Refining a downward dog or trying a new balance pose at the yoga studio is challenging enough on its own, but it’s made even harder when you’re fiddling with sagging, too tight or uncomfortable yoga clothes. That’s why it’s important to purchase clothes that are breathable, flexible and comfortable.
Your yoga clothing purchases will depend largely on personal preference, as well as the style of yoga you plan to practice. But at a high level, here’s what to wear to yoga (see below for a more detailed discussion of these yoga basics):
- Breathable, flexible bottoms like yoga pants or shorts
- A breathable, narrow- or form-fitting top that won’t hang over your head when you’re upside down.
- For women, a sports bra or built-in shelf bra that offers enough support for the type of yoga you’re practicing
- A comfortable, warm top layer for end-of-class savasana (corpse pose) or after class when you’ve cooled down
What to Look For in Yoga Clothing
Many yoga clothes are made with polyester-nylon-spandex blends, and for good reason—these fabrics offer the right balance of comfort, breathability and flexibility:
- Comfort: There’s nothing worse than practicing yoga in an uncomfortable piece of clothing. As you tune into your body, you don’t want to focus on itchy seams and tags, saggy or too tight waistbands, or fabric that binds and chafes.
- Breathability: Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may sweat a little or a lot. Particularly if you’re sweating a lot, it’s important to wear breathable and moisture-wicking materials to keep you cool and comfortable. Tank tops, shirts with cutouts and yoga pants with mesh pockets will all improve breathability and venting. Avoid cotton, which holds moisture, makes you feel hot and damp, then leaves you prone to chafing or getting chilled when class winds down.
- Flexibility: Yoga involves bending, stretching, binding, lunging, reaching and rolling. Your clothes need to be able to keep up with these movements, which means they’ll probably be made with at least 15 percent spandex.
How to Take Care of Your Yoga Clothing
Most yoga apparel will come with washing instructions, but in general it’s a good practice to turn your gear inside out and wash it in cold water, then tumble dry on low heat for a short cycle. If you have time, hang your gear to dry instead of running it through a dryer; a short cycle or hang dry prolongs the life of your garments. If you have bright-colored clothing, wash it separately the first few times just in case the colors bleed. Also, wash your yoga gear separately from cotton materials like towels, as the cotton fibers tend to cling to yoga clothing.