Although yoga originated in India thousands of years ago, it’s only recently become really popular with every hipster, fitness enthusiast or business executive. As well as being a fantastic way to shape and tone your body and build your core strength, yoga also helps to relax and calm your mind – which in our busy modern world where we’re bombarded constantly by beeping whatsapp messages, social media posts and advertising messages at every turn, is arguably as important as its physical advantages.
With more and more people taking up yoga, there are plenty of newbies out there, and you may well be one of them. Well? Namaste to you: you’re about to embark on a very exciting adventure. The first thing to think about is what to wear while you practise (because you don’t want to be doing a headstand and your shirt has suddenly fallen to the floor). Especially if you’re doing heated yoga, certain types of clothes are better suited to this kind of exercise than others. Here’s our advice on what yoga clothes to wear to your first class:
1. Keep it comfortable. Yoga focuses heavily on breathwork along with physical movement, so your first priority is to choose clothes that won’t restrict your breathing. Choose pants and tops that are elasticised but not too tight, and avoid drawstring pants and tops with bulky buttons or zips that will get in the way when you’re lying on your stomach or back. Wearing comfortable yoga clothes also means you’ll be better able to focus on your practice rather than adjusting your clothes every five minutes.
Our top pick: High Rise Leggings
2. Keep it tight(ish) fitting. While you should be comfortable, yoga clothes that are too loose on your body aren’t practical either: pants that are too loose, for example, will bunch as soon as you’re in an upside down pose, and baggy t-shirts will ride up to your chest. Clothes that are too loose also mean that your teacher won’t be able to see your body’s alignment and correct your posture accordingly.
Our top pick: Sporty Black
3. Choose breathable fabrics. Especially if you’re doing heated yoga, you’ll work up a sweat during your class, so choose a fabric that keeps the sweat away from your skin and lets it breathe. While cotton yoga clothes may seem the best option, they actually absorb sweat over time and so become heavy and wet. Rather choose a fabric like supplex that is moisture wicking, so it stays light and dry on sweaty skin. Avoid fabrics like nylon that become slippery when you sweat and make it harder to grip when you’re in various poses.
Our top pick: Demi Top
4. Cover yourself. No, we’re not prudes – yoga clothes that give you proper coverage mean your poses will be more stable as your grip is better (as is the case with wearing the right kind of fabric as we mention above). So rather than wearing running shorts, for example, choose leggings that are knee length or longer.
Our top pick: Ana Ruga Leggings
5. Layer it up. At the start of the class you may want to stay warm, but as you progress, your body temperature will rise quickly. Rather than wearing bulky jerseys and sweaters, wear a few thin layers that keep you warm but still allow you free movement, and that are easy to take off and put back on when you’re in your final resting pose at the end of the class.
Our top pick: Smart Sports Jacket
6. Wear comfy underwear. As with your outer layers, your underwear should be comfortable and breathable too. Ditch the fancy lace underwire bra and thong in favour of full panties and a sports bra that give you good support and that let you move properly.
Our top pick: Blaze Sports Bra Top
7. Lose the non-essentials. When it comes to yoga clothes, less is more – so avoid things like leg warmers and scarves that can get in the way. Don’t wear socks either, as these won’t allow you to grip the floor with your feet.
Your first yoga session may see you toppling over numerous times or simply unable to attempt a few of the poses – and that’s okay. Stick with it, find a teacher you like and persist – and you’ll soon to start to reap both the physical and mental benefits.