An Overview of the Yoga Lifestyle

A group of friends practicing yoga together in a modern studio

 Tom Werner / Getty Images

You may have started doing yoga just to get a good workout, but it's not unusual to discover that the time you are spending on your mat is infusing the rest of your lifestyle choices. If you find yourself lusting after technical fabrics and road-tripping to yoga festivals, or your bookshelf is filling up with yoga classics, you’re seeing the yoga effect in action. Here’s your guide to pulling together yoga, life, and style.

Dressing for Yoga

Functional yoga clothing is stretchy, breathable, and somewhat form-fitting. Starting with these parameters provides a level of comfort that keeps your attention on your practice instead of adjusting your outfit. However, if you've attended a yoga class in the past 10 years, you've seen that self-expression through yoga clothing choices is real, whether it's repurposed vintage band tee shirts, inspirational slogan tanks, or the latest in eye-popping leggings. 

  • A good pair of black leggings is the foundation garment of a yoga wardrobe. However, if you are so not the basic black type, by all means, pile on the colors and patterns instead.
  • Shorts and strappy tanks are also wardrobe staples, particularly in warm weather. 
  • We've mat-tested a variety of sports bras and no-show panties to find the most comfortable (no wedgies!) and practical designs out there. 
  • If you're into hot yoga, you can read a what-to-wear guide just for you. 
  • Wrap sweaters are often the après yoga cover-up of choice, taking you easily from class to the rest of your day.

There are plenty of upscale yoga brands, but there are lots of other choices too. Know that you don't have to spend a lot on your yoga clothing. There are lots of options for the budget-minded as well.

Men have a lot more variety than they used to when it comes to yoga clothing. Yoga shorts, for instance, now come in a lot of different cuts, from surfer-inspired to classic bike shorts. Pants can also be tight or loose, full length or cropped.

When it comes to yoga clothes for both women and men, there are no rules. Whatever makes you most comfortable on your mat is the right choice.

Choosing a Yoga Mat

Your yoga mat is your most important piece of equipment. Yogis have close personal relationships with their mats, so you'll want to make the most informed decision you can when you're picking one out. Pay close attention to what your mat is made out of since this affects its longevity, ecological impact, and price tag.

The Yoga Mat Buyer's Manual goes over all the particulars, and our comparison chart lines up five top yoga mats side by side, so you can see their differences plainly. You might also opt for a mat bag that will hold all your stuff for the day, or simple mat strap just to get you there and back.

Exploring Yoga Trends

Yes, your mat is important, but yoga's ever-expanding popularity means that there are lots of fun ways to take asana practice off the mat too. 

Hiking yoga and SUP yoga get you out of the studio, interacting with nature and building community (not to mention core strength). Speaking of community, AcroYoga with a partner is all about learning to trust through working and playing together in order to break down barriers and connect as humans.

You can live out your Cirque de Soleil daydreams and save your joints in a low impact aerial yoga class in which you do yoga poses while supported by silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling. And finally, let's not overlook nude yoga classes, where participants shed their inhibitions along with their clothing. 

Traveling Yogi

Once you're bitten by the yoga bug, you're not going to want to be away from your mat for more than a few days. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to take your yoga with you when you travel, including making it your destination.

Book a yoga retreat with your favorite teacher or studio to deepen your practice and recharge your energy. Retreats to tropical locales are especially popular in the winter months. In the summer, it's all about yoga festivals like Wanderlust, where yogis gather to take classes with famous teachers by day and dance to the music by night. You can read about what to pack so you'll be prepared for everything. 

If you're flying, you might find a yoga room at the airport, or you can even do our airplane routine mid-flight. Our road trip sequence will keep your hips and back happy after long days cramped up in the car. And even if you're not going anywhere, you'll be surprised at how rejuvenating a weekend yoga staycation at home can be with the right planning. 

Take Your Yoga Practice on the Road

In addition to yoga-inspired vacations, making use of yoga stretches and moves during your airplane or road trips can make the travel more enjoyable.

Saving Money

The costs of a serious yoga habit start to add up quickly. Yoga classes are the biggest expense. It's worth it to pay for good quality classes, you cand find ways to save money on yoga that will make sure that you're getting the most value for your cash.

Doing yoga at home is undoubtedly the biggest way to save. Getting into the habit can be tough but there are lots of yoga video websites to help you keep things fresh. Making space for yoga at home helps, and it doesn't have to cost a lot. If your gym offers yoga classes, that's a good way to save money too.

A Word From Verywell

Breaking the habits of negativity and judgment on your mat leads to one of yoga's most important effects: radical self-acceptance. It's a process that requires frequent reinforcement, but it pretty quickly becomes obvious that there's no reason why you can't march out of class and apply the same attitude to every situation you encounter. It affects your interactions with other people as individuals and in the community.

Practice patience, compassion, and tolerance toward yourself and others and you'll really be living the yoga lifestyle every day.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.