With yoga continuing to gain popularity right through to the 21st century, the manufacturing and selling of yoga clothing has inevitably increased as well. And with more and more competing retailers and manufacturers, consumers are posed with more and more choice when it comes to purchasing yoga clothing such as rare fabrics and plus size yoga clothing.In fact, not only can you buy a huge assortment of yoga clothing in various colors, sizes and fabrics, but there is also a huge market for yoga accessories – everything from yoga magnets, to yoga leg warmers, toe socks, bracelets, props, organic shorts and more. But in a way, the mass retail of all of these yoga products really goes against the grain of true yoga fundamentals.
Yoga started as a mental / physical practice that was available for everyone. The art itself was (usually) available to anyone who wanted to learn, and a large part of the yoga mentality was the shedding of personal possessions not unlike the teachings of Buddha. Therefore, enticing people into mass consumerism by offering a plethora of yoga clothing and accessories certainly seems to taint the whole idea of yoga, and the oneness of the spirit, mind and body.
With all of the yoga products and clothing available, here’s all you really need:
Let’s start by explaining off the hop that there is no specific “yoga pants” that you need to wear when performing yoga. There is no “official” yoga brand either. Using the analogy of tennis, one wears ‘tennis’ shoes when playing tennis, but the shoes themselves can be any brand or style that is comfortable for the player and does not ruin the court. The same applies for yoga. Yoga pants should abide by the following criteria:
• Loose-Fitting: When performing yoga you will need to bend and stretch. Loose-fitting pants provide air flow and maximum manoeuvrability.
• Tight-fitting: Some people prefer tight fitting yoga pants. Fabrics should be stretchy (track pants, Lulu Lemon). Some people prefer spandex or Lycra for their stretchy properties and their ability to wick sweat from the body.
• Length: People wear all different lengths for yoga. Regular pant hem, Capri’s style hems and shorts are all acceptable. Make sure you have a good yoga mat if you wear a hem above the knees. Pants that are hemmed at or past the heel are not ideal as the length may get in the way of your poses or even cause you to lose balance.
Yoga shirts really follow the same criteria for pants as far as fabric is concerned. Remember, there is no official ‘yoga shirt’ you need to wear. Keep the yoga spirit by finding the most comfortable shirt you can, regardless of color or style. Then try to make sure they follow this criterion:
• Loose-fitting: If the shirt is loose-fitting, make sure that the sleeves are not too long (the can interfere with posing.
• Tight-fitting: As with yoga pants, Lycra and spandex are sometimes used. Make sure the tight-fitting top lets your skin breathe.
• Note: If you plan on attending a yoga class, make sure that the shirt is not too ‘revealing’ by practicing some poses at home (bending over, handstands, etc). Sometimes the most comfortable shirt is not the best choice!
Other Yoga Clothing
Some people also wear other yoga clothing such as yoga socks or weights. These accessories are completely optional. If you do shop for yoga accessories, always keep in mind what you will be doing in class. Yoga socks may be comfortable, but make sure you get ones that let your feet breath or wick away moisture. Remember, socks help your body maintain heat, so you may perspire more with socks on. Yoga bracelets and weights are also common yoga accessories. If you choose to purchase any of these, just make sure that they will not interfere with your yoga routine.
Remember: yoga is about how you feel on the inside, not the outside!