Choosing what to wear to a yoga class can be a challenge to some people, especially if it’s their first time attending one.
If you feel like you’re one of them, worry no more.
Here are some experts’ insights to help you find the ideal clothes that will help you stay comfortable throughout the entire class.
Table of Contents
- Clothing for Class Type
- Clothing by Brand
- The Down Dog Inversion Test
- The Lunge Test
- For women, the most popular choice is leggings
- For men, shorts or tracksuit bottoms, cotton or other stretchy material is best
- Wear something that is not only comfortable but allows you to really embrace how their body feels
- For women, I recommend either leggings, bike shorts, or loose-fitting pants that have elastic around the ankle
- For men, I’d avoid loose basketball shorts, unless they’re wearing some kind of compression shorts
- Know where you are in your practice
- Frequently Asked Questions
Brooke Davidson, RYT200
Founder, Brooke Davidson Yoga
So you’ve signed up for a yoga class. You know the studio will have extra mats and that you won’t need to worry about wearing shoes, but how do you decide what clothing to wear?
When determining your outfit, it pays to think first about the type of class you will be attending.
Clothing for Class Type
Vinyasa or Hatha
If you’ve signed up for a vinyasa or Hatha class, then you will want to wear clothing that is comfortable to move in. Tighter clothing is recommended in this context as loose or flowing garments can get in the way or impede movement.
Yin or Restorative
If it is a yin or restorative class you’ll be attending, then looser clothing can be extra cozy. Consider also throwing in a sweater as your body might cool during those longer holds.
Alternatively, if you plan to take a hot yoga class, then leave the layers at home. Again, tighter-fitting clothing will benefit you here but consider ensuring that you have on long pants/leggings which will help you nail those arm balances even while sweaty.
Clothing by Brand
Once you have determined which style of clothing will best serve the class you’ll be attending, then you can start to consider clothing brands. The crowning brand of yoga clothing for both men and women is Alo.
Although their workmanship and styles are truly second-to-none, you certainly do pay for it. Men’s and women’s separates start around $70 and quickly go up from there.
Lululemon is a step down from Alo price-wise and still offers a fantastic line of clothing for both genders. The prices are still notable, though, so if you aren’t quite committed to yoga (and yoga clothing) yet, then maybe consider brands such as Champion or C9 which sell far more affordable athletic wear.
You won’t get as high of quality or as yoga-specific of clothing from such brands, but if it makes yoga more accessible then that is all that matters.
Ultimately, don’t let the fear of what to wear keep you from attending class. Despite what the fashion industry might have you think, yoga has never been about the clothes anyhow.
Julie Turner, RYT
Owner, Chesapeake Yoga and Wellness
I’ve seen all types of clothing worn to class – from jeans to baggy pants and shirts; as well as bathing suits and shorts. My biggest tip is, it’s not a fashion show.
Wear something that you feel comfortable in moving. While yoga pants are not required, they can allow for freer movement. However, I suggest a few tests:
The Down Dog Inversion Test
- Does your top/shirt ride up over your head disabling the view of your hands?
- Does your top firmly support your chest so that you don’t “spill” out?
If you say yes to either of these, consider a top that is more supportive. Many sports clothing brands offer tops that are quick-dry and offer more support for the body. Some that are more form-fitting may not slip as much from the hips causing the mid drifts to be exposed.
The Lunge Test
- Can you comfortably do a low lunge without a tight feeling around your legs or hips?
- Can you see the angle of your knee?
Tight clothing that doesn’t allow the body to move is restrictive for both movement and comfort. However, something that is too loose doesn’t allow you, or the teacher, to see good alignment of the leg.
Qualified Yoga Teacher (Level 3 Yoga Diploma, ActiveIQ Accredited) | Owner, Firefly Yoga
The most important thing when deciding what to wear to yoga is the comfort. There are some many options out there there’s bound to be something that you find comfy.
For women, the most popular choice is leggings
Personally, I like cotton or other soft blend leggings over synthetic materials. I find these much more breathable, especially for Hot Yoga.
Tracksuit bottoms are also a good option for those not comfortable in tighter attire. I even have a few ladies at my classes who wear loose-fitting jeggings.
Synthetic, running short type materials are often too restrictive for wide-leg poses. There are also lots of option on the market for male leggings now – if you feel comfortable in a tighter fit.
Tops are pretty much the same for everyone, t-shirts or vest both work great but I would suggest a vest for comfort and keeping cool if you’re going to a hot class – or are just someone that runs hot.
Writer | Yoga Teacher | Founder, A Force of Nurture
Wear something that is not only comfortable but allows you to really embrace how their body feels
Sometimes clothing that’s too tight will constrict in certain poses and it can lead the mind toward a subconscious place. Sometimes clothing that’s too loose gets in the way of transitioning from asana to asana.
