9 MIN READ

 

What to wear for your next yoga class.

 

By Annie Hayes

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The lululemon guide to the best yoga gear, to help you stretch your potential and find your flow.

 

Yoga is the perfect fusion of mind and body. Whether you’re unrolling your mat for the first time or saluting the sun every morning, the goal is always the same—to feel better both mentally and physically. And there are lots of factors that can help you do exactly that. 

Do you prefer a restorative or powerful class, for example? Is there an instructor that just gets you? What gear do you need to really feel your flow? Well, we can certainly help you to answer at least one of those.  

From soft and stretchy leggings to comfortable tops and bras, choosing the right kit is key. Whether you’re tapping into your Yin or Yang, you should step into class feeling confident that your yoga gear will support you from your first downward dog—to the last. 

Keep scrolling for a detailed run-down of the finest yoga wear in the lululemon wardrobe. Taking a head-to-toe approach, our guide explains why not all leggings are created equal (save those running leggings for the treadmill) and how yoga clothes really can elevate your practice. Plus, we’ll answer all your burning questions, covering everything from washing tips to must-have yoga accessories

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What to wear to your first yoga class

If you’re new to the mat, it’s tempting to reach for the same kit you’d wear for HIIT. But the compression leggings that push you forward in the gym will only hold you back. To get the most out of your class, you’ll need gear designed with your practice in mind. That means soft, breathable, stretchy fabrics so featherlight, you’ll barely notice they’re there.

“When I’m doing yoga, I want my kit to feel like it’s almost a second skin,” says lululemon ambassador Katarina Rayburn. “There’s so much going on in terms of your mind, your intention and all the thoughts that come along with it, the philosophy and the physical practice...You don’t want any distractions or feel that you’re being restricted in some way. You don’t want to think about what you’re wearing.”

When you feel your best, you perform your best. We call this the Science of Feel, and it’s what drives the lululemon product development process. “You want products that are going to move with you, not against you,” says store educator Carla Madden. That’s why in every inch of yoga gear we produce, we consider the trifecta of sensation, support and stretch and how they impact your practice, from opening Oms to Savasana.

Look out for these specific kit qualities to unlock your full potential in every plane of movement. Because even if you’re a newbie, you can still dress and feel like a pro.

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Sweat-wicking

While your sweat levels can vary from practice to practice, all disciplines of yoga induce perspiration at some stage. Our technical fabrics draw moisture away from the body and disperse it on the surface, where it quickly evaporates. That means you stay cool, dry and comfortable—no matter how speedy your salutations.

“The most important thing for me in my practice is to build a solid state of mindfulness,” says lululemon ambassador Magnus Fridh. “I want to find and stay stable in that focus and awareness when I do my yoga, and I do not want to be interrupted to wipe sweat. Another important thing is to avoid sliding. Sweat-wicking clothes support you to be aware of your breath, in your posture and in your yoga.”

 

Four-way stretch

Let’s face it, no one needs their kit riding up in goddess pose. Four-way stretch fabric allows full freedom of movement vertically and horizontally, supporting you through every transition. We’re also firm believers that once you’re done stretching, your kit should too, which is why we’ve bent over backwards to make sure our fabrics bounce back. Lycra® provides stretchiness and shape retention, so your yoga gear stays snug, not slack.

Breathable

Made with microporous membranes that allow moisture to pass through, breathable kit regulates your body temperature during sweatier sessions. And when your kit breathes better, you do too. “If yoga clothes cause tightness on the breath, the mind will be distracted, and if the mind is distracted, the body won’t follow as well as it will do when mindful, spacious and relaxed,” says Fridh.

 

Comfortable and supportive

Yoga clothes should be fuss-free, so we’ve done away with fiddly zips, bulky pockets and non-essential seams to make your asanas as effortless as they can be. “You don’t need your phone or keys in your pocket,” says Rayburn. “You want as few distractions as possible.” Our smooth, supportive fabrics mould to your body, so you can focus on moving from pose to pose without unnecessary obstructions.

