How do you feel after your yoga class? Usually you feel fresh, clear headed, rejuvenated and even energised, ready for the day or relaxed after a stressful one. But did you know that the clothes you choose for your workout can have an effect on how you feel leading up to, during
and after your class?
A 2012 experimental study found that “clothes can systematically influence wearers’ psychological processes”... Ok, so that’s a bit cryptic. Basically what the research is saying is that we give meaning to clothes. When you see a uniform you think authority, when you see a sports jacket with elbow pads maybe you think of a dusty old professor - regardless of what comes to your mind the reasoning is that the clothes we wear have an effect on the way we perceive ourselves.
In the experiment, researchers found that subjects wearing a coat described as a doctor's coat displayed higher attentiveness whereas the subjects wearing the same coat, but this time described as a painters coat, displayed lower attentiveness. In subsequent test scenarios this phenomenon continued to prove true, resulting in what was termed “enclothed cognition”.
Think about this idea of “enclothed cognition”, we kind of already knew it didn’t we? You wouldn’t rock up to a yoga class in snow pants - they would be hot and impractical (and you would be the only one there that makes a shuffling noise each time you move your legs!). How about jeans? Again impractical - you have no movement and the funny looks you get from people would be a little off putting throughout the class.
The biggest obstacle with both these clothing options would be the fact that you don’t feel personally prepared - this will affect your motivation, the effectiveness of your practice and the satisfaction you feel at the end. How does this affect you when choosing your yoga wear? It comes down to what helps you get into the right frame of mind for whatever you're doing. So if you have uncomfortable or misfitting yoga clothes, perhaps it’s time that find more something a little more comfortable.
What to look for when choosing yoga wear
Choosing the right yoga clothing can depend on factors such as your mood, the temperature, styles that appeal to you, and if you sweat during your yoga session.
Whatever the case, keep these keys in mind:
- Comfortable - They should be comfortable to wear, and make you comfortable being seen in them; you want your mind to be on your practice, not on the way the clothes are weirdly pulling or worrying if people are looking at you. We also recommend that clothes are not see through - just remember there may be someone behind you when you're in downward facing dog!
- Breathable - Wicking is when fabric draws sweat away from the body and keeps you cool. Using good quality cotton that is breathable or synthetic fibres that provide wicking will help to keep your body temperature regulated, instead of fluctuating throughout the yoga sequence.
- Well Fitted - Whether you're in the mood for something tight and bright or loosey goosey, you want them to be well fitted . Going to either extreme can result in constant readjustments that will only distract you from your workout. Jump up and down a few times and make sure everything stays in place!
- Supportive - Elastic bands on waists and hems will keep your yoga clothes in place and supportive throughout your poses. If you want something with a little more support just make sure to avoid designs that use buttons, underwires, belts or protruding seams. These can all get caught on your yoga mat and dig in in certain poses (ouch!).
The clothes you wear directly impact how you think and what you do. So find the yoga outfit that suits you as well as representing your inner motivation and feelings! You'll be more motivated, feel more comfortable and stay focused. The perfect combination for your yoga practice!
This article was submitted by our friends at Female for Life