There is a stereotype of traditional yogis that portrays them as more concerned with spiritual disciplines and practices than with the accouterments of pop culture. Yogis of yesteryear are viewed as aloof when it comes to prominent social norms, choosing to focus more on their practice than their appearance. Many envision a traditional yoga in simple white garments, barefoot, with their eyes closed in meditation.
Modern-day yoga and yoga fashion is certainly challenging this long-held stereotype about what it means to practice yoga truly. Yogis these days are very concerned with their outfits, believing that what they clothe the body is just as important as the physical work they do with their bodies during a practice.
If traditional yoga has just as much to do with philosophy and spiritual discipline as it does with the practice, how can yoga and fashion exist simultaneously in the modern world?
The truth is that yoga fashion isn’t so much about what the pieces of clothing look like in comparison to modern trends. High-waisted Capri leggings are popular among contemporary yogis, but it’s about more than just the pants themselves. One of the most often discussed elements of yogic philosophy is the concept of self-love or self-compassion. Dressing comfortably in clothes that make you feel attractive and confident can certainly be one way of carrying that principle into your daily life.
Your yoga leggings, pants, or workout tops should also allow your body to move in the ways it was naturally created to move. The breath should flow smoothly in and out of the lungs instead of being restricted. You should be able to stretch, bend, and flow easily throughout your practice and your day.
Many yogis will also look for pieces that have beautiful patterns or coloring, which can be a valid way of boosting their own prana energy. Surrounding yourself with bright colors can give your mood a boost and give you more energy as you travel through the day.
Keep in mind that understanding where yoga fashion comes from also plays a big part in honoring traditional yogic philosophy. It is one of the largest areas where yoga and fashion overlap. Taking good care of the earth and the people who reside in it is central to the teachings from the Yoga Sutras and other traditional texts.
As a result, yogis have a responsibility to ensure that their clothing and fashion come from a non-harming environment. This concept applies not just to the materials used to make them but to the environments provided to workers. Yogis should be concerned with what they wear, ensuring that it was sustainably resourced and produced by workers who were paid fair wages for the work they performed.
Fashion in yoga is about more than just the appearance of your outfit and how it compares to the other students in your yoga class. It represents foundational thinking and beliefs, giving yogis a real-world application to practice the traditional yogic philosophy that is so important to extend your practice off of the mat.