Perhaps those things don’t bother every yogi, but it’s important to know if they bother you.
One of the greatest benefits of yoga is using it as a space of self-expression – physically and mentally.
Choose the best piece of clothing that will allow you to fully express yourself without worry or hindrance. Choose clothing that enables you to truly dive deeper into how each pose feels in the body rather than how just how the clothes feel on the skin.
Wear whatever will make you love your body and love your practice.
RYT-200 | Wellness Writer | Energy Medicine Practitioner
The key for both men and women is finding comfort.
There’s no need to spend hundreds on fancy leggings. My personal go-to is high-waisted cotton leggings from TJMax and a non-restrictive t-shirt.
For women, I recommend either leggings, bike shorts, or loose-fitting pants that have elastic around the ankle
These options give you peace of mind in poses like pigeon or happy baby and give your body room to breath and flow. I like to tuck a tank-top or fitted t-shirt into my pants so it’s not falling in my face or showing my belly during down-dog.
For men, I’d avoid loose basketball shorts, unless they’re wearing some kind of compression shorts
For all, shorts put students at risk of being uncomfortable (or fumbling to find coverage if exposing poses!) pulling them out of the practice altogether.
Again, I find men who practice with a tighter shirt or tucked-in t-shirt, like a French tuck, have a better experience.
Know where you are in your practice
Do you have bad knees? Why not wear long pants to give them a little extra padding.
Do you have a long torso? Try high-waisted bottoms to avoid having to pull them up during class.
Do you run hot? Try bike shorts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a yoga class?
A yoga class is a group exercise in which participants practice a series of yoga poses or asanas combined with breathing exercises and meditation.
A yoga class aims to promote physical and mental well-being through a mindful, gentle workout that strengthens the body, calms the mind, and cultivates inner peace.
Some benefits of attending a yoga class include the following:
• Improved flexibility, strength, and balance
• Reduction of stress and anxiety
• Improved posture and body awareness
• Improved breathing and lung capacity
• Enhanced focus and concentration
• Increased self-awareness and mindfulness
Yoga classes can vary in duration, intensity, and style, but most are designed to be accessible to people of all fitness levels and abilities.
How do I choose the right yoga class for me?
There are so many different yoga styles and class formats that it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some tips on how to find the right yoga class for you:
• Consider your fitness level and experience with yoga. If you’re new to yoga, look for beginner-friendly classes or classes labeled “gentle” or “restorative” If you have some experience with yoga, you might want to try a vinyasa or power yoga class.
• Think about what your goals are for your yoga practice. Do you want to relieve stress and anxiety? Improve your flexibility? Build strength? Different styles of yoga may be more or less appropriate for different goals.
• Consider what time of day and location of the class. Choose a class that fits your schedule and is conveniently located for you.
• Read class descriptions and reviews. Many yoga studios offer online class schedules and descriptions to help you get a feel for the class’s format, level, and style. You can also read reviews from other students to get a sense of their experience with the class and instructor.
Remember that finding the right yoga class for you takes a little trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try different classes and styles until you find one that suits you.
What should I expect in my first yoga class?
If you’re new to yoga, attending your first class can be a little intimidating. Here’s what you can expect:
• Arrive early so you have time to sign in, fill out all the necessary paperwork, and get settled on your mat.
Introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know you’re new to yoga.
• The yoga instructor will guide you through the exercises, adapting them to your ability and physical limitations.
• The class will likely begin with a warm-up sequence, followed by a series of standing and seated poses, and end with a relaxation pose (savasana).
• Focus on your breath throughout the class and move at your own pace. Don’t worry about keeping up with the other students or executing every pose perfectly.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the experience!
Remember that everyone starts somewhere and that yoga is a practice that evolves over time. Be patient with yourself, listen to your body, and keep coming back to the mat.
What should I wear to a yoga class if I’m self-conscious about my body?
It’s completely normal to feel self-conscious about your body when starting a new fitness routine. However, yoga is a practice that celebrates all body types and encourages self-acceptance.
Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable in your clothes:
Choose clothes that make you feel confident: It’s important to wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident, whether a pair of high-waisted leggings or a flowy top.
Consider a supportive sports bra: If you feel self-conscious about your chest, consider wearing a supportive sports bra or tank top that will provide coverage and support.
Dress in layers: If you feel self-conscious about certain parts of your body, consider dressing in layers so you can cover up when needed. A lightweight, breathable top and a comfortable sports bra or tank top underneath are good choices.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes: Tight-fitting clothes are good for yoga, but if you feel self-conscious, you may want to avoid anything that feels too tight or restrictive.
Most importantly, you feel comfortable and confident in your clothing. Yoga is a practice that celebrates all body types and promotes self-acceptance, so don’t be afraid to wear what you feel comfortable in. Focus on your breath and movements and let go of all negative self-talk and judgments.
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