By Arwa Lodhi
Choosing the perfect yoga class can be challenging – you need a teacher you can hear and understand perfectly, one who checks your body alignment and who chooses positions and movements you enjoy doing. In short, you need to feel comfortable and challenged at the same time.
But there’s another task that can prove to be just as confusing for newbie yogis: choosing the right yoga gear. I mean, how many times have we seen ‘that’ new girl struggling to do a spinal twist in her huge track pants and sweatshirt? And don’t even get me started on people who do yoga in swimwear – or even pantyhose (yes, I have actually seen this).
There’s a lot more to choosing great eco yoga clothing than (what I would imagine to be) the obvious: it needs to fit close to your body without suffocating it; it needs to stay in place whilst you’re twisting around; it has to ‘breathe’ whilst your breaths intensify; it has to suit the climate of the class, and of course, it has to fit your own style. Here are some tips that should make picking the right yoga (or Pilates, or dance class) gear a whole lot easier.
Picking the best yoga tops isn’t just about choosing what looks nice – comfort and practicality are also highly important. Stay away from tops that are too loose, or they’ll ride up when you’re doing inversions, covering your mouth and inhibiting your breathing, and maybe showing bits you’d rather not have on display. Look for something that’s tight but not overly binding. Yoga tops should have some stretch and be made out of natural, breathable material, of course.
For some, a tee shirt is too loose. But a tank top is too revealing. So this fitted polka dot top by Wear It To Heart in breathable Salutex fabrics is the perfect yoga gear for staying comfortable whilst forming your favourite poses – looks good with jeans, too!
Sleeveless With a Twist
Sleeveless tops are pretty much ubiquitous in yoga classes, and a lot of them look the same. That’s why we love this little number from FROM Clothing – it’s got a pretty little gathering at the chest, which adds a slightly feminine touch. The best part? This is made from 100% pure organic cotton.
This long sleeved shirt by Earth Yoga is perfect for cooler classes. Made from organic cotton jersey, their chic dip-dyed tunic features a comfy slimming style that’s perfect for not only yoga class, but for casual weekends with jeans, too. No wonder it’s one of their best sellers!
Loose and Flowing
If you prefer to dress in loose layers, this top by Sundried is ideal. It goes perfectly with a snug sports bra underneath, but the best part of this design is that it’s made from – wait for it – recycled coffee grounds! Yes, really. The very idea of it kinda perks us up! The fabric feels light and cool and (unfortunately?) doesn’t actually smell of coffee…
Most – but not all – prefer yoga pants that are form fitting. This prevent your pants from hindering you while practicing yoga moves and makes it easier for your yoga instructor to see your form. Others prefer something a bit looser, as they may not feel fully confident or comfortable in second-skin like pants. It’s fine to wear looser yoga pants, just be sure they’re not too baggy, or you could get injured if your clothes that get twisted or stuck easily.
Loose & Easy
Free People Genie Pants are the ideal choice for those who prefer a looser fit. Whether you’re doing your downward dog, a warrior pose or just sitting in lotus, Free People’s genie pants are super comfy and roomy, allowing for a wide range of movements without displaying your crotch to the world.
Chic & Stretchy
Coverleg Leggings are made in Italy from Newlife™ yarn, a unique, complete and certified system of recycled polyester filament yarns 100% derived from post-consumer bottles. With their slick details, Coverleg tights were made for the glamorous yogini. We love their metallic designs, be they in stripe, star or dot form.
In some cases, full on yoga pants may simply be too warm, so yoga shorts are a perfect substitute. To avoid embarrassing displays, you’ll probably want to get some shorts that are stretchy and tight, that stay in place as you move. Just make sure the fabric is thick – some materials become transparent as they stretch. Also, black may be a good choice since you’ll be sweating a lot, and dark colors tend to show moisture less.
Butt Hugging Bottoms
Vyayama‘s Shade Print Shorts are for those who secretly wish they could do their yoga au natural – this is as close as you can get to that feeling! They come in an optical print of black and white with enough support and coverage for any movement. Crafted for precision and free of side seams, the placement of the print wraps and contours the body, giving them a flattering mid rise waistline, finished with a comfortable black sateen waistband. Wondering about materials? These are printed on naturally soft and cooling Tencel stretch jersey
3/4 Yoga Pants
Shorts a bit too much for you, but long pants too warm? Three quarters leggings from ethical yoga brand FROM Clothing are the perfect solution! These are made from beautifully soft, organic cotton – and we love the simple, peaceful blue shade.
The truth is this: some people’s feet are manky. They may have weirdly shaped toes; a bit of a pong, or just be in need of a pedicure. Or, maybe your yoga class is just in a really cold place and your feet are turning blue with cold. In such cases, yoga socks may be the solution to all your problems.
Namaste Yoga Socks by Free People are made with organic cotton. They both keep your tootsies warm and with their non-slip grip bottoms and half-toe design, they ensure you won’t slip around when you’re doing Pilates, yoga, or dance.
Fully Closed and Non Slip
If you prefer full footy coverage, choose Gaiam Yoga Socks. Gaiam’s 90% cotton socks offer slip-resistant performance specially created for practicing yoga and Pilates. Get the toe-wiggling freedom of being barefoot and the slip-free security of your yoga mat. Bonus: these comfy socks also reduce your exposure to icky foot funguses.
Though it’s a low impact sport, you still need a sports bra while doing yoga. If you have larger breasts, though, you might need a high-impact bra to get all the support that you need. They key in choosing a comfy bra for yoga is that it shouldn’t have any underwire (obvs!) and you should be able to do plenty of movement without worrying about straps sliding down.
If you like wearing your bra as a top, make sure it looks like a top! That means a cool design and thick enough fabric so that it’s not transparent when you sweat and stretch.
Whilst many of the brands mentioned in this article use recycled plastic as their basis, FROM Clothing puts forth a great argument for wearing only yoga gear that is made of all-natural materials like organic cotton or Merino wool – especially when that material is up against sensitive areas like the breasts. Their video below, is worth a watch!
The Tank Bra
The Lover tank by Teeki can be worn as a top during hot yoga practices or intense indoor workouts, or more commonly, as a supportive bra underneath another top to work out in. The bra is made using a blend of eco friendly materials and spandex, so it’s incredibly flexible and can stretch to fit all body types.
The Bra Top
If you prefer wearing a 2-in-1 bra top, you’ll love this one by Pepper and Mayne. Seamless technology makes for a flattering and comfortable fit, and it’s got great support, too: there’s a built-in under bust with removable padding to be worn as you prefer and is made from a highly compact yarn, ensuring durability and also helping to keep you as dry and cool as possible. It has a ribbed hem for added grip and has been designed in a classic racer back style.
German brand Yekeke’s sports bras are made from recycled cloth, and offer some serious – and I mean serious – support. At first I wasn’t sure something that looks so slight could make all my bits stay in place whether I was Downward Dogging or simply jogging, but this brand’s bras really does the trick if you prefer a sports bra that keeps everything from wobbling.