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Soft and weightless

As we mentioned, there’s a time and a place for extra-snug compression activewear, and it’s certainly not on the mat. Gym-specific kit is designed to be thicker and more supportive, which will only sabotage your zen, so look for yoga gear that delivers that next-to-nothing feeling. Our buttery-soft fabrics are so lightweight, you’ll forget they’re even there.

“You don’t want your clothes to steal your focus – but help you to stay stable, gracious, and aware in the postures in the best of ways,” says Fridh. “At the yoga mat, they should make you feel comfortable and at ease and never distract you or interrupt you or take you out of the loop of mindfulness.” 

lululemon’s yoga gear recommendations

Our desire to help you flow better, run faster, and lift more means that we’re continually innovating at lululemon. On one hand, it means there’s no shortage of seriously game-changing kit to level up your workout. On the other hand, there’s a lot of gear to choose from.

When it comes to yoga wear, there are super-soft yoga leggings and sweatpants you’ll want to live in (hello, world-famous Align pant plus weightless, fuss-free yoga tops and hoodies, that’ll support you in every type of class – be it Ashtanga or Kundalini. 

“If you’re doing a restorative healing practice, joggers and jumpers are great,” says Rayburn. “For dynamic vinyasa, where you’re going to be getting quite hot and sweaty, you want to be able to take layers off – but it’s nice to have something to put on at the end during savasana. It’s good to have layers.” 

Options are a good thing—you just need to be able to decode them. The only tough part? Picking your favourite colourway. For that, you’re on your own. 

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What yoga pants to wear

When you’re deciding what to wear to yoga, form-fitting pants are a total must. A huge variety of yoga poses involve bending, so it’s best to keep short shorts and heavy sweatpants for other workouts. The right yoga leggings allow you to twist with ease, and stretch deeper into each pose.

Align Pant

Align Pant

Made from buttery-soft Nulu™ fabric, our famous Align collection is designed to align your thoughts and movements. Created by lululemon’s research and development team Whitespace, Nulu™ was engineered to deliver what we call Naked Sensation. It's as close as you can get to going commando, with lightweight coverage that’ll preserve your dignity in forward fold. The Align Pant is sweat-wicking too, with a four-way stretch for supreme comfort and features a hidden waistband pocket to stash your card or key.

Wunder Under Tight

Wunder Under Tight

Designed to fit like a second skin, these fuss-free tights are made from cottony-soft Luon® fabric. “The Wunder Under is our classic pant,” says Madden. “It was one of the first pants lululemon ever made specifically for yoga.” The comfortable, high-rise waistband provides extra coverage without digging in, and the ‘hugged’ sensation ensures they won’t ride up while you’re attempting tree pose. The addition of extra Lycra fibre for stretch and shape retention means you’ll feel supported through every bend.

Align Jogger

Align Jogger

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In Mind Pant

In Mind Pant

One of our go-to yoga bottoms for men, the In Mind Pant feels cool to the touch and features strategically-placed mesh fabric for maximum breathability. A streamlined fit neatly skims your glutes and thighs for comfort, while the tapered leg and deep ankle cuff prevent the fabric from rolling upwards, even during headstands. “They’re a great option if you want something a little more fitted to the legs that’s not a jogger,” says Madden. Plus, they come with secure pockets and even a hidden phone sleeve.

Balancer Pant

Balancer Pant

Made from quick-drying Everlux™ fabric, the Balancer Pant is engineered to be cool and sleek on the inside. “While Nulu™ is the best fabric in terms of comfort, Everlux™ gives you that extra bit of support,” says Madden. “It’s a little bit more breathable, and ever so slightly more sweat-wicking as well.” Perfect for hot yoga practices such as Bikram – or any time your instructor picks up the pace. The gusset is positioned to allow extra mobility, so you can settle into crow pose without risking a red face.

