Choosing Yoga wear for your comfort and integrity - 4 easy steps
As a Yoga teacher who walks around, adjusts and gets close to students in postures, I see everything from under garments to grooming habits in all of your (not so) secret places. As a Yoga student, do you really know how much of you your wardrobe choices are revealing? I work with bodies and by no means find any of what I see offensive and I don’t speak about it to anyone. I simply look away and carry on, remaining focused on what really matters – the Yoga. However, if some of the students knew just what view their outfit was presenting, I’m not so sure they would feel as nonchalant about what I see as I do.
The most common issue with ladies’ Yoga wear is leggings that are see through and reveal their all when they’re folded over in a forward bend or downward facing dog. Follow these quick tips and never wonder if the instructor (or the man behind you) can see your privates.
1. Do the bum test – when trying on Yoga leggings, bend over, all the way, with your bum towards the mirror and look closely between your legs to check that the leggings can maintain their opaque outlay when stretched to the extreme. If you can see even the slightest bit of skin through your leggings, walk away. These leggings are only going to become more see through over time and in a well lit room when you’re in a 3 legged dog, your teacher will see everything. Being thin makes no difference. I’ve seen the all of a petite girl who I’m sure would have been mortified if she knew just how sheer her high profile brand (and overpriced) leggings were. Always do the bum test and if you want to be doubly sure, get a second person to check for you.
2. Cheap leggings – Cotton on/Target/online/wherever, black or printed leggings are always see through. No exceptions. Always. I get it - they’re comfortable, cheap and they’re just there in your wardrobe all worn in and ready to throw on. As long as you’re comfortable with me and the whole of the back row seeing your undies and entire shape of your back side, go ahead with the fashion leggings.
3. Think comfort and mobility - Not everyone is comfortable with tight or fitted clothing and that’s understandable however, Yoga requires us to twist, lengthen and move in and out of poses that can be made a lot more labour intensive with baggy clothes weighing us down and getting in our way. There is Yoga wear that is more conservative, light weight and even loose fitting. Steer clear of track suits as they can become a burden with overheating and restricting your movement.
4. Be practical – Everyone is entitled to their fashion preferences and I love to embrace diversity but if your outfit is causing you more discomfort than the actual Yoga poses it’s probably time to re-assess your choices. I was once in a class as a student with a lady wearing multiple layers of cotton and lycra. It went something like this – light coloured bike shorts, one piece bathing suit, evidence of cotton underwear scrunched up creating a lumpy effect under the bike shorts and outside the panty line of the bathers. On top she had a sports top underneath the bathers and a short cotton, baggy top that just covered her ribs but fell off the shoulder all accessorized with necklaces and bracelets. All through class she was fidgeting, jingling, wriggling, clicking and adjusting, barely even arriving in a pose let alone quietening her mind. We all have our reasons for why we do things and I’m sure this poor lady had hers, I’m just inviting you to be honest and check in with your intentions. Who or what are you dressing for in a Yoga class?
It is less common for me to come across a man inappropriately dressed in Yoga but it does happen. The main concern for the lads is to ensure that their pants are not too loose, not too tight and not too light in colour.
1. Steer clear of anything with buckles, belts, zips and buttons. Trying to be too conservative will ruin your practice so invest in some sports pants that have none of the extras to weigh you down or restrict your movement.
2. Beware of baggy shorts – if you’re going to wear baggy shorts, make sure you wear bike shorts underneath to keep your bits supported, secure and out of view. As I said, I can handle seeing your anatomy but I can’t speak for the others in the class . . .
3. Go for darker coloured bottoms. In particular if you’re in to some of the more intense Yoga styles like Vinyasa Yoga, you’re going to sweat. Everywhere. If you’re wearing a nice light coloured pair of shorts it’s likely that you’ll develop sweat patches in and around your crotch area and look like you peed yourself. Again, I'd like to reiterate that sweating it out in Yoga is a good thing and I am by no means precious about what I see and some are more modest than others. I once witnessed a gentleman in a three legged dog wearing beige, dress shorts where he had one singular, small circle of moisture right in the centre of his centre. Maybe he would be embarrassed if he knew what I saw or maybe he’s comfortable with me knowing all about his prostate function.
4. Fabric – I recommend some sort of quick dry fabric. Sportswear made from quick dry fabric will absorb moisture and is light and liberating to wear. Something that won't tear easily is preferable too. Lycra is also a viable option, but do the bum test (described in the ladies section above) to ensure they aren’t see through and to check that your trusty old faithfuls aren't developing holes.
It’s important to be comfortable in Yoga but also to consider the comfort of your fellow students and whether your comfort is at the expense of your modesty.