Dress for Success
Recently when Khalsa had exited a movie theater and was waiting to cross the street, a woman beside her leaned over and whispered in a thick Brooklyn accent, "I don't know what this is about, but whatever it is, I love it and so does my husband!"
Khalsa was wearing a white turban, a white silk kurta (long, flowing shirt), a dupata (scarf), jeans, and boots.
Adrian Cox, a vinyasa teacher and owner of Yoga Elements in Bangkok, Thailand, has only recently started to consider the correlation between his wardrobe and his teaching. "I've discovered rather late that fashion in yoga is part of the image I project as a teacher," he says. "Especially here in Asia, appearances are super-important."
Cox now puts more thought into what he wears when he teaches. He opts for cleanliness, modesty, and simplicity by dressing in a standard uniform of white sweat pants and a T-shirt when teaching.
Even when you get bold with your attire, always choose clothing that exudes respect for your students and the teachings.
"Teachers are not meant to wear tight and sexy clothing," says Anna Getty, a Los Angeles-based Kundalini Yoga teacher (and former fashionista) who specializes in pre- and postnatal yoga.
"We are supposed to wear clothing that is loose fitting, comfortable, clean, and uplifting."
In her prenatal classes, Getty makes sure that the mothers-to-be feel comfortable. She opts to wear something light and feminine, such as white cotton pants and a pink Indian-inspired shirt.
"There have been a few times in the past when I have worn yoga clothes that may have been a little too sexy for a prenatal class," she recalls. "I could feel that some of the moms were uncomfortable."
"I see how I made the class more about me than about them," she says.
Choosing Your Colors
The colors that you wear should also reflect modesty and enhance the greatness of your teachings and your own spirit.
Yogi Bhajan taught, "A teacher should look like a sage and a prince or princess of peace and divinity." To achieve this, he recommended that teachers wear white or cream in cotton or natural fabric. White, he said, represents light and magnifies one's aura ten times, while natural fabrics benefit your psyche, energy, and nervous system.
If you wish to be more colorful, play with letting your clothing reflect your inner state and that which you wish to create in your class.
Twee Merrigan, a Prana Flow teacher, turns to rasa, or color therapy, which teaches that earth tones are grounding, blues and whites are cooling, and reds are invigorating.
Whether you choose to dress in white or in color, consider the impact that your purchases have on the environment and on others. Clothing made of natural fibers, like organic cotton and bamboo, not only feel better on your skin but also make a positive impact on the environment. As a role model to your students, what you wear can inspire others to live and dress more consciously.