Intent Jogger

Intent Jogger

If you’re looking for yoga wear that doubles as loungewear, these cosy joggers are a smart choice to take you from sofa to studio. Made from ultra-soft Luon® fabric, they’re streamlined through the backside and quads, and feature strategically-placed panelling that sends seams away from delicate goods. As you manoeuvre through your daily practice, clever four-way stretch technology follows your every move while wicking away every drop of sweat as it appears.

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What yoga tops to wear

Take it from us, there’s a lot more to proper yoga gear than simply selecting the correct leggings. Narrow-fit yoga tops, tanks and tees are a must for all yogis, since you need them to stay put during inversions. When talking about yoga clothes for women specifically, we can’t understate the importance of a carefully-chosen yoga bra. Here are our top picks for a snug, secure fit.

Align Tank

Align Tank

Featuring a built-in shelf bra and cropped just above the waist, the Align Tank will carry you from chair pose to post-workout coffee in unparalleled comfort. “The Align Pant and the Align Tank are basically my uniform,” says Rayburn. “I love the fact that the top is pretty much seamless. If you wear the leggings high enough, it’s basically a full-on body suit, so if you don’t want to show any midriff, you can use it to cover up. It doubles up as a regular top, you could put jeans on and wear it after class.”

All Tied Up Tank

All Tied Up Tank

You can wear this versatile tank two ways: long and loose, or tied and tight. “It’s a beautiful top because it’s very flowy,” says Madden. “If you’re going to be doing a lot of sun salutations, you can tie it up at the back so the top isn’t falling over your head.” With deep armholes and an open back, it’s engineered for effective airflow, and made with soft, stretchy Pima Cotton fabric so you can move, sweat and breathe with ease. Leaving you free to focus on nailing your headstand.

Align™ Bra

Align™ Bra

This lightweight yoga bra looks chic layered under a tank top, and offers more than enough coverage when worn alone. It’s made from buttery-soft, sweat-wicking Nulu™ fabric to keep you comfortable during your practice, but we won’t be surprised if you wear it all day. Better yet, this lightweight yoga bra is totally reversible, so you can flip it inside out for a fresh look next time you hit the studio. You’ll Namaslay.

Adapt and Align™ Bra

Adapt and Align™ Bra

If you’re looking to dial up the support levels, our Adapt and Align Yoga Bra quite literally has your back, thanks to padded double crossover straps that hold everything securely in place. It otherwise functions like your favourite trusty, reliable T-shirt bra (even down to the sizing) with a hook-and-eye closure to adjust the band for a customised fit, and spacer construction in the cups for shaping.

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve

How technical can a T-shirt really get? Turns out, very. The clever mesh construction in this men’s tee wicks sweat and dries quickly, so you can squeeze in an uplifting lunchtime flow without returning to work soaked in sweat. It’s fitted with Silverescent™, an antibacterial nylon yarn with silver bonded around it – this inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria on the fabric to keep you smelling fresh. With seamless technology to reduce chafe and elastane fibre for extra stretchiness, it’s the ideal all-rounder and a go-to for guys.

In Sequence Tank

In Sequence Tank

Keep your cool when the mercury rises - in hot yoga or a faster flow - with this soft, streamlined men’s tank, featuring the very same Silverescent™, stink-conquering technology woven into the fabric. There’s no need to tuck it into your joggers or shorts during inversions—just attach the hem loop to your drawcord before you ascend into feathered peacock pose, and you’ll keep your stomach covered and the fabric out of your face. This tank is also sweat-wicking and quick-drying to keep you comfortable and your mind firmly on the flow.

What to wear on your feet for yoga

Ideally, nothing. Whenever you walk into a yoga studio, you’ll usually be asked to leave your shoes outside the door. This simple action draws a figurative line between the outside world and your practice space. Once you’re settled on the mat, it’s best to remove your socks, too. At least until Savasana.

“In yoga, we talk about pada bandha – your foot engagement,” says Rayburn. “It’s quite important, especially in your standing postures and your balances, to really feel the ground, feel grounded and to feel supported. If you’re wearing socks, you’re removing that ground-to-skin contact. “There are so many nerve endings in your feet,” Rayburn continues. “That’s what helps us to stand and to balance. If you look at yourself in a standing posture, your feet are doing all these micro-corrections and little movements. So it’s very important to have a lot of articulation in your toes.”

