Have you ever wondered why there is such a big market for yoga clothing? Have you ever thought that since you can do yoga naked the clothing you wear shouldn't be an issue? Through experimenting with my own yoga practice and wardrobe I've figured out why there is such a big market for yoga clothing and why going naked might be better than wearing the clothes that are the wrong style, fit, or fabric.
To start, I know hair doesn't count as clothing but I have found with my hair it is best to wear a low bun. A high pony tail doesn't feel good when you're on your back and if your hair isn't in a bun you can end up lying on the pony tail. A long pony tail and l hair can get in your face. A stretchy head band can help keep the hair off your face if it's too short to pull back and if you attend a high-pace yoga class absorbent headbands are a good idea to prevent the sweat making its way into your eyes.
If the neckline of your top is too big not only will it reveal more of your chest than you might like, it could hit you in the face which I find annoying and distracting, and it could obscure your vision. Proper alignment in yoga not only prevents injury but increases the effectiveness of the pose so until you're incredibly aware of your body placement you probably want to be able to see where your hands and feet are. Being able to fix your gaze on an unmoving object also helps with balance. If you don't believe that do a little experiment by timing how long you can stand on one foot with your eyes closed and with your eyes open.
In any pose where you lift your hands if the the torso of your shirt is too short you might reveal muffin tops, spare tires, ribs, tattoos, belly buttons, or piercings you'd prefer to keep covered (and warm). Similarly, if the waistband of your top is too loose it is going to come up to your ribs, chest, or arm pits when you do an inverted pose.
If your sleeves are too long and/or wide you are likely to accidentally put your hands or feet on them. If you end up putting your hand down on the cuff of your sleeve rather than your yoga mat or the floor you're likely to slip. If a foot comes down on a wide sleeve no only could you slip but your hand won't be free to jut out to prevent a fall. Though you're not likely to get a large injury from most slips and falls in yoga it is quite easy to pull muscles and we all know how annoying that is. Similarly to shirt sleeves, pant legs can't be too wide or long or you're likely to step or sit on them. You may not slip or fall but you will look silly and be annoyed and distracted as you constantly tug at your pant legs.
Like the waistband of the shirt, a well fitting waistband in the pants will help you enjoy your yoga practice more. If the waistband on your pants is too loose it could gape as you move through the poses and can easily be pulled down in some poses. It's annoying to always be pulling your pants up and of course you can reveal more than you'd like. Thankfully I haven't accidentally showed too much but I have been in classes where I saw a little more of classmates than I'd like.
Another important point of loose or bulky clothing is that if you are in a class it is harder for the teacher to keep an eye on you. For example, if you came to my class wearing jogging pants I would be able to check that your knee was safely aligned over your ankle but I might not be able to see if your knees were locked or not.
Part of the layering I like to do for the relaxing savasana at the end of class is a fluffy pair of socks. I'd recommend you not wear socks for your practice (for the same reason I recommend you invest in a yoga mat rather than use a blanket or practice on carpet) because it is too easy to slip.
It's hard to say discretely but if the seat of your pants is too loose you might end up giving yourself a bit of a wedgie which isn't easy to get out of discretely when most of the class is in one position and you're in another, fussing with your backside.
Though I like to head to class wearing layers to remove as I get warmer and put on again for savasana at the end of class, I find layers get in the way once I'm moving much. This is the same reason I don't like to wear very thick or loose clothing for my practice. In lying or seated poses you will move but your outer later of clothing will not. You'll end up with twisted clothes you need to unwind before moving into the next pose. This isn't so annoying in something like a yin class where fewer poses are held for longer but it's harder in in any class with a flow where you want to move seamlessly (pun intended) through a series of poses.
I like to incorporate a little bit of cardio into my yoga which works up a bit of a sweat. For this reason I like the new moisture-wicking fabrics. The relaxing savasana at the end of class wouldn't feel so great if your clothing was cold and damp.
I also recommend fabrics that are smooth so your limbs can glide against each other without too much friction. Wearing a textured fabric is similar to wearing too many layers. You want your clothing to move with you to stay safe, comfortable, and focused on your practice.
Some instructors prefer you wear a certain type of clothing (one of my instructors likes to honor purity by having mostly white clothing in class) but that information will likely be on their web site or they will mention it when you sign up. One of the reasons I love teaching yoga is that I can create an environment where we embrace individuality so I like to see personalities revealed in clothing so anything goes in my classes!
Finally, if you are planning to go to a class I highly recommend you check the sheerness of your clothing and inspect the crotch of your pants for any holes because I'm guessing you probably don't want to accidentally reveal your root chakra!
As with everything in yoga I simply advise doing what works for you (yoga for you!) in a way that shows respect for others.
Whether you're on the course for fresh-air exercise, to improve your personal best, or to compete with others, yoga can help.
Doing yoga doesn't have to mean meditating while sitting like a pretzel or doing handstands while chanting. There is a style of yoga to benefit any personality, any level of fitness, and any physical challenge.
Increasing numbers of athletes are turning to yoga for an extra advantage. Race car driver Oriol Servia even jokes that "I definitely do not encourage other drivers to try it. I want to have an advantage."
Yoga gives you increased core strength, deeper flexibility, better balance, better breath control, and body/breath/mind awareness. For golfers this translates to:
- more power behind your swing
- more flexibility for a deeper swing-through
- prevention of injury
- staying calm under pressure
- delivering fresh oxygen to muscles before a swing
- less fatigue on the course
- quicker recovery from fatigue and injury off the course
- increased ability to focus results in fewer mistakes
- quicker recovery from mistakes
- better posture on and off the course
- improved balance
- more precise alignment before and during your swing
Learn and practice yoga with a safety-minded instructor who has studied the science-based research of the benefits of yoga.
