Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yoga Couture -- It's More Than Fashion

"My office is totally laid back; we even wear our yoga clothes all day long sometimes," I once said to someone in a casual conversation.

His response caught me totally off-guard.

"Wait... They have special clothes for that? You mean, like, athletic clothes?"

I had been surrounded by yoga culture for so long, I thought everyone would know what I meant by "yoga clothes." But if you really think about it, this totally clueless guy had a point.

Most of the clothes one wears for yoga are also appropriate for a lot of other athletic activities. Running, lifting weights, Zumba (whatever that is), dance, martial arts—I'd wear my yoga clothes for any of these activities. So what does make yoga clothing different from any other kind of athletic wear?

It's kind of the same thing that makes yoga different from gymnastics or other kinds of movement. It's the intention, the mindfulness behind the garment that makes a yoga top different from a regular athletic top. Of course, I'm not just talking about where the clothes are manufactured or the impact the materials used to make them has on the environment—though those things can certainly be factors. When I put on my yoga clothes, whether I'm wearing them to the gym or mixing them with a pant suit I wear to the office, I remember the intention I bring with me to the yoga mat. I am reminded to be present and breathe, to be grateful for my place in life, and to be kind to others and to myself.

For me, it's not about the fabulous materials or they way they feel on my skin. It's not about expressing my "yoga lifestyle" to strangers on the street or how amazing those pants makes my ass look (though, it is pretty amazing, even with the panty lines..) No, it's really about what the clothes represent—my commitment to the principles of yoga and how I intend to infuse them into every facet of my life.