When you roll out your mat, many yogis are most concerned with their sequencing, alignment, and breathing than they are with their outfit. While those things are certainly important aspects of a well-balanced and safe yoga practice, your outfit may play a bigger role in your routine than you think. It may seem shallow to some yogis that something as simple as what you put on your body could be just as important as the things you put into your body, but how does your outfit really affect the way you practice?
The biggest priority (besides embodying yogic principles off the mat) for any practicing yogi should be safety. Your outfit can play a huge role in your ability to move through vinyasas and other sequences. Pants that bunch uncomfortably can take your focus off of alignment as you move around to readjust the fabric. Pants that are too long can cover the bottom of your feet, preventing a firm grip on your yoga mat in standing poses.
The bottom part of your outfit is the largest culprit when it comes to compromising your ability to practice safely, but your top can play a role as well. Tops that are too loose can leave you exposed during inversions or forward bends, forcing you to contort your body out of the proper shape to prevent further exposure during class. Tops that are too tight can restrict breathing and comfortable movement.
Having an outfit that fits you properly can make a significant difference in your ability to practice yoga safely. The way an outfit fits you is more important than the way it looks on you. Comfortable and safe movement are critical components that can’t be underestimated when selecting an outfit.
Your outfit can play a role in boosting your confidence. There’s truth in the old adage that says, “When you look good, you feel good.” If your outfit makes you feel more attractive, look slimmer, or just generally gives you confidence in your outward appearance, you have more space to think about your practice instead of self-conscious concerns.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether your yoga outfit consists of high-waist Capri leggings with a crop top or yoga pants and a sweatshirt, as long as you feel good about the way you look in it.
A quick increase in confidence can give you the courage to try harder poses or to remain in uncomfortable ones for just a few breaths longer than you usually would. You may see significant gains in your personal practice physically, which can carry over to psychological gains off the mat. If you find yourself more capable during your practice, the self-esteem boost could play a role in your performance at work, in your presence in relationships, and in the embodiment of yogic principles throughout your life.
Thinking about the outfit you’ll practice in doesn’t seem like it should top your priority list when there are more pressing concerns that match your intentions and the basic principles of yoga. However, we think you’ll agree that your outfit can certainly influence the way you feel and your ability to practice safely.