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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.


"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.


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.


too much preparation, plan and control. people trying to be who they aren´t. superficial. khalsa´s looks puts me off.

Chetana Panwar

Sara, namaste!

Thank you for this thoughtful and thorough discussion of how our clothing choices can affect the experience of the students in our classes. I believe crossing the boundaries of appropriate, professional dress in a transformational setting like a yoga class undermines the emotional safety that we try to cultivate. It can erode that safe, sacred space.

Hari Om! Chetana


Thanks for the reminder about the impact of appearance, which was covered in my teacher training (nearly a decade ago). There, the suggestion was white and/or yellow for the energy (light) and purity of the colors.
As a person who likes a bit of make-up, I've got to the point where I know I look better with the eyelashes curled, but feel it's a burden off, and the right example, to wear nothing but freshly washed skin and some oils to hydrate.
I've also over time decided to make a point of not wearing any jewelery; it always makes some suggestion, from "hippie" or "bling", that simply won't appeal to all. Additionally, I once attended a training weekend where the teacher had lots of neck chains and bracelets that interfered with poses as basic as adho mukha svanasana. It looked ridiculously impractical.

Christine Walker

I wonder if this is advertising for the yoga specialized clothing companies listed along side this article.


Thanks for all the food for thought. I am glad to see this debate.

I remember years ago being a new student and a teacher wore running shorts. I know her intention was to allow us to see her legs, but it was off-putting.

When I choose clothing to practice I choose clothing that is comfortable and compliments and doesn't restrict movement. For teaching my barometer for modesty is... do I feel self conscious in any way?

I have students from all different cultures, so I have found respect for evryone else in the room (including myself) is the key.

One point that hasn't been brought up is that many students are struggling with their physical body image, so I take care to dress in a way that does not feed into that. A clean comfortable fitted T-shirt (with a proper-fitting bra underneath) and a fitted cut pair of pants.


A few photos to show some of the clothing talked about would have been good


The article did not mention the practical side of dressing. I was trained to dress so that my students could "see" my body. Loose fitting clothes create a warped visual perspective. Sexy is a mind-state and that can be checked at the classroom door.

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