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Yoga Clothing

Yoga apparel is commonly made from cotton, synthetic or organic fabrics.

Yoga clothing should never be restrictive. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Yoga clothing should never be restrictive.

Yoga Clothing

Choosing the right yoga clothing is an important part of having a balanced and successful workout, especially for people who are new to the discipline. Because yoga requires people to stretch, balance and perform a variety of other challenging poses, they should always choose clothing that fits well and gives a good range of motion -- fashion, in this case, is much less important than function. Besides fit, there are a variety of other factors yoga practitioners should consider when selecting an outfit, including the temperature of the room and the specific style of yoga (some are more vigorous than others).

Form and Fit

These are perhaps the two most important characteristics of yoga clothing. According to the Yoga Journal, a good outfit should move with the body and help the person feel relaxed and at ease. This suggestion highlights an important point about yoga clothing that new practitioners should always remember -- selecting an outfit is a personal and subjective experience, and it is far more important to choose clothes that are comfortable than to settle for those that are trendy, popular or worn by advanced members of the class.

With that philosophy in mind, the following are general guidelines regarding fit when choosing a yoga outfit:

  • Leggings and tops do not need to be skintight, but they should not be so baggy as to hide the body's natural curves and shape
  • Tops should be tight enough to stay in place during inverted positions (e.g., downward-facing dog)
  • Leggings should be snug and show the ankles (this helps teachers adjust the student's poses)


Beginning practitioners can substitute a T-shirt and shorts for technical yoga clothing, as long as they are not too baggy or restrictive.

Cotton and Synthetic Fabrics

Yoga pants and tops are often made from either cotton or synthetic materials like Lycra, spandex and nylon. While cotton is generally the most comfortable, many manufacturers have developed cotton-synthetic blends that are breathable, flexible and smooth to the touch, making them an excellent choice for yoga clothing. People who tend to sweat during yoga workouts might consider choosing clothes made from purely synthetic fabrics, which absorb less water and dry faster than cotton. For example, Supplex, a synthetic fabric made by Invista and commonly used in yoga clothing, is completely breathable, retains its shape over long periods of time and dries quickly. Synthetic fabrics can also be comfortable. Outside Online recently reviewed a Supplex-based pant that is touted as wearable and smooth as cotton.

Organic Fabrics

Some yoga practitioners prefer to wear clothing made from organic fabrics. Although the benefits of this are debatable, many claim that these all-natural materials are better for both the body and the environment. For example, organically grown cotton is nourished and harvested without the use of herbicides, chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers that may damage the soil and its connected ecosystems. According to YogaFit, organic cotton has longer fibers than chemically processed cotton, and it is much more breathable than most synthetic fabrics.

Unfortunately, organic garments tend to be much more expensive than nonorganic garments. Because of this, it may be best for beginning yoga students to use athletic clothes they already own before spending extra money on new outfits.

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