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Yoga Attire – What To Wear To Your First Yoga Class

Yoga is all around us, on social media, on the Internet or walking down the street. You may have heard common misconceptions about yoga: flexibility is non-negotiable, certain body types are important, specific clothing, and the perfect yoga mat. Those misconceptions are just that… misconceptions. Yoga accepts you just as you are in that moment and every moment thereafter.

You just signed up for your very first yoga class and you couldn’t be happier. Then suddenly panic hits you and it feels like a punch in the gut. What are you going to wear? No need to fret! After reading this article you will be ready for your first yoga class and every class thereafter. 

No matter the yoga class, you will need a yoga mat. An inexpensive one will do just fine until you feel comfortable and begin exploring different brands. Pick a yoga mat that feels good to you, not a yoga mat that feels good to others. A large water bottle or a few medium water bottles and a towel are also good to bring. Yoga studios usually have extra yoga mats to rent and other props such as yoga blocks and straps that are used during practice; you can bring those props if you’d like but it’s usually not necessary. 

Now onto the attire. What is good to wear? Any clothing that makes you feel comfortable. Honestly, you can wear leggings (high or low waisted), yoga pants, yoga capris, workout capris, gym leggings or any other type of workout clothes for women. Running leggings or comfy women’s shorts are always great choices. I would highly recommend a comfortable sports bra and top.

( A simple attire like the one pictured above will do perfectly. You can shop yoga leggings here.) 

Your first yoga class will involve a tremendous amount of moving and getting used to the poses and being comfortable in your attire is the most important. A sizable bag to transport all of your belongings along with a change of clothes and post-yoga snack because you will sweat and work up an appetite! Lastly, I recommend that you bring an open mind and a non-judgmental approach.

The Top 10 Yoga Poses You Need to Know

According to a Hatha Yoga text known as The Gheranda Samhita, there are 84 basic poses. Lord Shiva is said to have created 8,400,000 asanas in total, and a yogi named Sri Dharma Mittra once photographed himself in 1,350 postures. In short, there are A LOT of yoga poses. With so many to choose from, where should a beginner start?

 

 

Below is a list of the 10 most common poses you will encounter throughout your yoga practice and how to do them:

Mountain

While this looks like an easy pose, it actively works to improve balance, posture, and focus. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides, palms facing forward. Without holding onto any tension, make your body as tall as possible, imagining a string at the top of your head pulling you up. Keep your feet firmly grounded, close your eyes, and bring your focus to the present.

Downward Dog

Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders aligned over your wrists and hips over knees. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across your hands. Tuck your toes under and lift up and back, reaching your pelvis towards the ceiling. Touch your heels to the floor if you can, but if not stay on your toes. Your body should resemble an “a” shape. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders.

Forward Fold

From Mountain, slowly begin to bend from the hips and reach your arms down to the floor. Draw your forehead to your knees, bending them as needed. It’s important that you bend from your hips and not your lower back, as this reduces strain on the back.

Triangle

Step your feet 4-5 feet apart, turning your right foot 90 degrees so that your toes are pointing to the front of your mat. Your left foot should be at a 45-degree angle. Keep your hips facing forward and both legs straight. Raise your arms up to shoulder height, then reach your right arm forward, bend at the hip, and draw your right arm down to your right shin, keeping the left arm straight up pointing to the ceiling. Do the same on the left side.

Warrior I

Starting in Downward Dog, bring one foot forward into a lunge, turning your back foot to a 45-degree angle. Bring your torso up, keeping your pelvis facing the top of your mat. Raise your arms, bend back slightly lifting the chest, and hold.

Warrior II

Start off the same as Warrior I, going from Downward Dog into a lunge with your back foot at a 45-degree angle. This time, turn your hips out and face your pelvis towards one side of your mat. Raise your arms up to shoulder height. Gaze softly over whichever hand is facing forward (same side as the leg that is bent). Hold this before coming back into Downward Dog to switch sides.

