Right for a yoga class

APT & COMFY

Right for a yoga class

Although it has been about a decade that yoga has been a strong player in the fitness market, the fitness apparel industry hasn’t really responded to the need for clothing which is yoga-appropriate. Serious yoga practitioners either resort to running tights or end up shopping at the ‘training’ section for their clothes. The term ‘yoga pant’

implies a ‘one size fits all’ approach to clothing for the entire gamut of yoga styles available today. Here’s a low-down of the various types of yoga classes and options for what you could wear depending on the class you attend.

Iyengar yoga: A breathable cotton tee and shorts are ideal. In this alignment-
focused practice, it is imperative that the teacher be able to see how you’ve positioned your legs. Basically loose and baggy clothing is a big no-no as the teacher will have to strain to see your postures. However, make sure that your shorts are not too short as this might lead to some pretty uncomfortable situations in class. Tuck your shirt into your shorts so that inversions are easy to practise. Also, your shirts should be well fitted to allow for easy movement.

Ashtanga yoga: Serious ‘ashtangis’ can squeeze the sweat out of their clothing post class. That is how intense ashtanga yoga classes can be. Dry fit clothing works well. Also, there’s always the  risk of overheating of the skin and body, so women can opt for shorts and tank tops. In fact, a high-support sports bra would also work really well in place of a tee or a tank top.

Sivananda yoga: These classes are a combination of meditation, relaxation and asanas. Here, I would suggest well-fitted cotton tees and pants as the most comfortable option. In fact, most Sivananda studios will have their trademark trousers and tees for sale.

Power yoga/Vinyasa yoga: The constant pace of these classes coupled with strenuous movement dictates that you don’t constantly worry about what your clothes are doing (or, for that matter, not doing). Since these classes also generate a lot of sweat from your body, dry fit clothing is recommend. Also, opt for shorts or yoga tights to ensure free and easy movement of your legs.

Hot yoga/Bikram yoga: In elevated temperatures and closed rooms of this style, a heavy-duty, moisture-wicking sports bra and shorts work best. Avoid cotton as cotton clothing gets heavy with sweat and weighs you down. Practitioners keep it simple by wearing minimal but high-support clothing. Men can opt for dry fit briefs and women can wear shorts and sports bras.

A few thumb rules to remember:

Wear clothes that you are comfortable in.
Always wear a sports bra.
Make sure your hair is out of your face. Use a headband to ensure your bangs/flyaways don’t get into your eyes.
Always keep a towel handy to wipe away sweat (except if you’re in an Ashtanga class. In that case, you don’t wipe the sweat away, you massage it right back into your body.)
For classes where you know you will be sweating a lot (Ashtanga, Bikram etc), avoid makeup. This will ensure that your skin can breathe freely.
Avoid using strong fragrances as these might be distracting for other
students. Some of your classmates may even be allergic to strong smells.
A situation unique to the Indian scenario is the smell of food and spices that sometimes sticks to our clothing, skin and hair if we spend time in the kitchen. Although it’s difficult to determine if you smell of your kitchen, it can be a major turn off for other students and for your teacher. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to always shower before you go to class. Another thing, make sure you don’t cook in your yoga gear!

(The author is a Bengaluru-based yoga instructor)

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