Before you go shopping for your Bikram Yoga costume, think about what you’ll feel comfortable wearing to class. Remember, the room is going to be hot. A traditional Bikram Yoga class is heated up to 105F with 40% humidity. You’ll be in there for an hour and a half so be prepared to sweat a lot. You’ll want to wear minimal clothing that stretches easily and feels comfortable getting sweating and sticky in. For ladies, this generally means shorts, capris or leggings with a sports bra or tank top. For guys, this generally means any type of shorts with a liner. Shirts and tank tops are optional for guys.
I prefer wearing shorts in class because I sweat a lot. The less material I have covering my sweaty skin, the more comfortable I feel during class. One of the downfalls with wearing shorts is that sweaty skin makes it hard to grip onto. Also, you will be bending over and spreading your legs open in certain postures. Avoid giving your yoga neighbors a peep show during class and go with a form-fitting short. I love tie-side boy shorts for this very reason and they’re super flattering on all different body types. If you prefer a looser fit, choose a running short with built-in liners. Guys, longer board shorts or bike shorts are always a good choice.
Don’t feel comfortable rocking shorts in class? Go for a pair of cropped tights (or leggings) to give your legs full coverage. One huge benefit to wearing tights is they allow for a sturdier grip over sweaty legs. When choosing a pair of tights, be aware of translucent material. Always opt for a thicker material. Cheaper, thin material may become see-through when you add sweat and bending over to the mix. To prevent any sort of embarrassing situation in class, do a wide-legged forward bend in front of the dressing room mirror when trying on a pair of tights. If you can see your underwear when you bend over, you can guarantee you’ll be giving your yoga neighbors a peep show in class once you start sweating in class.
If you don’t feel comfortable wearing shorts, but get too hot wearing tights, go for a pair of capris. Capris are the happy medium between shorts and tights. You still get the sturdy grip over sweaty legs with a pair of capris, but the material ends just below the knees, giving the legs more breathing room in class than a pair of tights.
Since there’s little to no impact in any of the Bikram Yoga postures, you wont need a sports bra with a whole lot of support. When choosing a sports bra for Bikram Yoga, it’s all about choosing the coverage you’re comfortable with. My favorite type of sports bra to wear in class is one that fits snug even after I start sweating, fully covers my front side and has sturdy back straps to hold everything in place. I want to avoid exposing myself to anyone during class as much as possible so I prefer a tighter fit and more coverage in the front.
Don’t feel comfortable with just wearing a sports bra in class? Neither did I for the first month of practicing Bikram Yoga. If you want more coverage on top of your sports bra, choose a tank top as long or as short as you feel comfortable in. Avoid wearing cotton and steer clear of anything baggy. Cotton absorbs sweat, making it feel heavy during class. Loose fitting tank tops can fall forward in downward poses making them super annoying and uncomfortable. Comfort is key when taking a Bikram Yoga class so if you choose to wear a tank top, choose one that’s form-fitting and made of sweat-wicking material.
Leave your shoes at the front door. Some studios allow you to wear shoes into the changing room, but they should NEVER be worn inside the yoga studio. Bare feet or socks are only allowed in the practice room.
Whatever you decide on what your Bikram Yoga costume will be, always remember the lighter you dress, the better you’ll feel in class. Choose a costume that’s form fitting and made of sweat-wicking material. Don’t make the same mistake I made when I first started practicing Bikram Yoga by wearing head-to-toe cotton. Cotton is rotten! It will weigh you down and make you feel more uncomfortable than you should be. Nowadays, my yoga costume consists of sweat-wicking, form-fitting boy shorts and a sports bra. Even the headband I use to keep the hair out of my face is made of sweat-wicking material. Trust me, class has gotten quite a bit cooler and more enjoyable since I made the wardrobe adjustment.