I Asked Yoga Instructors What to Wear to Hot Yoga As a Very Sweaty Person

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I’m a very sweaty person—one sun salutation in, and my sweaty handprints are all over my yoga mat. So, naturally, knowing what to wear to hot yoga is often a damp affair. While you may not sweat as profusely as me, performing many a chaturanga in a heated room—and with other warm bodies present—is sure to make you perspire a lot. Wearing the wrong yoga attire can usually result in one of two outcomes: either you’re slipping and sliding on your own sweat, or you become so hot, you immediately want to strip down to your skivvies—neither of which is a pleasant situation.

Experts In This Article

All to say: wearing the appropriate clothes to hot yoga is key to keeping cool and comfortable as you sweat. Moreover, the right clothing can also help prevent heat exhaustion. As Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, board-certified clinical exercise physiologist and exercise physiologist supervisor at NYU Lagone’s Sports Performance Center, told Well+Good: “Exercising in temperatures higher than 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit can increase the risk of heat exhaustion, which occurs when the body is unable to maintain proper blood flow to all organs and the skin for thermoregulation at the same time.” And considering that the average temperature of a hot yoga class can run from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, choosing the appropriate yoga attire becomes all the more important.

With all this in mind, I spoke to four yoga instructors for their tips on choosing yoga attire that maximizes comfort and minimizes the urge to take off all your clothes midway through your practice.

What to consider when choosing what to wear to hot yoga

When choosing what to wear to hot yoga, you’ll want to opt for yoga attire made from moisture-wicking materials, which pull sweat away from your body, instead of absorbing it, which in turn, will reduce the chance of sweat stains … and odor,” says Ava Johanna, certified yoga and meditation instructor and founder of Academy of Breath. Consider synthetic performance materials, some of which have some stretch to allow for comfort and movement, such as nylon and spandex.

Conversely, you’ll want to avoid cotton. While lightweight and breathable, cotton holds onto moisture—and, as a result, it will absorb your sweat, become heavy, and will make you hotter,” says Sami Houston, certified Lagree instructor at Urban Lagree in Austin and former yoga instructor at Hot 8 Yoga. As such, if your yoga attire contains cotton or a cotton blend, know that it won’t be as effective at wicking moisture.

Aside from material, you’ll also want to think about the fit. You’ll typically want to wear clothing that will stay in place—and out of your way—as you practice. This might mean avoiding yoga attire that is loose—keeping in mind that you’ll want to steer clear of clothes that are too tight-fitting so as to sacrifice comfort. Whether you opt to wear a sports bra or something with more coverage, shorts or leggings, you may also want to consider selecting options with additional features like strategically placed cutouts and mesh ventilation panels to optimize airflow.

What to wear to hot yoga, according to yoga instructors

Ultimately, what you wear to hot yoga is up to you. However, certain clothing can spell the difference between an uncomfortable practice and one you might actually enjoy. To help you narrow down your choices, Houston, Johanna, Loeffelholz, along with certified hatha and hot yoga instructor Alex Tran, founder of online blog Schimiggy Reviews, list ahead ideas for what you may want to wear to hot yoga.

1. Sports bra

A sports bra that fits well will make enduring a hot yoga class much more comfortable. Luckily, there are many choices on the market, in various styles, sizes, and compression levels (ranging from low to high-impact) to suit any preference. Take, for instance, the options from yoga clothing company Niyama Sol, which comes with the recommendation of Tran. “[Its] sports bras are made with this fabric that is super stretchy and contours to the body well,” she says.

Niyama Sol Sweetheart Crossed Medium Support Bra
Niyama Sol, Sweetheart Crossed Medium Support Bra — $58.00

Niyama Sol’s cross-over bra is made from sweat-wicking polyester and spandex to keep you comfortable, dry, and cool while you sweat. It also has a strategically placed keyhole detail that not only looks cute, but also allows for more airflow.

Available sizes: XS/S-L/XL

Colors: 1

Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex

Harper Wilde Move Racerback Sports Bra
Harper Wilde, Move Racerback Sports Bra — $45.00

This sports bra from Harper Wilde has enough support for low-to-medium impact activities, and its moisture-wicking construction makes it ideal for hot yoga. Bonus: The hidden pocket that is large enough to stow your phone, money, or earbuds.

Available sizes: XS-3XL

Colors: 8

Material: 96% nylon, 4% spandex

Syrokan Sports Bra
Syrokan, Sports Bra — $32.00

Associate editor Amelia McBride has recommended the Syrokan Sports Bra, which is made with a blend of polyamide, Lycra, and polyester to hold you in with zero bounce. Adjustable shoulder straps and molded cups will keep you comfortable, while the mesh sides will keep you cool—no matter how strenuous your workout.

Available sizes: 32B-44F

Colors: 17

Material: 64% polyamide, 36% Lycra

2. Tops

If you would prefer something with more coverage, a top will offer you just that. But not just any top: “For those who may not be comfortable with no top, I’d recommend a lightweight fitted tank top, says Houston. Loeffelholz adds, “I prefer to practice in tops that are semi-tight fitting, as loose tops can fall over your face during a forward fold or an inversion.” Many such options also come with a built-in bra—which, for Loeffelholz, offers an added benefit:“It makes laundry so much easier,” she says.

Athleta Elation V-Neck Longline Bra
Athleta, Elation V-Neck Longline Bra — $54.00

Athleta’s longline sports bra offers built-in support for low-impact workouts, and its nylon-Lycra blend is prime for sweaty yoga practices. It comes replete with adjustable straps to offer a secure fit and prevent accidental slips and spills.

Available sizes: XXS-3XL

Colors: 6

Material: nylon, Lycra

Girlfriend Collective Bella Scoop Tank
Girlfriend Collective, Bella Scoop Tank — $68.00

This tank top provides sturdy support without constricting your movement. It’s made with a generous amount of spandex and a moisture-wicking material that prevents sweat from soaking into the fabric. Plus it comes in an inclusive size range, which makes it great for a wide array of individuals.

Available sizes: XXS-6XL

Colors: 4

Material: 77% recycled plastic bottles, 23% spandex

Outdoor Voices CoolForm Tank
Outdoor Voices, CoolForm Tank — $58.00

Made with a cooling technology fabric, this Outdoor Voices tank can help prevent you from overheating as you practice. It also features a built-in shelf bra with removable padding to provide extra support for low-to-medium impact activities, plus a cutout in the back for some breathability.

Available sizes: XXS-3XL

Colors: 3

Material: 80% recycled polyester, 20% spandex

3. Leggings

As mentioned, you’ll want leggings made from moisture-wicking materials and fits snugly but not tightly so as to be uncomfortable. The Alo Yoga Airlift Leggings ($128) check all the boxes. “They’re designed for hot yoga practice and made from a special blend of super-light, sweat-wicking materials to keep you cool,” says Houston. Loeffelholz, who also considers leggings as essential hot yoga attire, has recommendations, too. “Some of my favorites are the Lululemon Align Pant and anything from Beyond Yoga [made from] space-dye fabric.”

Alo Yoga 7_8 High-Waist Airlift Legging
Alo Yoga, 7/8 High-Waist Airlift Legging — $128.00

Alo Yoga’s high-waisted leggings are designed to wick away sweat and regulate body temperature, thanks to its lightweight blend of polyester and elastane. Plus, the pair features high compression, complete with a wide waistband fora comfortable, yet secure, fit.

Available sizes: XXS-XL

Colors: 14

Material: 82% polyester, 18% elastane

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 28”
Lululemon, Align High-Rise Pant 28” — $98.00

With a barely-there feel, these Lululemon yoga pants offer lighter compression and a soft waistband for comfortable coverage. With 19 percent Lycra elastane, they’re stretchy too. Available in 23-, 25-, 28-, and 31-inch inseams, plus a myriad of solid colors, there’s a pair to suit any taste.

Available sizes: 0-20

Colors: 14

Material: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra

Beyond Yoga Space Dye Caught In The Midi High Waisted Legging
Beyond Yoga, Space Dye Caught In The Midi High Waisted Legging — $97.00

Of all the leggings we’ve written about, the Beyond Yoga Space Dye leggings are a perennial favorite. The polyester leggings are soft and supremely stretchy (thanks to 13 percent elastane), and they come in a wide range of colors, from neutrals to cheery brights.