Tree

Start in Mountain and firmly ground your feet into the floor. Begin to shift your weight to one foot, engaging your core and keeping your foot as stable as possible. Bring the foot your weight is not on to your calf, then slowly higher if possible. The optimum placement for your foot is against the inner thigh close to the pelvis. Do not rest your foot on the side of your knee, only above or below it. Bring your hands into a prayer position in front of your chest and focus on an unmoving spot in front of you.

Plank

Planks are prevalent in many exercise routines. The key to a proper plank is keeping your spine straight and not allowing your hips to either dip down or reach too high. Engage your core and avoid putting all of your weight your hands, which should be aligned under your shoulders but slightly wider than them. Planks are often used in yoga to transition to other poses, so proper form is important to reduce the chance of injury.

Child’s Pose

Rest on your knees while sitting back on your heels, hands resting on your thighs. Spread your knees apart and slowly bend forward, stretching your arms out in front or letting them rest at your sides. Your whole torso should be resting on your thighs, with your forehead on your mat. You can also come into Child’s Pose from Plank by resting your knees on the ground and reaching your hips back to your heels, keeping your arms stretched out in front.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Lie on your back with your arms out at your sides, palms facing up. Spread out your legs slightly, giving each limb its own space. The corpse pose is a recovery pose, so let your body relax and melt into the floor.

These common poses will serve you well no matter what level of yogi you are. They make up the foundation of yoga practice, and knowing these will help you master the toughest postures!

Fashion Do’s for Yoga Leggings

Yoga leggings are almost ubiquitous with time spent in the studio with your yoga instructor. They’re comfortable, effortlessly stylish, and often very affordable options. Many yogis even love yoga leggings because they are so versatile that they can be worn for an afternoon in town instead of simply during their regular yoga practice. What can you do to make sure that you’re wearing yoga leggings in the most fashionable way?

We know it can be overwhelming to hear the rules of fashion stated over and over again. So we compiled this simple list of fashion do’s to help you wear your yoga leggings with style.

Do Pair Them With a Longer Top

Yoga leggings are typically made from spandex, which means that they’re going to hug your curves a little closer. Many yogis become self-conscious about exposing the lumps and bumps that they would usually keep private. A longer tunic top can help to cover everything above your mid-thigh. This gives you a little bit more space to conceal areas that usually make you feel self-conscious.

Do Make Bold Choices With Color and Pattern

Black yoga leggings are typically the most popular selection for yogis and other fashionistas. While these are certainly classic and timeless, you don’t have to be limited by darker shades. Bold colors and patterns can be an excellent way to brighten up your wardrobe, make a serious fashion statement, and help you to stand out in a crowd.

Do Retire Them When They’re Finished

One of the most crucial decisions that you’ll have to make is deciding when your yoga leggings have reached the end of their life. You won’t want to extend their lifespan longer than necessary because it can mean some serious fashion faux pas. A pair of yoga leggings should be retired when they start to get thin in areas where friction occurs or along the seams.

Do Layer Your Outfits

Layering is essential to help balance out your yoga leggings and help make your outfits look more polished. When you have several layers on, it becomes less noticeable that you’re actually just wearing sweatpants. You can wear yoga leggings to the office with a short dress, a long boyfriend cardigan, and a blanket scarf. With all of those fancier layers, the spandex material of your leggings becomes significantly less noticeable.

Do Choose the Right Shoes

Wearing the right shoes can be a challenge with yoga leggings. You want something that is both casual and chic at the same time. You may want to consider a pair of leather riding boots or a simple pair of strappy wedges. Both of these can help you to feel comfortable and maintain an elegant appearance.

Wearing a quality pair of yoga leggings can make your outfit appear more fashionable and ultimately make it more comfortable. You should know how to wear them properly in order to make the most impact and avoid some major fashion mistakes. These key tips will have you styling your yoga pants better in no time at all.

