Yoga Fashion: Sleeveless Tops and Workout Shorts That Don’t Bunch Up Around Your Crotch
A yoga-related question came down the Facebook transom the other day. “Dear Neal,” it read. “I’ve been practicing yoga several days a week and enjoying it, but I’m starting to get annoyed by my baggy T-shirts flopping around in my face. Do you have any suggestions?”
The topic of women’s yoga fashion is a minefield from which, if I stepped into it, I wouldn’t emerge alive, so I’ll avoid. But when it comes to men and yoga clothes, the standards are much lower and the needs are simpler. If you look at old photos of Krishnamacharya, pretty much universally recognized as the founder of modern, physical yoga, he appears to be wearing not much more than a tastefully folded cloth diaper. As the years progressed and he grew slightly trendier, Krishnamacharya progressed to some tight-fitting striped boxers, and also rocked a nifty white goatee. However, you never see photographs of him practicing asana while wearing a shirt.
In general, I find that it’s a lot easier to do yoga shirtless. You move more freely and don’t constantly have to deal with itchy cloth bunching up at unforgiving and complex moments. At the same time, we live in a world where a lot of people want to practice yoga, and you may find yourself in a class with 30 people in a room better suited for 20. This sets you up for getting known as the shirtless guy who splashes sweat all over everyone else’s mat. The last thing you need, when you’re trying to practice yoga diligently and sincerely, is to be a topic of snarky twitters at the juice bar after class.
So I recommend a compromise position: sleevelessness. I own two nice, form-fitting sleeveless tops that my wife gave me for my 38th birthday. When those get crusted with sweat and grime, and laundry isn’t happening, I also have several cheap white cotton sleeveless tees, which are available at Target for five bucks a six-pack. Yes, if you go sleeveless you’ll look a bit like a neutered yoga guy, but if you’re already worrying about your practice clothes, then you’re far enough down the path that it shouldn’t matter to you. So go sleeveless, middle-aged man. Feel the cool air swoosh across your pits as you rise up into Warrior One. And don’t forget to bring a sweat towel.
As for your bottoms, just find a pair or two of good-quality workout shorts that don’t bunch up around your crotch and shoot up your ass crack. Those aren’t the kinds of adjustments you need to make during class. And please make sure the pants fit your waist snugly. Going shirtless during yoga may be annoying, but dropping your pants can be a misdemeanor.
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