As a practice, yoga isn't supposed to be hard on the pocketbook. Bare feet and an inexpensive mat were all that early yogis needed. Today, yoga is not only a way to stay fit and centered, but a way for some industries to make money as well. Yoga gear can be expensive, making it a financial burden to try attain inner peace. If you need to scale back or want to practice without all of the extras, you can find yoga wear alternatives that are cheap so your finances don't interfere with your inner balance.
One way to save money on yoga wear is to repurpose items from your regular closet. Most yoga pants stretch to some degree via spandex. If you already have leggings in your drawer, use those. Leggings are suitable because they are tight-fitting and move with you, allowing your instructor to see your form. You don't need a specialty top. A comfortable tank or T-shirt is sufficient, and you may already own a couple of those.
You might be tempted to swap your pants for shorts come summertime, but you should avoid that purchase. Pants are best for yoga since skin-on-skin contact or skin-to-mat contact during certain poses (tree pose, for example) could cause a degree of slipperiness. By keeping your yoga pants for summer, you save money on yoga wear, and you'll have traction to perfect your form.
Tops and Bottoms
You can wear just about anything during yoga as long as it satisfies the following requirements: It's flexible, snug-fitting and helps keep you cool. That means T-shirts, lounge pants, sports bras and jerseys are all acceptable. You don't need to shop at specialty stores for high-priced yoga gear. Most major retail chain stores carry their own lines of athletic wear that would be appropriate for yoga class. When in doubt, ask your instructor for suggestions. She often can direct you to places to shop and the types of clothes she recommends for class.
Clothing to Avoid
While you can often use clothes from bargain stores or from your current wardrobe to wear to yoga, some items should be avoided. If you're doing hot yoga, avoid natural fabrics such as cotton. When they get wet, they become heavy and can inhibit your movement. Likewise, don't wear oversized sweats and T-shirts, since they don't allow your instructor to check your form. Avoid any heavy fabrics or clothes that may slide around your body. Many yoga positions involve inversion, and you'll want your clothes to stay put.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.