Starting a new class in any discipline can be nerve-wracking, without the added stress of what to wear. Social media platforms don’t exactly help because let’s be honest, the pictures of stick-thin women parading around in designer yoga wear isn’t the reality of most classes. In fact, you’ll find people of all shapes and sizes at a yoga class and guess what? They’re all wearing different outfits too. So there’s no set rule about what to wear, except that it should help you feel relaxed throughout the class. Clothes should be about comfort, rather than style and you certainly don’t need to spend vast amounts of money on a new wardrobe!
What to Wear to a Yoga Class
Yoga requires a lot of bending and stretching so you need clothes that allow free movement. Equally, you don’t want anything too loose that will bunch up, cover your face, expose your tummy, or get in the way. Clothing that rides up, can also be rather distracting and block your vision. Wearing something that stays put is best when it comes to yoga.
It’s also highly likely that you’re going to sweat, so go for light and breathable fabrics. This is where activewear or yoga wear can have an advantage as it’s specifically made with this in mind. This is especially true for Bikram (Hot) Yoga, where clothes that wick away moisture are a great idea.
Do You Need Yoga Pants?
The quick answer is no. All you need is something comfortable that facilitates movement. Many people opt for regular leggings, so you don't necessarily have to buy a pair of branded yoga pants.
In fact, the original yoga pants were leggings made especially for yoga. Since then, leggings have become the daily outfit for many so there’s not that much distinction between leggings and yoga pants nowadays, except the branding and pricing.
That said, some yoga pants can be exceptional quality and are made from material that’s highly breathable and sweat absorbing. If you want to splash the cash, why not, there’s nothing wrong with being fashionable, just bear in mind that a regular pair of leggings, especially when you’re starting out, can be just as fit for purpose. Either way, both are wonderfully comfortable, fit the body snugly and are usually made of stretchy material that let you bend easily and stretch whilst in pose.
If you’re doing hot yoga, you might find yoga pants or leggings too much, so try a fitted pair of yoga shorts instead.
Do You Need Long Sleeves or Short Sleeves for Yoga?
If you’re happy to expose some flesh, a form-fitting singlet or tank (work-out vest) can be a great option. Because these tops don’t have sleeves, they allow unrestricted arm movement, fit really well, and stay in place throughout all poses and postures.
A slightly tighter fitting longer-sleeved top can also work so that sleeves don’t ride up when you’re reaching upwards or outwards. If you’re not an extrovert who’s keen on flaunting cleavage, make sure you have a high-necked top to avoid that problem. Another good idea is to pair a long-sleeved top with a singlet, especially if you want to de-layer as you warm up during the session. Wearing a singlet underneath also means that if your top does fall out of place, you’ll retain your modesty too.
As with any exercise, wear a well-fitting bra or even a sports bra for extra support, particularly if you’re big-busted. We especially love Coppafeel! Scentered Sports Bra which can be worn as a sports bra or a workout vest.
Do You Need Shoes for Yoga?
No! Yoga is done without shoes. Feet are extremely important in yoga because the contact that they have with the floor provides stability for balancing and grounding of the self. Going barefoot means that your feet and toes, usually constrained within a shoe, have the rare chance to fully extend and stretch too.
Certain yoga poses do require you to rest your hands on the floor, so it’s not good etiquette to walk across a yoga studio. (Take them off before you enter the studio). Having your own yoga mat provides extra grip for your feet, reduces the risks of injuries, and provides support for your joints. Not to mention that you don’t have to use floorspace that’s been walked on by other people. Try a Yogi Bare Paws Natural Rubber Mat for extreme grip.
Lastly, shoes would simply get in the way, make you less nimble, cause you to over-balance and there’s always the potential to ruin your yoga mat or step on someone’s toes. Ouch!
Do You Need Socks for Yoga?
It can be tempting to wear socks to a yoga class. Let’s face it, feet can smell, get cold and many of us are embarrassed about how they look. Ultimately, there’s no rule to say that you can’t wear socks.
The problem is that socks interfere with our connection with the ground, making it harder to balance. They can also be slippery so there’s more chance of an accident or injury. If you feel that you must wear socks for your own preference or for hygienic reasons, opt for socks that have been designed for exercise that have a grippier sole.
So, now you’re fully set with what to wear, it’s time to quit the faffing and do some yoga!
If you liked this article, try reading Top 5 Yoga Books for Beginners 2021