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Yoga Clothes

Friday, 14 November 2008 | Tags: , ,

Yoga clothing is form fitting yet comfortable, allowing you flexibility for the many postures associated with yoga practice. We compare fit, function, quality, style, and, of course, price.

The Basics

  • Comfort is important for an enjoyable yoga experience. Clothes that dig into your body compromise your concentration, so avoid embroidered stitching or logos that may irritate your skin. Also check seams for flat lock stitching as opposed to lumpier serge stitching.

  • Your clothes must allow you a full range of motion. Avoid anything that is too tight or too loose.

  • A fitted yoga top is a must so it won’t slip over your head when you’re bending into poses.

  • Look for spandex or Lycra material, which is stretchy and stays where it’s supposed to. The higher the percentage the better. Around 14% is perfect.

  • Fabrics that wick away sweat are also a plus, especially when practicing Bickram’s (hot yoga) in a heated studio. Many popular brands have their own registered name for this wicking technology (e.g. CoolMax, Dri-Fit).

  • Check that pants or shorts have a special crotch gusset for better breathability.

Other Considerations

  • You can get a sense from the feel of the fabric whether it’s good quality and if it will hold its shape.

  • When you try on the clothes, strike a few poses to see if everything stays in place.

  • If you’re large-chested, look for a camisole top with a built-in bra for added support.

  • Avoid fabrics that are slippery as it may be difficult to hold some poses.

  • When you’re practicing yoga, you don’t want to have to think about your clothes. They should be like an extension of your skin.

TEST CRITERIA

With help from yoga instructors who practically lives in their yoga clothes whether teaching or not, we wore our test outfits for several weeks – everywhere, including yoga class, of course.

  • Old Navy (spandex content: Pants, 12% Top, 5%): Pant $30, Top $15
  • lululemon (spandex content: 14%): Pant $93, Top $48
  • Karma (spandex content: 12%): Pant $85, Top $60
  • Heavenly Bodies (spandex content: 20%): Pant $78, Top $70

Style Test

  • Our yoga instructors were most impressed with the Karma clothing. It matched their style the best and they liked the colours available.

  • lululemon also earned top marks for style and colour variety

Quality Test

  • After only two months, one of our yoga instructors had to do a minor repair on the elastic inside her Karma camisole. That didn’t score well with us – the elastic should definitely have a longer life.

  • The Old Navy clothes just didn’t seem to fit right. The pants were at that awkward length leaving some taller testers feeling like they were wearing floods. And because of a higher cotton content, the colour faded.

  • The lululemon fabric pilled after a while, which we weren’t happy about.

Usability Test

  • Some testers found the Heavenly Bodies fabric too thick and uncomfortably hot for a yoga workout.

  • Some testers found the Karma fabric too thin, which emphasized any imperfections.

  • Most testers liked lululemon for its perfect weight.

OUR TOP PICK

There was no clear front runner, but we feel the lululemon offers the best variety in styles and colours. Just wash with care.

   Thanks to Our Experts

  • Janet Walden, yoga instructor
  • Janice Larson, textile expert
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