When I first started practicing yoga, I found it intimidating walking into a room where majority of people dressed in brand names from head(band) to toe(socks). Ok, I haven't really seen anyone practice in toe socks. But the point is, I thought, do I have to spend five thousand pesos for a pair of yoga pants that I will sweat in? Or on the other end of it, is it appropriate to wear worn out shirts and leggings to practice? I tried the opposite extremes, and for me what works is a happy medium.
My practice clothes and teaching clothes are actually two different sets, most of the time anyway. The only time they may interchange is during a yoga emergency. That means I have to sub a class at the last minute where I thought I was going to practice.
For practice, I choose clothes that are fitted and stretchy, clothes that are breathable and made to practice in. I usually wear capri or leggings for bottoms, with the occasional shorts if it's going to be a heated class. I like Lululemon but it is quite pricey. Recently, I've discovered another brand called Green Apple, and they distrubute tops, bottoms, and pullovers at several yoga studios including Yoga+ where I teach. I wore it to teacher Pio's class last Wednesday and it survived all the backbends in tiptop shape. I like that it's made of bamboo, vegan (of course it has to be) and eco-friendly. Yoga bottoms are particularly important to me because I want to make sure my pants don't rip when I come into splits. (And if you've attended my class regularly, you know I like them- standing, straddle, side- just so many variations to choose from.) The denim-looking yoga pants are great because they can be worn outside practice too.
For teaching, I have another set of considerations. Since I am going around giving everyone adjustments, shorts are simply out of the question. There is no grip and I wouldn't want students to feel uncomfortable having my sweaty legs touch their bodies. I also like wearing message shirts that communicate love, compassion, veganism and animal rights. And once in a while, I can manage to match my shirt with the teaching theme. I wore a Ganesh shirt when I talked about overcoming obstacles (and I get to talk about the elephant in the room) and I wore a shirt that says "Never Grow Up" when I talked about the divinity of children and our childlike qualities. One brand that I like wearing for teaching is Australian-based Yogeeks which is owned and run by a Jivamukti teacher. That "Made of Stars" print will go perfectly when I have songs like Woodstock, We Are All Made of Stars, and Neil de Grasse Tyson's The Most Astounding Fact audio clip on my playlist. I have galaxy print leggings (very David Life) to go with it too. They ship worldwide for free. Though in the Philippines, customs tax and duties are quite heavy so do watch out for that.
At the end of the day, the clothes we wear during yoga practice (or teaching) won't bring us to enlightenment, but they might just make our asana a little bit more comfortable (or interesting) on the way there.