What to Wear to Yoga Classes for Beginners and Experts Alike
Whether you are heading to your very first yoga class or are an experienced practitioner, being properly outfitted can help you practice with confidence and ease. Here’s everything you need to know about what to wear to a yoga class.
Of course, the most important rule of any ensemble is that you feel comfortable and can move easily. Yoga classes will call for a broad range of motion including:
- wide stances
- elongated stretches
- forward folds
- gentle to advanced inversions
With that in mind, here are some guiding principles on what to wear to yoga classes and what to look for when shopping for yoga clothing.
Yoga Clothing Basics
Here are the basic clothing items you’ll need for most yoga classes:
- Yoga pants or shorts
- A sports bra
- A t-shirt or tank top
For yoga classes you do not need to wear:
Socks or shoes
As an option, you may also want to wear:
A warm top layer you can easily remove during class
Do I Have to Wear Special Yoga Clothing to Yoga Classes?
If you’re just starting a yoga practice, chances are you already have items in your closet that will work for the time being. As you continue practicing, investing in clothes designed specifically for yoga can simply offer extra support and comfort as your practice progresses.
Yoga clothing is designed with thoughtful features such as:
- Breathable and/or sweat-wicking materials
- Stretchy and durable construction to endure flexible poses
- Minimal zippers and flat seams for comfort against the mat
- Longer t-shirt lengths to account for raising your arms up
But for beginners, know that yoga studios are welcoming places that encourage all levels of practitioners and really just want you to be comfortable in your own body above all else.
Do I Have to Wear Yoga Pants?
You do not have to wear traditional yoga pants. Other shorts or sweatpants can work in yoga classes, too. However, yoga pants are popular both on and off the mat for good reason!
Yoga pants or leggings are designed to be flexible and supportive. The thin, fitted material allows you to sit and lie on your yoga mat without the interruption of bulky seams or zippers. It also gives you good awareness of your body.
That said, if you prefer not to wear tight-fitting yoga pants, you can certainly wear other athletic shorts or sweatpants.
Either way, make sure you’re able to stretch comfortably, breathe deeply, and move from pose to pose without constantly needing to adjust your waistband. Belly breathing is an important aspect of the yoga practice that you don’t want to miss out on!
For shorts, make sure you feel comfortable taking wide stances in them.
What to Wear Under Yoga Pants
What you wear under yoga pants is completely up to you. Some prefer to wear full-coverage underwear, some might prefer athletic thongs, others may prefer to go commando! It’s entirely your decision. If wearing underwear, select breathable materials.
Socks and Shoes
It’s standard to practice yoga barefoot, without shoes or socks on. Doing yoga with bare feet allows you to activate through the arches of your feet and toes. This helps you stay grounded in poses that require balance and stability.
If you prefer to have something between your bare hands and feet and a studio’s mat, consider picking up a yoga towel which has the additional bonus of adding extra grip.
Of course, you will want to wear shoes to travel to yoga class. Consider wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Yoga studios can get crowded in between classes with people transitioning in and out of class, and there may not always be a spot to sit and unlace more finicky shoes.
Sports Bra & Tops
For tops, women in yoga classes can wear a variety of options including:
- A sports bra by itself
- A sports bra with a breathable tank top or t-shirt
- A tank top with a built-in bra
Find what works for you and dress to your level of comfort.
While yoga is not a high-impact activity, a sports or built-in bra can support the chest in inversions and other poses.
As deep breathing is an important aspect of yoga, be sure to find a sports bra for yoga that allows for expansive breath.
Those who prefer more coverage may prefer a sports bra with a higher neckline to feel comfortable in forward folds. Others may prefer more lightweight bralettes or tank tops with a built-in bra. Underwire is generally ill-advised as it can cause discomfort in twisting or folding positions.
Many yoga classes start with gentle stretches to gradually warm muscles up before progressing into more sweat-inducing sequences. Yoga classes also typically end in a cool down and savasana. Having an extra layer on hand will allow you to stay warm during these cooler phases of class—especially if you are taking classes early in the morning or in the winter.
What Do Men Wear to Yoga?
Many men start yoga classes in basketball or board shorts, but come to find that they prefer more fitted and flexible shorts or pants designed specifically for yoga. Men’s yoga pants and shorts come in a variety of styles and fits including both fitted and looser options.
Tank tops can offer maximum range of motion in the arms. However, t-shirts designed for yoga are also designed to provide a comfortable range of motion in the shoulders. They may also offer extra length for coverage when reaching with the arms.
Additionally, while not all men’s athletic clothing is optimal for yoga, men’s yoga clothing is comfortable enough to work for many other general workouts making it a great investment.
What Should I Wear to Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga classes are held in closed rooms with temperatures anywhere from 80 to 100 degrees. For that reason, many people prefer to wear minimal clothing.
For example, women may wear just yoga shorts and a sports bra. Likewise, men may prefer to practice shirtless wearing only shorts. However, as always, you should dress to your own level of comfort.
Alternatively, the advantage to breathable yoga clothing with more coverage in hot yoga is that the fabric gives you better grip against yourself in balancing postures such as tree pose or eagle.
We hope these tips help you dress for your first or next yoga class with confidence.
Again, the most important thing in any yoga practice is simply that you are comfortable and able to move freely in your body. Whether that means practicing in your favorite pair of sweats and a t-shirt or a matching set is up to you! (We’re partial to this matching top and bottom, if you are of the latter sort.)