants and tops. There are several different styles available for you to choose from. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each.
Boot-cut: These are styled just like regular boot-cut pants or jeans, with a close fit through the thigh and flare at the bottom. The cut flatters most figures, but if you dislike loose fabric around the ankles when working out, avoid these!
Capri: Capris end either right below the knee or mid-calf and are great for hot yoga classes or any hot climate. Beware of scraping or rubbing exposed skin in the kneeling poses.
Leggings: These go all the way to your ankles in a close fit, revealing your shape from the waist down. If you are comfortable with the way they look on you, they can help your instructor see and correct your form.
Loose: A loose, gauzy or soft material is good for more modest practitioners and offers comfort and ease of movement. They may prove difficult for more active yoga classes, however, and are best reserved for gentle, Hatha, restorative/yin or Kundalini classes.
Wondering about undies? With all pant styles, the choice is up to you whether to wear underwear or not. Many practitioners skip them completely; others choose a thong to avoid panty lines. Do what feels right to you!
Although you may be tempted to go to yoga in your most comfy T-shirt, keep in mind that many yoga poses will cause loose shirts to flip around your ears! Instead, consider a top designed especially for your practice, or at the very least layer a sports bra under your tee.
Tanks: There are a variety of tanks for a variety of figures. You can choose anything from a tight-fitting tank to one with a longer, looser or blouson silhouette if you’re trying to camouflage trouble spots. Many tanks also have built-in shelf bras, which are extremely convenient but tend to work best for A- to B-cup women.
Sports bras: A sports bra will help everything stay in place and keep you comfortable. If you have a larger bust, consider a sports bra as a base with a tank layered on top. You can also layer a long-sleeved shirt on top of that if you want to feel extra warm and cozy.
A note: If you’re practicing bikram yoga (also known as “hot yoga”), you might be tempted to wear looser clothes, but those will quickly become bogged down with sweat and impede movement. Stick to leggings, capris and form-fitting tanks.
Props and Gear
When trying out yoga for the first time, it’s wise to try your studio’s gear first. Once you have an idea of what works for you, here are some common purchases, which you can tote to the studio or use to augment a home practice.
Don’t overspend: Yoga gear should be simple and not exorbitantly expensive. Straps and foam blocks are exactly what they sound like and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Mat: If you’ve decided yoga is for you, the first thing you will likely want to get is your own mat. Germaphobes will definitely want their own, rather than use a “public” mat (even at the cleanest studios)!
Grip socks: If going barefoot is not an option for you, try a pair of grippy socks. Regular socks may cause you to slip on the mat.
Hot yoga towel: If you like hot yoga, you’ll want a special towel to layer over your mat. No more slippin’ and slidin’ on the sweat!
Foam block: A block can help you reach certain poses and provide support as you develop your strength and flexibility.
Strap: Straps are also invaluable for stretching poses and preventing injuries.
Streaming yoga classes: If you can’t make it to the studio, purchase DVDs to practice at home or visit services such as Netflix for a challenging variety of streaming classes.
Enjoy your new practice! Namaste!
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Caitlin has made a career out of being a natural social butterfly. She holds a Masters in Global Strategic Communications from FIU and has a passion for connecting with the world at large through social media. She loves to spruce up her surroundings with DIY home projects, travel with her besties and meet new people during her adventures. Her newest favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day is with a good coloring book.