If someone wanted to list all styles of yoga currently being practiced, including all of the different schools of thoughts and offshoots, that list would be endless. In truth, yoga contains so many subcultures within itself that it’s nigh on impossible to put every one of them into the same box and decide on some sort of standard procedure when it comes to practicing the ancient activity. However, that’s just one of the many reasons we love yoga – we can look at everyone’s different approach, embrace it, and celebrate the vast variety of styles it has sparked worldwide.
Be that as it may, you have to look into what type of class you will be attending and how you can prepare for it in the best possible way by being in the right state of mind, but also by wearing the right clothes for the job. Wearing the same outfit in any class just wouldn’t work.
It would be akin to wearing football boots to a game of pick-up basketball – sure, it’s possible, but at the very least it’s not going to be very comfortable, and in the worst-case scenario, you might get seriously injured.
We’ve looked at some of the most popular yoga styles and compiled some pointers to pay attention to when you have a particular style in mind.
This type of yoga is quite quick and athletic, requires lots of movement, twisting poses and deep stretching. It is based on ancient techniques and teachings, but it was made famous in the West in the 1970s by K. Pattabhi Jois. It’s somewhat similar to vinyasa yoga in that both styles link movement to breath, the main difference being that Ashtanga poses always stick to the same order, no matter what.
What to Wear to Ashtanga Yoga Class?
The first thing you need to know before attending an Ashtanga class is that you will be sweating. This type of yoga is one of the more intense and physical, with rapid and demanding movements. You want to be as comfortable as you can in that situation with what you’re wearing. Look for camisoles, t-shirts or halters that will stay put and keep you comfy as you keep getting warmer. Ideally, your shirt should be made of a material like polypropylene or polyester – a material that will wick moisture away from your skin.
As for your legs, yoga pants are the answer. They are usually made of stretchy material that bends and moves with you, making them ideal for Ashtanga.
Look for a comfortable pair, as even a mild discomfort can get amplified by a long session of twisting and stretching. Do not use shorts, since you will need some traction for specific positions, and even though shorts may be more relaxed, you will be uncomfortable if you don’t have some protection for your knees in particular, and good yoga pants will provide just enough.
Bikram is a type of hot yoga where the room gets heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit or around 40 degrees Celsius to entice sweating. If you’re preparing for a Bikram class, clothing is an important consideration, since bulky or uncomfortable clothes can create a distraction from focusing on the essential things like posture, alignment, and breathing.
What to Wear to Bikram Yoga Class?
Bikram experts say you should look to dress as light as you can, to remain comfortable. It is recommended for men to wear shorts or swimming trunks, and for women to wear a pair of shorts with a sports top, or even a swimsuit. Most girls opt for the sports bra and stretchy shorts option, which works perfectly fine. If you’re uncomfortable exposing your belly, a close-fitting tank top is the right choice, just make sure that the material is breathable and thin. Try going for a moisture-wicking material for extra comfort.
Even though long leggings are preferable in many other yoga styles, they might be too hot for a Bikram class.
As always, avoid any bulky or baggy clothing, which will stick to your skin as it absorbs sweat. For best results, always go for tight-fitting clothing, so your teacher can have a clearer picture of your body alignment. If you have the option, take a shower before leaving the gym and put on a fresh outfit after class, you’re going to feel much more comfortable afterward.
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit term that translates roughly as “to place particularly.” In yoga, this refers to a sequence of poses. Vinyasa yoga classes are set apart by their fluid practices, with a heavy focus on movement. The idea is to transition smoothly from one pose to the next without holding any single pose for too long. The intention is to link movement to breath, and Vinyasa teachers often keep things lively with music.
In terms of intensity, this style is similar to Ashtanga, except a Vinyasa teacher will always improvise, making each class different. If you’re not a fan of routine, but like the intensity of an Ashtanga class, Vinyasa might be just the ticket.
What to Wear to Vinyasa Yoga Class?
In a Vinyasa class, just like in many other types of yoga, you should be prepared for anything, because no set sequence needs to be followed each time. This means you can expect standing poses, backbends, inversions, twists, and almost as a rule – lots of sun salutations. Fortunately, all of these poses are quite flexible and can accommodate any yoga clothes.
Think about wearing a breathable outfit that will stay tight-fitted and won’t get tangled up around your body.
Just make sure your clothes are not so tight as to hinder your breath. Don’t be afraid to bring an extra layer in case the class starts with a more meditative, slower practice, so you can keep yourself warm until the more intense part of the course begins.
This type of yoga was developed and made famous by B.K.S. Iyengar (eye-yen-gar), and it is a meticulous style, with lots of attention paid to finding the exact alignment in any given pose. To help the students reach the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio stocks a wide range of props – blankets, chairs, blocks, bolsters, and straps are all standard.
There’s not a lot of movement in Iyengar classes so that it might look deceptively simple; however, most people are surprised by how mentally and physically challenging it is to hold a pose for a long time. The low-impact nature of this yoga style makes it perfect for anyone recovering from a chronic condition or injury.
What to Wear to Iyengar Yoga Class?
Classes usually start with some meditative silence, followed by warm-up stretches and poses. The poses vary depending on the focus of the course, so sometimes there’s going to be more bending and twisting than other times.
Also, some classes turn into a more energetic style, often depending on the overall energy in the room. , all means you should be prepared for anything, so wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothes. Something like yoga pants and a t-shirt will do just fine.
You don’t have to bring any equipment at first, mainly since beginner classes often comprise more of standing poses, because these serve as the foundation for the other more complicated moves later on. It is probably a good idea to bring a yoga mat if you have one, though.
This is a low-impact, beginner form of yoga that incorporates stress-relief through simple poses like chair pose, warrior one and two, cat-cow, and so on. This is what most people think of when they think of yoga, and it could be considered the most generic type, or not necessarily a type at all since it often refers to any kind that presents beginners with physical postures.
In the West, nearly every yoga class is Hatha yoga. If you’re planning to go to a Hatha class, you’ll be in good hands as a beginner, because you’re going to get a nice and gentle introduction to some basic postures. You might not work up much of a sweat, depending on your fitness level, but you will leave the class feeling a lot better than when you came in.
What to Wear to Hatha Yoga Class?
For this type more than any other, you should wear what you feel most comfortable in. Loose sweatpants will probably work just as well as shorts or form-fitting yoga pants. You will not be twisting into a pretzel in a Hatha class, so wear whatever lets you move to your limits while keeping you warm and comfortable.
Pay attention to what your teacher says, though, as they might have some rules and requirements of their own, especially if they want to get a more precise look at whether you’re doing the movements properly or not.