Private sessions are designed just for you, based on your specific goals, fitness level, and any physical limitations.
Group sessions take you through a series of routines generally beneficial for golfers.
As more people realize that yoga doesn't have to mean sitting like a pretzel or doing handstands while chanting, modern science is supporting the ancient claims that among many other benefits, yoga can improve some of the heath issues most commonly associated with aging, as well as lessen the pain and stress which accompanies such health issues.
The American National Institutes of Health says
- 34 million Americans have osteopenia
- 10 million have osteoporosis
- Half of all women with osteoporosis will have at least one fracture after age 50
The American National Sleep Foundation estimated that about half of all American seniors have at least one issue sleep issue which can be linked to
- general pain
- sleep apnea
- restless leg syndrome
- excess weight
- dependence on alcohol
- dependence on caffeine
The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that in adults over age 64
- one in three adults fall each year
- falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries
- falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries
- half of fatal falls are due to traumatic brain injuries
- almost a third of falls result in injuries which impede mobility and independence and increase the risk of early death
Dr. Loren Fishman (co-author of Yoga for Osteoporosis, past president of the New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and current Assistant Clinical Professor at Columbia Medical School) states yoga can
- prevent osteopenia
- prevent osteoporosis
- relieve pain associated with bone damage
- perhaps increase bone density
Sara Meeks (a physical therapist specializing in osteoporosis who has taught yoga since 1984) explains that the pull of muscle on bone is the single major factor in bone strength and that yoga
- creates that pull without damaging cartilage or stressing the joints
- simultaneously improves flexibility and alignment
- prevents potentially stressful aches and pains
Using the World Health Organization's measures of Quality of Life and the Pittsburgh Sleep Index it was shown a yoga practice after just seven weeks
- increased quality of sleep
- decreased dependence on sleeping aids (medicines)
A Harbor-UCLA Medical Center study and Harvard University reported
- less pain medication needed after beginning a yoga practice
Harvard University research also claims that a yoga can
- increase blood circulation to the brain's sleep center to normalize the sleep cycle
- provide mental clarity
- decrease stress, tension, fatigue, and the length of time needed to sleep
- decrease heart rate
- lower blood pressure
- ease respiration
- lessen anxiety, depression, PTSD, fatigue, insomnia, and dependence on alcohol
- increase energy and a sense of well-being
- switch on and off some genes linked to stress
Temple University has found that at the end of the nine-week yoga program, women over age 64 reduced their risk of falling because they gained:
- a faster stride
- increased flexibility in the lower extremities
- better balance, even on one leg
- increased confidence in walking and balance
There is a style of yoga to suit every gender, every personality type, every level of fitness, every physical challenge, and every personal goal.
Contact Simone at Creative Yoga to find out how she can help you access the benefits of yoga. You can attend her classes at The House of Now on 5th street, arrange for her to instruct large groups at a location of your choosing, or arrange for custom-designed private instruction of up to three people.
It's called Creative Yoga because there's a focus on making yoga work for whoever you are and whatever goals you have.
Every yoga pose can be modified or swapped to accommodate any level of fitness and physical limitation. Even quadriplegics can do yoga. We will create a yoga practice that works for you.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your golf game, get better grades, build your business, improve your sex life, recover from injury, have deeper sleeps, reduce stress, or anything in between, we can create a yoga practice that helps you achieve those goals. And you'll get some benefits you didn't expect!
Anecdotal results and scientific studies agree that beyond the obvious benefits like stronger muscles and more flexibility, yoga also offers less obvious benefits that can help you with a myriad of goals.
The breath work in yoga trains your body to use your breath more efficiently. More oxygen is delivered to your muscles and organs so they can do their jobs with less effort and you'll have more energy to do to the things you want to do.
Breath work also results in more oxygen for your brain to help you make smarter choices for your general mental and physical health and for your personal goals.
The nature of yoga forces you to concentrate as you move through the poses. You will naturally carry this ability to focus into the rest of your life, including whatever goals you're working toward.
The meditative nature of yoga, which comes from focusing on one thing at a time, lets the subconscious do it's work without the rest of your brain interrupting it. This can result in clever new ideas in all areas of your life.
All of the above benefits combined mean you'll be more aware of all the things you can be grateful for and you'll spend more time in the present moment which is a key factor in happiness.
In addition to all of the above you'll be able to deal with what goes wrong in a calmer, and faster, way than ever before so you can get back to doing whatever it is you want to do.
Of course balance refers to your ability to stand on one foot but it also refers to managing your time, energy, and attention in a way that allows you to balance being productive with enjoying your life.
With clearer thinking, bright ideas, and more joy and peace you will become more flexible in the way you think about and respond to things in your life. Of course this will cultivate more joy and peace and along the way yoga poses will increase your physical flexibility.
As we age we lose muscle mass so actively working to maintain and/or increase muscle mass is smart. If you chose to do that with yoga which celebrates your individuality and cultivates all of the above qualities, you will also gain inner strength.
With clearer thinking, you will be able to make safer split-second decisions. With a better sense of balance and more physical flexibility and strength you will be less likely to lose your balance or twinge something if you do fall or have another sort of accident.
With a greater sense of peace and balance the mental aspects of injury recovery won't be as challenging. With more efficient breathing your body will receive the oxygen it needs for healing. With greater strength you won't lose muscle mass so quickly should you lose mobility for a time.
With all of these benefits it is easy to see how yoga could help you achieve any of your life goals.