Yoga is an amazing form of exercise, as it teaches you to balance, tones your muscles, and even gets your heart rate up for a good bit of cardio. It’s also great for the mind since it requires you to focus on your poses so you can forget about everything in life for a while.
But there are lots of different types of yoga classes out there, which can make deciding what to wear confusing. And there’s more to getting dressed for yoga than pulling on a random pair of women’s yoga pants. To keep you comfortable and help you master each pose, here are our suggestions for what to wear to different types of yoga classes.
When shopping for yoga clothes, you’ll want to make sure they have three specific qualities: They should be form-fitting, flexible, and comfortable. The reason you want them to be form-fitting is that they won’t stay in place when you’re doing various poses if it's too loose. After all, the downward dog requires you to be facing down with your hands on the floor, and you don’t want a loose women’s T-shirt falling over your face. Additionally, you want your clothes to be flexible so that it easily moves with you, stretching when and where they should. Lastly, comfort is key. Any tags or stitches that rub wrong against you will disturb your rhythm and make it difficult to concentrate. Now onto the different types of yoga classes.
Ashtanga yoga is a quite physically demanding type of yoga that involves following the same series of poses in a particular order. There are a lot of deep stretching poses incorporating the use of blocks and straps. Instead of regular yoga pants, you might want crop or capri yoga pants, so you don’t get too hot and so you can move more easily than longer pants may allow. Look for a wide elastic waistband and a mid-rise or high-rise fit, so your pants stay in your midsection through all your poses.
Bikram yoga is often called hot yoga, but they’re two separate types. Bikram is much hotter than “hot” yoga and is traditionally performed in a heated room that’s 105 degrees. Hot yoga, in contrast, can be in a room heated to any temperature the instructor believes will keep the muscles warm. Additionally, Bikram yoga consists of 26 stretches that take 90 minutes to perform. Hot yoga is more versatile, and the instructor can choose whatever series of poses they like. Nonetheless, one thing they both have in common is that they will make you sweat. For that reason, you’d want to wear a breathable, lightweight women’s tank top, or even just a sports bra, either with close-fitting bike shorts or capri yoga pants. Everything should be breathable, too, wicking moisture away from your body to keep you dry.
Unlike Ashtanga and Bikram yoga, Hatha is more gentle and is great for beginners. The poses are more simple and focus more on breathing than on strenuous poses. While you’ll certainly be fine wearing traditional yoga attire to Hatha yoga classes, sometimes basic leggings and a regular T-shirt will suit you just fine. Ultimately, it depends on the instructor, but a typical Hatha yoga class won’t demand too much from your clothes. You’ll still want to keep comfortable, though, wearing soft fabrics that help you enjoy the class to its fullest.
Whether just called Vinyasa or called Vinyasa flow, this type of yoga involves synchronizing movement with your breath. You may find that you have to hold certain poses at times, but Vinyasa poses typically move seamlessly from one pose to another instead of requiring you to hold them for too long. You’ll still want to wear something form-fitting, but you won’t have to worry so much about the heat factor unless it is a power Vinyasa class. Still, it won’t ever be as hot as Bikram or hot yoga.
Yin yoga is unique in that many of the poses are done seated, mostly focusing on the lower half of the body. The poses are held for longer periods of time than the other types of yoga as well. The type of top you wear won’t as matter with Yin yoga as much as it matters with other types, but you’ll likely want to wear traditional yoga pants that help you hold your poses in the lower half of your body for as long as needed.
Don’t forget to take a long-sleeved top comfy hoodie with you to wear at the beginning of your session before you’ve warmed up. You’ll also appreciate it at the end of your session to keep you warm as you cool down or “Shavasana.” Namaste!