Do your downward dog and cobra pose in safety, comfort and style. Fashion editor Stephanie Smith gets expert tips on what to wear for yoga class from Harrogate yoga teacher Rebecca Richmond.
Royal yogi the Duchess of Sussex has requested that her new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, has its very own mother-and-baby yoga room complete with a “floating” floor. Meghan is a life-long yoga fan, no doubt thanks to her mother Doria Ragland, who is a trained yoga instructor. Meghan says it has brought calmess to her life and is also believed to have introduced Prince Harry to the practice.
She is is good company. For those of us who shudder at the thought of hitting the road running or sweating it out at a noisy gym, the ancient practice of yoga offers a welcome haven, combining meditation and relaxation with breathing and gentle, considered exercise designed to give strength, flexibility, balance and well-being.
But there’s still the dilemma of what to wear, especially if you are a beginner, uncertain of yoga style and etiquette.
“My advice is always comfort,” says Rebecca Richmond, who teaches yoga classes at Sweaty Betty in Harrogate. “The clothes you wear are a personal preference, but there is nothing worse than having to pull down T-shirts or adjust baggy pants to take you out of your zen mode.”
As Rebecca points out, the ongoing athleisure trend, which sees workwear, exercisewear and off-duty clothing blending seamlessly through day and evening, means it’s never been easier to be yoga-stylish without major effort or even a change of clothing. “Except, of course, if you’re practising hot yoga, which can get rather sweaty.”
An ideal yoga outfit for women, Rebecca says, begins with a sports bra that can hold you in as you perform forward bends, backward bends, side stretches and so on. “You want to feel supported,” she says. “Depending on how body confident you feel, vest tops, tight-fitting or loose T-shirts are totally fine. If you like to keep your arms covered, you can get great long sleeve T-shirts.” Look out too for tops that help with excess sweating, available from both budget and higher end brands.
When it comes to pants, you want to be able to move freely and comfortably. “Tight Lycra leggings of all lengths are great, but if the thought of Spandex is your worst nightmare and puts you off before you’ve even tried a class, then loose trousers are totally fine and very cool,” Rebecca says. “Tight shorts are totally acceptable, as is wearing just a sports bra (especially in hot yoga), but not obligatory.” Men can also wear a tight or a loose vest or T-shirt and jogging bottoms. But be careful with shorts. “It’s important to be aware that, as there is lots of moving around, you don’t want them to be too loose or short,” Rebecca says. “It’s a safe and comfortable option to wear tight cycling shorts for support underneath baggier shorts, which helps keep modesty.”
If there is one yoga style rule, it’s no shoes. Rebecca says: “For the best experience and grip on your mat, bare feet are best. If you’re new to a class, let the first thing you do be to take off your shoes and socks, and everyone will think you’re a pro. Taking off your shoes at the entrance of any yoga studio is also considered a sign of respect for your yoga practice. If you are conscious of your feet or need to have them covered for any reason, you can buy yoga socks in most sports shops with a grip on the base, or individual toe separating socks, so you don’t slip on your mat.”
Keep cover-ups to hand. “A warm jumper or hoodie is always good to take for when you end a class in savasana, which is a few minutes of lying down in stillness,” she adds. “This is such an important part of any yoga class, so take the time to get cosy and warm in your jumper and socks.”
Some classmates may be dressed in top-to-toe Lycra or in little shorts and a sports bra, but don’t assume that they are fully enlightened, expert practitioners. “It may be their first time in class,” Rebecca says. “People of all shapes, sizes, religions and abilities do yoga. People take classes in baggy clothes, covered from head to toe, and others show a lot of skin. It’s about learning to be comfortable in our own skin and wearing what makes us feel comfortable and confident.”
* Find out more about Rebecca’s yoga classes at www.rebeccarichmondyoga.com.
* Sundried’s eco activewear is available at www.sundried.com
* There is more Yorkshire fashion & beauty best buys and tips on https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion