I wish I had known these few things before I began.
I could have avoided some unfortunate situations!
There are some non-conventional “beauty” secrets I am gladly willing to share—they’re great for a beginner to know and to make the novice chuckle. Whether you worship the Manduka gods, or have a lucky Mala, we all have some quirks in our practice and I am certainly no stranger to quirkiness!
1. First and foremost, yoga class is not a fashion show.
Some people think it is, especially the creep-o’s that hang out next door to the studio and cat call the sweaty people coming and going. No one in class is judging whether or not you bought your yoga pants at Target. Find something comfortable and functional for you while you practice.
I personally prefer the yoga legging, the traditional yoga pant is normally three inches too long for me (I am what I like to call fun-sized at a towering 5’2”). I have pants-ed myself doing yoga, luckily at home. Also, I prefer fitted shirts as to avoid flashing the entire class while doing inversions. I have been known to do handstands in dressing rooms to make sure I’m purchasing an inversion friendly shirt.
2. The Yogi’s Closet.
You’ll probably end up having different yoga clothes for different classes. The moisture wicking fabric is great for hot yoga, while cotton works for the non heated classes. I made the mistake of wearing cotton yoga pants to a hot yoga class and by the end my entire ass-ana was hanging out.
3. Make up schmake-up.
Ever sweat make up into your eyes? It’s no bueno. Especially while trying to balance a dancer’s pose. Make up free is the way for me.
4. Say goodbye to toenail polish.
Although it took me a while to be able to roll over my toes from chaturanga into upward facing dog and back into downward facing dog when I finally accomplished this feat, it was my pretty feet that paid the ultimate price.
Picking chunks of toenail polish off my mat between asanas wasn’t very “zen” but it took me a few months to decide to ditch the polish all together…after I got a piece of glittery toenail polish in my eye. Yes, my eye.
5. Dangerous Jewelry.
Crystals are fantastic, I have a million, but I also gave myself a fat lip with a quartz point necklace doing sun salutations. Be cautious of any possible injuries that can occur due to your accessories. I believe in Murphy’s Law. Although this has never happened to me, I had a vision of ripping out an earring whilst doing ear pressure pose as well…it literally could happen.
6. Let’s get intimate.
Undies for the yoga buff? Some yogis go “in the buff” under their yoga pants—most well-made workout clothes are actually engineered for that, believe it or not. After struggling to find some comfortable skivvies I gave up on those too, and put them in storage right next to my nail polish.
7. It puts the lotion in its skin.
Lotion on the hands isn’t very yoga friendly and can cause your downward facing dog to be more of a downward face-plant dog, however there is one pose in particular that lotion may be helpful to you, Garbha Pindasana—you can watch the lovely Kino explain this.
8. Long, beautiful hair.
As stated above its not a fashion show, my long hair/dreads are normally braided and tied in such a fashion that I look like I am from Whoville. I am also a fan of headbands. Anything to keep my locks in check while sweating, up and down and upside down.
It’s an art to keep your hair in one place when it needs to be out of your face and off the back of your neck to be comfortable in bridge and shoulder stand, but also be off the top of your head for headstands. Find what works for you and don’t worry if you look like Pippi Longstocking, or Cindy Lou Who.
I constantly have matching bruises on the undersides of my upper arms from crow pose and bruises on my ankles from trying to jump through. The above linked tutorial proved helpful, especially for engagement photos. Note: some can go an entire lifetime without getting a yoga-related bruise.
10. You’re all beautiful.
Every single one of you! Yes, even when you are making your “eight angle” face.
Yoga is a learning process and I’m sure another few years of practice will certainly yield more “helpful” tips and hilarious mishaps. Every day is a journey! In the meantime I’d love to hear some of your own personal yoga beauty secrets!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Tara Beretsky
Editor: Catherine Monkman