FAQs

Do I need a mat? 

Put simply, yes. If you’re practising yoga at home, the last thing you need is chaturanga-induced carpet burn. And while your local studio will usually provide a yoga mat free of charge, it’s better to get sweaty on a mat you can roll up and call your own. Plus, it’ll hold you accountable, as Fridh points out. 

“When you have decided to buy your own yoga mat, it is also a decision to become a more regular practitioner,” he says. “And since consistency in yoga and meditation is so rewarding, the decision itself will support your development.

If you are practising Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or any other dynamic yoga styles, Fridh says, prioritise choosing a mat with plenty of traction. Our Reversible Mat has a grippy polyurethane top layer that’ll help you hold your balance, however humid your workout. 

For Yin yoga and other restorative practices, you’ll benefit from the extra cushioning in our Arise Mat. “A thicker padded mat might be the best choice, since you are doing almost all the postures lying or sitting down,” he explains. “It will support your back better and will be much gentler on your body.” 

Plan on practicing somewhere other than your house on a semi-regular basis? It’s also worth considering the weight of your yoga mat. If, like Fridh, you’re likely to be carrying your yoga mat to the studio most days, or plan on taking the mat on your travels, select a lightweight option.  

“At the moment I use the Take Form Yoga Mat,” Fridh says. “Its natural rubber material and the perfect grip fit my sweaty dynamic practice perfectly. It’s also worth mentioning the innovative 3D texture. It gives me guidelines to stay centered in all the different poses without looking down.” 

 

What bra to wear to yoga?

Unlike with sports bras, it’s best to opt for a less-rigid fit with low-to-medium support. “You think you need loads of support, and then in the class you’re like ‘I’m so uncomfortable’ – really not ideal when you’re trying to do ujjayi breath,” says Madden. 

Her top tip? Rather than a ‘strapped in’ feeling, opt for a ‘barely-there’ vibe. “If you’re thinking about a yoga bra while you’re wearing it, that usually means the bra is not necessarily right for you. You want something that’s going to support you, without feeling like you’re suffocating.” 

For smaller busts, our lightweight Like a Cloud Long-Line Bra features marshmallowy-soft foam cups for subtle support, and four-way-stretch for unrestricted movement. Our Free To Be Elevated Bra, made for DD and E cups, offers slick, low-friction support to maximise mobility and comfort. 

 

What to wear to hot yoga class?

Practicing yoga in a heated studio has serious perks, but you’ll need breathable fabrics and anti-sweat technologies to handle those extra-sweaty asanas. The unique yarns in our Everlux™ fabric are engineered for workouts where you crank up the heat – figuratively and literally – to keep you cool, dry and focused throughout. The cooling inner layer delivers unparalleled sweat-wicking capabilities while keeping your body temperature in check, and a quick-drying outer layer is buttery-soft to the touch.

For women, Madden recommends the Wunder Train and Invigorate yoga leggings. “Both use Everlux™,” she explains. “The only difference between the Wunder Train and the Invigorate is the way they look. The Wunder Train looks more like an Align pant, while the Invigorate has got pockets. They perform in the exact same way, and can be used for any kind of sport – not just yoga.” For men, the Balancer Short harnesses the sweat-wicking, quick-drying powers of Everlux™ for a distraction-free flow.  

 

What should you not wear to yoga?

Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or distracted. Think: unnecessary zips and fastenings, thick seams and bulky pockets. “If you don’t feel comfortable, you can’t focus entirely on your practice, and it will make your mind wander,” says Fridh. “Maybe you will start comparing yourself with others, and that is not the way to go. Instead, use all your energy to be kind to yourself and give yourself self-compassion.” 

Generally, anything oversized or loose-fitting is to be avoided, “especially if you’re doing dynamic yoga,” says Fridh. “You don’t want too much cloth hanging, it will make some postures more challenging. For example, downward dog – you don’t want your shirt to slide over your face, or your pants to start hanging when you stretch out your hamstrings.” 

And during restorative practices, don’t forget your layers – this is less important in summer, but vital in winter. “It’s nice to have warmer, chunkier clothes, since the practice itself is very slow and still,” he says. “When I do Yin yoga, I love to wear a long-sleeved tee or even a lightweight hoodie.” To keep the chill off, bulk up your wardrobe with the Scuba Crew for women and the At Ease Crew for men.

 

What yoga accessories do I need?

While the only non-negotiable piece of equipment you’ll need is a high quality yoga mat, the right accessories will support your flow and help you progress your practice. By filling the space between your body and the ground, our Lift and Lengthen Yoga Block can make tricky poses more accessible to beginners and advanced yogis alike.  

“For example, in a triangle pose, the yoga block can support your hand instead of putting weight onto your leg,” says Fridh. “This will make you more stable and allow you to find a better alignment. This can be an eye-opener and leads to a quicker understanding of the potential a posture can offer.”

You can also use the block to test yourself and develop strength in certain postures. “You can place them under your feet to give your body an extra challenge in balancing postures,” says Rayburn. “If you bring a tree pose onto a block, it adds a whole new dimension to it.”

To work on your flexibility, our No Limits Stretching Strap can help you to go deeper into your stretches and binds. Again, this handy bit of kit is not just for beginners. “A strap is essentially there to extend your limbs,” Rayburn says. “You could be an advanced practitioner that has shorter arms, and so you need that assistance regardless of how flexible you are or how long you’ve been practicing for.”

Once your flow’s over, pat away any sweat with The Small Towel, made of super-absorbent microfibres, and sling our Loop It Up Mat Strap around your yoga mat for easy transportation and storage.

 

Can I wear sweatpants to yoga?

Of course – that’s why we made them. While no one will judge you for wearing thick, cosy sweatpants in class, choosing well-ventilated sweats will make for a far more comfortable flow. If you’re looking for an alternative to the Align Pant we featured earlier, our super-high rise flared Groove Pants pair the cosiness of joggers with the lightweight properties of traditional yoga leggings. 

And for men? Fridh recommends the Surge Joggers. Although they’re engineered with running in mind, these versatile pants perform well on the mat, too. “I love the four-way stretch quality,” he says. “The pants give the glutes and thighs breathing room, and they look as great in the yoga room as in the street.” They also feature zipped cuffs, which makes them easy to slip on and off.

 

How do I wash my yoga gear?

Once you’ve whipped off your kit and made a beeline for the shower, it’s tempting to bundle your yoga leggings and tops straight into the wash basket. But with a little extra know-how and care, it’s entirely possible to lengthen the life of your yoga wear. For starters, you should always give sweaty kit time to air dry before relegating it to the washing machine. This’ll reduce levels of odour-causing bacteria, making it easier to wash out. 

When your yoga gear is good and dry, turn the kit inside out to keep it snag-free. “Be mindful of putting anything abrasive in the machine, as it could potentially catch and we don’t want that,” says Madden. If it’s joining a zipped item – our Surge Warm Full Zip, for example – be sure to completely zip the jacket up to minimise the risk of damage. Wash your kit on 30ºC or cooler, and be sure to skip the fabric softener. “It essentially adds a coating to the top of the fabric, which prevents it from performing the way it was intended,” says Madden. 

 

Do you wear shoes or socks for yoga? 

We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s best to practice without shoes and socks. Aside from supporting your balance, there are several practical reasons to go barefoot. For starters, you won’t risk tearing the mat with your trainers, or pull a muscle from slipping on your socks. 

Without the natural grip of your feet, you might struggle with certain poses. “You might feel like you’ve got absolutely no strength, when it’s just the fact that you’re slipping,” says Rayburn. “It’s about being able to really feel the ground, rather than there being a piece of material between you.”