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Dress for Success

Take your seat in style and discover how what you wear affects how you feel and how others feel about you.

By Sara Avant Stover

Merrigan extends ahimsa (nonharming) to her wardrobe by opting to shop from fair-trade clothing companies.

"I prefer to support smaller businesses that are more globally conscious of how their actions can positively affect peace," she asserts.

The Pitfall of Narcissism

For men and women alike, opt for simplicity. Remember, you want your students to focus on the teachings, not your outfit.

Also, when you put too much emphasis on your appearance, you risk getting swept up in narcissism and materialism. These are the very distractions that teachers try to lead students away from.

"Yoga is a science of self-realization, not ego aggrandizement," Cox says. "While saucha (cleanliness and purity) is important, society's emphasis on purchasing one's identity through fashion is a dark force that holds people's development down."

To stay grounded, Noah Maze, a Los Angeles-based, certified Anusara Yoga teacher, encourages fellow teachers to focus on letting the real power of their message be conveyed through what they say and do.

The Dress-for-Success Checklist

While scouring your wardrobe before your next class, consider the following advice:

Remember your divinity. As a teacher, ask yourself what helps you remember your highest spiritual nature, Khalsa advises. Dress to inspire that highest consciousness in yourself and in others.

Keep it real. "Be truthful," Merrigan says. Avoid putting on another layer or costume. Let your clothing liberate rather than bind you.

Consider comfort and practicality. "If you are comfortable, that will be what is conveyed, regardless of what you wear," Maze says. Remember that if you can't move and demonstrate easily, then what you are wearing is a hindrance rather than an enhancement.

Celebrate beauty. Enjoy, enhance, and adorn your beauty. Show up to each class fresh, clean, and polished like a beautiful piece of art.

Be creative and have fun! When we adorn ourselves to honor our own divinity and to uplift others, yoga and fashion become sacred allies. "We can inspire our students with our words and our presence," Rumbaugh says, "and our presence is certainly enhanced by how we dress."

Sara Avant Stover is an Anusara-inspired yoga teacher and a freelance writer who recently relocated to Boulder, Colorado. She leads workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings around the world and is currently deciding what to wear today. Visit her website at www.fourmermaids.com.

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Reader Comments

Andrea

I teach yoga at a hospital to cancer patients, undergoing treatment. I arrive at class just showered, free of makeup and any lotions or fragrance as it can make some patients nauseated. I wear very simple clothes-plain, form fitting tshirt for modesty, plain yoga pants. Most patients have lost their hair and are not feeling well. The focus should be on them and the yoga, not what I am wearing. I would never wear white as that is what the drs are running around in and would make the patients uncomfortable. Please remember we teach in different circumstances and surroundings and not all colors represent 'comfort'.
I have noticed that Yoga Journal consists of more and more ad's for expensive yoga clothing. Disappointing to be honest.

lindsey

"i disagree with the earlier comment saying we should not wear tight clothing as teachers"
as a teacher, i prefer to wear snug fitting clothing, not only because i find it easier to move in during my vinyasa flow classes, but also because i feel that it allows my students to better see my body and alignment.

Mamaji

I have to agree with reena that the white turban look makes me uncomfortable and would potentially turn off new students -- kind of cultish.

That said, I appreciate other parts of this article. I think being comfortable without looking too "sexy" (ie, "Check me out") is critical. A studio should not be looked at as a stage! At the same time, remember that many students look at the teacher as a role model, whether we like it or not, so cleanliness and crisp presentation are perhaps underrated. Wearing something that allows students to see your precision when demonstrating a pose, but that doesn't show off the body too much, is probably a happy medium.

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