8 types of yoga explained and what to wear for each
Choosing a yoga class can become an overwhelming challenge when you see so many different foreign names. We totally get how stressful it can be not knowing what to expect or showing up in the wrong outfit.
Don’t worry, we will cover the 8 most common types of yoga and what to wear for each. You will learn which class is the best fit for your lifestyle and goal, be it fitness or restoration.
Hot yoga or Bikram
Like the name suggests, hot yoga is designed to make you hot and sweaty. Bikram is also a type of yoga practiced in a warm room (35 degrees Celsius!) The difference between hot yoga and Bikram is that Bikram classes follow a set of 26 poses whereas hot yoga allows more diversity in the sequence.
It is thought that the heat can help loosen the muscles and promote flexibility. Some also believe that heated yoga is good for detox and fat loss, although these benefits are largely anecdotal.
If you would like to give them a go, choosing the right clothes are essential! You don’t want to torture yourself by wearing clothes that retain heat and make you feel like you are swimming in sweat.
Cotton is soft and comfortable, but NOT for hot yoga. This is because cotton literally soaks up your sweat and weighs you down.
The best clothes to wear to hot yoga are those that are breathable and sweat-wicking. Materials with these properties include polyester and nylon. Instead of full-length pants, you might want to wear lightweight shorts like floral ambient shorts or mid-weight capri leggings. For the upper body, many girls simply wear a moisture-wicking sports bra that keeps them dry and mobile.
Don’t forget to grab a headband, a tower for your mat and a hand towel for your body.
Vinyasa and Ashtanga
Vinyasa is also called “flow yoga”. It means “breath-synchronized movement”. Ashtanga is very similar to Vinyasa, except that it follows a specific sequence of poses every time. Both forms of practice are fast-paced and physically demanding to keep your heart right elevated. When performing the movements, you should also have the intention to link each movement to a breath.
They are great for people who want more of a “workout” rather than restoration. Vinyasa is also a perfect choice if you want different movements each class. Twists, inversions, bends and balancing poses will definitely keep things interesting.
To perform these poses with ease, you want to wear clothes that are fitted and not get in your way when you twist and stretch. Since these practices are fast-paced, you have no time to adjust your clothes. Avoid cotton or anything that can absorb your sweat or get tangled up.
Wear lightweight and fitted yoga pants that are ideally made of sweat-wicking materials. For the upper body, you can wear a breathable sports bra and tank top that keep you flowy. Note that your tank should allow unrestricted arm movement but stay in place. Sometimes you will encounter upside down poses and don’t want a loose top to show your stomach. If you don’t like to wear two layers, a cross back brassiere uses back straps to keep the bra in place even under extreme movement.
Hatha and Iyengar yoga
Hatha yoga generally refers to a gentle style of practice. Unlike other types of yoga, “Hatha” is not a specific yoga type but a general description of slow-paced yoga. It incorporates basic, stress-relieving poses that are perfect for yoga beginners.
Iyengar yoga has a focus on finding alignment. Instructors who are trained with Iyengar are very knowledgeable in correcting incorrect alignment in your pose. To help students find proper alignment, your instructor may also use yoga props, including blocks, straps, bolsters and chairs. If you have a chronic injury or alignment issue, Iyengar is great for speeding up your recovery.
For Hatha and Iyengar yoga, it is best to wear what’s comfortable for you and easy for your instructor to check your alignment. A pair of fitted leggings is great as they are stretchable and can show your posture clearly. The same goes for your upper body, a sports bra and fitted tank are perfect for you and your instructor.
Restorative, yin yoga
Restorative and yin yoga are quite the opposite to what we have introduced – slow and relaxing. They both encourage you to calm the mind and focus on the breath, rather than movements.
The slight difference between restorative and yin yoga is that the former focuses on restoring body ailments, whilst the later works deeper connective tissue.
In both forms of practice, you will often use bolsters, blankets and blocks to get into passive poses where your body can stay in for some time. The intention is not to move and sweat, but to calm and find peace. They are great if you are looking for healing meditation that can ease your nerves and restore your energy after an exhausting day.
For these classes, feeling relaxed in what you wear is the most important. The long holds require flexibility and support, so you need a pair of high-waist stretchy yoga pants that supports your torso and posture. It is unlikely that you will have an upside-down posture, so a loose free-flowing top is not a problem.
Do you have the answer now?
No matter which type of yoga you have your eyes on, don’t be afraid to start! Yoga is an amazing sport for your body and mind, and you will reap health benefits no matter which type of practice you choose.
At Yoga Vibe, we are delighted to help you start this journey by choosing the right yoga wear. Our designers have worked hard to create the most functional and fashionable yoga clothes that can make every one of your practices enjoyable!