3 Key Tips to Finding the Perfect Yoga Bralette

The popular bralettes that first made a debut on the scene of mainstream music festivals have slowly integrated their way into yoga apparel. Yogis shouldn’t be surprised at this quick crossover. After all, the stretchy bralettes are comfortable, particularly as you move, bend, and stretch.

If you’ve been considering replacing your trusty sports bra with something hipper and more comfortable, a bralette is the way to go. Here are three handy tips for helping you figure out which one is absolutely perfect for your body.


Remember That Sizing Is Going To Be Different

Many sports bras adhere to the traditional sizing system for regular bras, using a band size and cup letter. Bralettes are a little different, which means you should plan to try some on in store prior to making a purchase. These new additions to the bra category are typically very stretchy, being made of cotton or microfiber for the most part. Decorative bralettes can be found in lace.

As a result of their stretchy nature, they’re sized more like a good pair of yoga pants. Most companies will size them in groups ranging from extra-small to extra-large.

Look for Bralettes With Lightly Lined Cups

If you’re going to wear your bralette as a top to your next yoga class, you should really look for options that have lightly lined cups. Many are completely unlined, which can be great and more comfortable when wearing them underneath another shirt. However, an unlined bralette in the middle of a crowded yoga class can lead to some uncomfortable moments for you and your classmates.

As you move through rigorous practice, your body naturally builds an incredible amount of heat. Wearing a bralette is a great way to stay cool during a practice like this. Your body slowly starts to cool down by the end of class, which could mean an embarrassing faux pas in an unlined bra. Keep yourself covered and protected with some light liners.

Keep In Mind That You Won’t Have Much Support

If you’re a large-busted yogi, a bralette may not be the right fit for your yoga practice. Unlike many sports bras that feature thick fabrics and possibly even underwire, bralettes offer very little support in the larger sizes. This could lead to pain and discomfort if you’re accustomed to an extremely rigorous yoga practice. Not to mention, you may not relish the idea of having your chest bouncing around during your practice.

Yogis who have larger chests may want to search for a bralette with an underwire or one that allows you to wear a more supportive bra underneath. This can allow you to capitalize on the trend without sacrificing your comfort.


A bralette could be the perfect addition to your trusted pair of black yoga pants. You can opt for a lace version to dress them up or a sportier version to match your workout vibe. Whichever style you choose, you’re bound to be comfortable and cool during a heated yoga practice.

Yoga and Music: What Is the Connection?

 

 

The Debate

There is a great debate that has been going on for a long time over whether music is beneficial in a yoga class. There are those who feel that music makes that movements, poses, and breathing sync much easier when there is music going on. On the other hand, there are those who consider music to be a distraction.

How can you know if music is beneficial for your yoga practice or not? The first thing to consider is that there can never be complete agreement on this factor. The preference for music in yoga is as varied as it is in normal life. People’s choices in diverse types of music vary greatly.

The Benefits

On the positive side, music has been part of human history from the earliest civilizations of man. It is for this reason that music is an integral part of every culture in the world. Even though people may not love the same music genre in a yoga class, given a choice, each person can choose at least some form of music.

Music also has some obvious healing and therapeutic benefits. When combined with yoga, the health benefit is further enhanced. Depending on the postures and movements that one is doing, there is a place for both instrumental and lyrical music in a yoga practice. Understanding this factor can enhance the sense of community, the flow of the movements, self-awareness, and reflection.

Music can be especially beneficial in Vinyasa yoga classes, syncing well with the fast pace and the breathing motions. In some classes, tutors count the breathing motions to help students catch the pace. When music is incorporated, the steady tempo can make it easy for people to perform effortless breathing motions. This is key to Vinyasa yoga practitioners since breath is like a dance partner.

 

The Downside

According to the co-director of the Pennsylvania Center of Well Being, Dean Lerner, music is organized noise that is bound to affect the human mind. This means that it is not possible to draw your mind and consciousness into a meditative state when music is playing.

Lerner also agrees with a San Francisco based Iyengar instructor, Karl Erb, on the negative effects of music in meditation. There is a chance that music will compete with yoga in achieving the eight sacred goals, Pratyahara. Music may have the effect of acting as a distraction rather than a motivator in meditations.

