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Stretch in style

Jul 5th, 2012
Zoë Sophos

Young woman in downward dog poseYoga is a practice of simplicity, where nothing matters beyond the flow of one’s breath and the feel of the mat. However, clothes that prevent the best stretch possible — by falling down during a headstand or preventing a deep lunge in warrior pose — can disrupt even the most calm, controlled practice.

To help yogis choose the right outfit and get the most out of their practice, the Art of Living Foundation compiled the following tips:

·  Yoga is not about competition, comparison or fashion. Clothes should make you feel “beautiful, gracious and honored,” so wear whatever you feel like.

·  Clothes should be comfortable, modest, close fitting and flexible. Stretchable cotton blend tanks or tees are good choices for men or women, and so are capri pants. Drawstring pants should be avoided because they are uncomfortable when lying on your stomach. Synthetic fibers don’t allow the skin to breathe, and shorts and loose shirts can bunch up in upside-down poses.

·  Layering helps beat the wide range of temperatures in an average yoga class — colder before warm-up and during meditations, warmer during intense stretching. Light zip-up sweatshirts, wraps or shawls are all good choices for quick temperature adjustments.

·  Yoga pants worn as leggings underneath a tunic or A-line dress can go straight from the yoga mat to the office. Yoga gear made of tweeds or stretchy knits can sometimes be pulled off as business attire as well, with the addition of jewelry, flats or boots.