The Yoga Industrial Complex is a thing. There is an industry that wants to sell you leggings and sports bras and tops and special socks, and sweat-wicking headbands. There is also the implication that the only people who do yoga are tiny little women, if you look at the covers of yoga magazines, and Pinterest boards. Clothing sizes skew small for yoga clothes, and probably exercise clothes in general- I typically wear a “large” in shorts and skirts, but somehow for yoga leggings, I’m “extra-large.”
The thing is, you don’t have to spend money on special clothes for yoga. (An aside, I used to teach Spanish, and I didn’t let kids pick a “Spanish Name” for class, because it implied that if you went by a different name in Spanish class, you weren’t really you. I wanted people to feel like themselves, only speaking another language) If you have clothes that you can bend in, get down to the floor and then get back up in, then those are fine for yoga. A woman came to her first yoga class at our community a couple of months ago in baggy jeans and a tee shirt- she was comfortable, she could bend and get down to the floor and get back up. It was fine. After her first class, when she realized she liked it, she got some sweat pants so she could move her hips better, but she didn’t spend a fortune on workout clothes. Where I practice, the first class is free (that’s how we hook you!) so she wasn’t out any cash at all, if she had decided she didn’t like it.
I realize there are people out there who like to shop, who want to dress the part, and that is fine. That’s the thing, if you wake up and put on workout clothes, and then just go out for coffee, you look like an a-hole,, so wearing the clothes sometimes forces you to workout, so you don’t have that cognitive dissonance. So, here are some recommendations.
- As I said before, clothes you can bend over in, get onto the floor and then back up in are good.
2. A top that is tight enough not to fall onto your face when you are upside down- Downward facing dog is technically an inversion, and a lot of us feel bad about our bellies. (More about that in a future post) A top that flops down in your face and bares your tummy can make you feel awkward, and more concerned about covering up than being in the posture.
3. A decent bra, or top with a built-in bra. Gravity being what it is, being upside down can make other things flop in your face as well. A bra that keeps everything locked and loaded is a good idea.
4. Pants or leggings that have a fairly high waist- when I wear leggings that don’t come up to my belly button, I have to yank and tug whenever I come up to vertical. If you also do martial arts, you could wear the bottoms of your uniform. Depending on how hot the studio is, you might want to go with shorts, be aware of how they feel when you bend over at the waist and come back up.
No matter what you choose to wear, don’t make it about how you look to others- who cares about what other people think about your butt? Wear what you are comfortable in, and come have fun.