The main goal of meditation in yoga is to reign in on wandering thoughts and focus them in one place. When music prevents this from happening, then it is not beneficial in yoga. What is interesting though is that there are still times when Lerner and Karl have used music in their yoga classes. According to them, there are times when it is appropriate.

 

How to Know When It Is Appropriate

With all the diverging points on the benefits of music in yoga, there are factors that one can consider when deciding on whether to use music.

The Intended Goal – If a teacher feels that the music may aid in achieving certain movements and poses, then it would be a good idea to use the music. However, if it appears to be a detraction, then it should be avoided.

Is it Private or Public – Every person has a preference in music that may not be shared by others. If it works when used in private, then it may be beneficial.

Previous Experience with Music – It may not be wise to start experimenting with various genres of music if you are new to yoga. It is wiser to break rules when you have already applied them in the past.

 

Chaturanga: For The Sake Of Your Shoulders

If you’re not familiar with Chaturanga, it’s basically holding a push up in its low position. Simple yet very demanding! Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the poses that a Yogi encounters often during practice. It is widely used due to its vulnerability. But many practitioners performing Chaturanga have been doing it wrong for a long time and usually this can only be corrected through years of practice or by a teacher’s guidance. Practicing poses with improper form time and again can cause unimaginable damage to your body, so its important to really focus on correct form.

The socket and the ball of our shoulders are different in nature than those in our hips. Our hip joint is stable while the shoulder joint is not in the same regard. The head of our femur rests squarely in the socket, making it independent from other muscles to keep it intact.

But the case is different for the shoulders. The sockets are composed of ligaments and muscles and only the bottom part where the humerus rests is made of bone, creating shallow attachment to the scapula. To make sure that the ball stays intact to the socket, the ligaments and the muscles surrounding the bone have to put in a collective effort and if it fails to work properly, the ball may be dislocated.

So how do you properly perform Chaturanga Dandasanaa without damaging your shoulders?

In any Yoga posture, proper form is important. And patience plays a vital role in the practice. Here’s a secret to build your way to Chaturanga without sacrificing your shoulders’ happiness:

Stability holds the key. Stabilizing your shoulder can save you from injury while approaching Chaturanga. Pull your shoulders away from your ears. Avoid dropping your shoulders too low. This happens when the pectoral muscle is too strong and is used more than the serratus anterior muscles and rhomboids which support the shoulder girdle. Stay at 90 degrees. Do not lower any further or it will force your shoulders into extension, placing them in bigger risk.

Here are two things that can greatly contribute to your stability. Slowly develop them with patience. Don’t rush. Listen to your body. Be mindful of your movement, breathing and thoughts.

Build strength. Starting your journey with no strength at all shouldn’t discourage you. So a great way to assist your weight is to hug your elbows to the side of your body. Keep them in line with your torso and squeeze them against your sides.

Fully engage your core. If the core isn’t engaged enough, it’ll put a lot of weight and pressure to your shoulders, causing you to develop improper form. Make sure that the ribs and abdominals are pulled in, thighs are pushed up and your heels’ pushed back. Hold all the muscles in your body as one system.

Approaching the posture. Start in a plank position. Wrists, elbows and shoulders are properly aligned vertically. To lift your thighs off the floor, tuck your heels to engage the quads. Suck the belly in as you inhale, engaging your core. Exhale, shift your weight forward, lowering the body, keeping the elbows at 90 degrees, in line with your torso. Inhale to Upward-facing dog to release.

Alternatively, if you can’t hold your full weight on your arms, you can drop to your knees. Follow the same principles. It’ll help lessen the weight your shoulders and arms have to carry while still familiarizing your body with the proper form and developing arm and core strength.

Remember to be patient with the practice and yourself. Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the hardest poses that need time and effort to be fully understood. With regular practice and dedication, it is not impossible.

Trust the journey and have fun discovering yourself!