Yoga is a global phenomenon, with millions of people practicing at home, with friends outside, and in group classes led by experts in the field.
While yoga may have had the reputation as a ladies-only activity, more men are getting into the flow of yoga as they see the benefits for relaxation, flexibility, and overall health.
It seems simple enough—just show up to a class, roll out your mat, and follow the instructions as they come. But the one variable that remains is clothing, and many men find themselves bogged down in their yoga practice by wearing the wrong garments.
The truth is that yoga is unlike any other exercise, and your standard workout wardrobe may not give you the best performance and level of enjoyment when you hit the yoga mat.
Here is a rundown of exactly what men should wear during yoga, whether it’s at home with a partner, in an intense high-heat class, or on a secluded plateau in the mountains. Once you find the right yoga gear, get ready to take things to the next level!
In both fashion and fitness, it’s critically important how your clothes fit your body. This is especially true when it comes to yoga when you want to maximize comfort, flexibility, and performance during the most complex poses and transitions.
Consider for a second how traditional men’s workout clothes are designed. More often than not, you’ll see oversized t-shirts or baggy hoodies that drape far beyond the shoulder and with a hem below the waist.
While baggy tops tend to be the norm, you’ll also see men take things in the complete opposite direction, with shirts that are far too tight and restrictive for their torsos. They may show off muscles, but they also limit your range of motion and keep you from getting a full stretch when it matters most.
Yoga is all about blocking out the external world of pressure, stress, and worry and focusing 100% on your breath while moving energy throughout a series of poses and stretches.
The last thing you want is for any excess fabric to get in your way or to be restricted by your shirt as you bend and breathe deeply for an hour straight.
The best-fitting shirts for yoga will offer a bit of room and stretch around the chest and back and will either be sleeveless or have sleeves that drop down to just above the elbow for max range of motion.
Whether you go short-sleeve or no-sleeve will come down to your personal preference, but just avoid the long-sleeve shirts, hoodies, sweaters, and super-tight athletic tops you wear on a jog or in the weight room.
Aim to strike the perfect balance of snug and loose, so you can gracefully move from one pose to the next without being held back by your shirt.
When looking for bottoms to wear during yoga, skip any long pants that go below the knee. Even the stretchiest, most comfortable sweatpants will prevent you from stretching successfully and could even trip you up when you require a total focus on the challenge at hand.
That’s why you should invest in a pair of shorts that doesn’t get in your way while giving you enough coverage to confidently perform all the poses in stride.
Leave the baggy basketball shorts behind the next time you roll out the yoga mat since anything with excessive fabric is definitely a no-no. They may look cool on the court, but they are only going to hold you back when it’s time for yoga.
The ideal men’s yoga shorts have a flexible waistband that keeps things in place and a hem that drops a few inches above the knee and provides tons of flexibility. During a difficult sequence, the last thing you want to do is adjust your pants to keep everything in order.
Also, look for shorts that have a breathable compression liner built-in, so you don’t have to worry about anything getting loose during a packed yoga class. When trying on a new pair of shorts, try a few different technical poses to see how they perform and protect.
Fit is king, but it means nothing without quality, flexible materials to back it up. Comfort matters more than anything in yoga, and the fabric of your clothes can make or break a workout.
The first thing to do is ditch any stiff or inflexible materials when outlining a yoga wardrobe. That means no cargo shorts, no khaki, and by all means, no denim. It should go without saying that you don’t want to be the guy showing up in yoga class with jeans on!
Next, consider which materials give you a mix of flexibility, moisture-wicking, cooling, and durability. An infinite number of fabric combinations exist, and you may need to try a few in-person to see what blend is best for you.
We recommend picking a shirt made of mostly polyester (between 70 and 80 percent), with a bit of high-quality Pima cotton thrown into the mix for good measure.
The poly will give you that perfect level of stretch at every seam while keeping moisture at bay and regulating your body temperature during long, hot workouts. Pima cotton will add an element of softness and durability to the material and make things breathable.
Finally, a small percentage of spandex or rayon will add that four-way flexibility to your garments that will ensure you never feel restricted during a yoga session.
Leave those crinkly cotton t-shirts and suffocating plastic workout gear at home, and find clothes that give you an optimal mix of the right materials.
Staying cool during a yoga class is key on both a mental and physical level. When things heat up, and you start to sweat, you need comfortable, moisture-wicking underwear that won’t distract you from the task at hand.
Many boxer briefs are prone to bunching up in all the wrong places, and you can’t afford to be twisting and pinching when you should be focused on the present moment.
Look for super-flexible boxer briefs made of micromodal rayon material and spandex, so you can stay in motion while combatting heat. You’ll get enough coverage on the leg to move with confidence and never worry about exposing too much skin.
Underwear should also be form-fitting without being restrictive, just like the rest of your yoga wardrobe. Be sure to select the right size briefs that contour to your body’s specific shape.
Anti-microbial properties are also an important box to check when picking boxers because you want to remain cool, dry, and smelling great during those high-intensity yoga classes.
Your underwear may not seem like a very big factor when it comes to yoga, but once you try a superior pair of briefs, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to upgrade.
The benefits of yoga don’t end when you roll up your mat at the end of class. You want to remain in that calm, collected state of mind for as long as possible, and that means staying comfortable as you navigate through the rest of your day.
Some men like to dress things up a bit more with a quarter-zip pullover, which is perfect for hitting a coffee shop or lunch spot after class.
Having a few warm and comfy garments for after yoga is especially important if you live in a cooler climate or deal with rough weather from time to time. Nothing can snap you out of namaste mode like a blast of cold wind or a dash through the rain to your car.
Think about building a yoga wardrobe that takes you through the entire experience, from warming up at the beginning of class to cooling down at the end of the session.
Those heavier garments should have all the same stretchy and moisture-fighting qualities you expect from t-shirts and shorts, so you make a smooth and pleasant transition to whatever life brings next.
Yoga can be as complex as you want it to be. The best yoga clothing for men, however, should be straightforward and simple.
Follow the guidelines we laid out here, and you’ll know exactly what to look for and what to avoid as you piece together the best yoga garments for your wardrobe.