Available sizes: XXS-XL

Colors: 15

Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

4. Shorts

As for people who prefer wearing shorts over leggings, you’ll want a pair that’s appropriate for hot yoga. Choose something that is stretchy, form-fitting, and made from sweat-wicking materials to keep you from overheating as you power through your practice. The Alo Yoga Airlift Short ($64) meets all the criteria—and it has Loeffelholz’s stamp of approval. As mentioned, you’ll want to ensure you’re toweling off often while wearing shorts to prevent the risk of losing your balance when attempting more challenging poses.

Alo Yoga 3” High-Waist Airlift Short
Alo Yoga, 3” High-Waist Airlift Short — $64.00

Perfect for wearing during an especially hot yoga session, these Alo Yoga high-waisted shorts have a three-inch inseam to keep your legs cool. The shorts are made from 82 percent polyester and 18 percent elastane, and even though they’re on the shorter side, its snug fit will help prevent them from riding high up your thighs.

Available sizes: XXS-XL

Colors: 6

Material: 82% polyester, 18% elastane

Splits59 Airweight High Waist Short
Splits59, Airweight High Waist Short — $68.00

In her search for hot yoga-friendly pants, W+G contributor Avery Matera found that the Splits59 high-waisted shorts passed her sweat test. Made with a nylon-spandex blend, it managed to wick away sweat and stay in place without “cutting off circulation.” It also features a six-inch seam which provides a touch more coverage.

Available sizes: XXS-XL

Colors: 7

Material: 81% nylon, 19% spandex

Sweat Betty Power 6” Biker Shorts
Sweat Betty, Power 6” Biker Shorts — $78.00

The above-the-knee version of Sweat Betty’s popular and much-loved Power Leggings, the biker shorts will help you, ahem, power through your sweatiest, most strenuous workouts. Made from polyamide and elastane, it’s supportive, stretchy, and moisture-wicking—and with a variety of solid and patterned options, stylish as well.

Available sizes: XXS-XXL

Colors: 9

Material: 62% polyamide, 38% elastane

Also consider: a yoga mat

In addition to the appropriate yoga attire, Johanna recommends a yoga mat. “My all-time favorite mat for practicing in a heated studio is the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat,” says Johanna. “It’s extra thick and provides the perfect amount of support.” What’s more? “It absorbs sweat and has [plenty of] grip so you don’t have to worry about slipping when in, say, downward-facing dog, which was a huge selling point for me,” she says.

Alo Yoga Warrior Mat
Alo Yoga, Warrior Mat — $128.00

Measurements: 74.4 inches long, 26.4 inches wide, and 0.2 inches thick

Colors: 7

Another consideration: A yoga towel

While the right yoga mat can offer you some traction, a yoga mat towel can provide extra insurance—or, at the very least, prevent your mat from absorbing all your sweat. “I personally use the Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel,” says Houston. “It absorbs wild amounts of sweat and the underside has silicone nubs that grip to your mat and keep the towel in place.”

Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel
Manduka, Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel — $68.00

Measurements: 71 inches long, 24 inches wide (also available in 79 inches long)

Colors: 26

Also nice: a water bottle

If you’ll be sweating buckets, you’ll also want to hydrate to replenish all the water you’ll inevitably lose as you practice. Johanna and Loeffelholz both recommend the insulated water bottles sold by Hydro Flask. Made from double-walled stainless steel, it has the ability to keep your water cold (or hot) for hours, and it comes with alternate lid options (sold separately) to suit a wide variety of preferences.

Hydro Flask Standard Mouth
Hydro Flask, Standard Mouth — $26.00

Capacity: 21 ounces (also available in 18 and 24 ounces)

Colors: 14

Should you wear shorts or leggings to hot yoga?

The answer will vary depending on who you ask. For Melissa Loeffelholz, a former area manager at CorePower Yoga, “high-waisted leggings are a must.” However, shorts might be better suited for people who are prone to overheating—keeping in mind that things can quickly get slippery if you progress into more challenging poses, like crow pose or headstand. “If you choose to wear shorts, it’s nice to have a small towel handy to wipe away sweat,” says Loeffelholz.

Can you wear socks to hot yoga?

You can opt to wear socks to hot yoga, whether for more traction or hygienic purposes. With that said, you’ll want to opt for a pair of grip socks with sticky dots or patches on the soles to keep you steady on your feet.

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