WTF should you even be wearing to a meditation class?

As someone who’s never been an avid workout-class attendee, the outfit anxiety is real. 

Somehow, whenever I decide to try a new class, I always end up being the only person in shorts. Every other attendee is in LuLuLemon leggings at minimum (but likely some trendier, more under-the-radar option), a cute and ridiculously strappy sports bra, and sneakers that somehow manage to coordinate with the whole outfit.

This all leaves me to wonder if people who attend workout classes own multiple pairs of workout shoes.

But, what to wear to meditation class? If you know anything about meditation, you know that it doesn’t technically involve much moving. But, we are human, and naturally we don’t want to show up to a meditation class on the Upper East Side only to be greeted by a million “regulars” in coordinated outfits while we’re rocking sweatpants with our high school mascot on them.

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“Do you ever walk into a yoga class and ask yourself who’s not there?” A former teacher in Atlanta public schools, @chelsealovesyoga is an advocate for the well-being of all through the non-profit she founded, @redclayyoga. Focused primarily on youth, marginalized communities, and their allies, Red Clay Yoga is dedicated to using yoga as a tool for education through training programs and community outreach. Our social impact program #heretobe supported Chelsea and Red Clay Yoga to expand their annual Yoga, Literature and Art Camp, giving more youth tools for well-being. Her work has inspired this classroom in the Bronx to name their yoga classroom after her. Learn more—link in bio. #internationalyogaday #idy2018

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We talked to Myk Likhov, founder/CEO of Modern ŌM, and Khajak Keledjian, founder/CEO of INSCAPE  at The Retreat powered by MINI — a 4-day retreat presented by FUNKSHION — about what to wear to your first meditation class so you feel good, look good, and get all up in your öm.

The thing about meditation is that you can (almost) wear anything you want, something that both Likhov and Keledjian stressed to me when I first started peppering them with questions.

“Come to the studio as you are,” said Keledjian. “There’s no dress code, just make sure you’re comfortable.”

However, when I was whisked away to an impromptu meditation and sound bath session my first night at The Retreat right before dinner, I laughed to myself imagining what would have happened if I had chosen to wear my PVC mini dress that night rather than gingham shorts and a bandeau.

“Wear whatever you’d be comfortable wearing to sit on the floor in your living room,” suggested Keledjian. “Dresses aren’t the best choice. If you’re in a skirt, you can drape one of our signature blankets across your lap. Also, try to avoid clothing that makes noise when you move, so you don’t distract yourself or anyone around you.”

Good point. In that case, ditch the chain belt and swishy pants. The obvious thing to do (at least to me) is to wear workout clothes. But workout clothes aren’t what they used to be. When I’m meditating or doing yoga at home, there are definitely certain things I reach for rather than the leggings that are slightly too tight on my waist when I sit down, or the sports bra with one too many straps.

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“Dressing for meditation can be the same as dressing for a workout, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Keledjian. “Wear what you’re comfortable in. Remember that you’ll likely be seated with bent knees, so it’s best to avoid tight or constricting clothing.”

Likhov echoes a similar statement, mentioning that with the rise of athleisure we tend to get more “dressed up” for classes and focus on the external, but he advises trying to let that go to get the true meditation class experience.

So, in terms of comfort and relaxation, you should probably wear some kind of “workout” clothing, but lounging attire might actually be better — whether that means the kind of clothing you wear to bed or those cute summer joggers you just got from Boohoo. You definitely don’t need skintight spandex, and might actually prefer to avoid it.

But the real question we probably all have is: what is everyone else in the class going to be wearing?

After all, nothing to ruin a good meditation experience like feeling idiotic in the wrong outfit.

“Some of our guests come to INSCAPE during their lunch break in traditional business attire, some in athleisure, and others join us in whatever they’re wearing for the rest of the day or night, like jeans,” says Keledjian.

Interestingly, when I asked Likhov what to avoid wearing for meditation, he mentioned jeans, which I would agree with. I personally don’t see myself ever being comfortable enough in jeans to meditate, but I guess not everyone wears skintight jeans like I do.

At Modern ÖM, they do different chakra meditations each week, and many of their “ŌMies,” wear mala beads based on the chakra their working currently. Mala beads are generally a necklace or bracelet that doubles as a meditation tool. For example, this week the chakra meditations are based around passion [the second chakra], so many loyal attendees are rocking their orange passion beads.

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what to wear to meditate vitality beads galore

As for what the experts wear to meditation classes themselves?

Likhov opts for “a simple dark grey shirt and comfortable light grey pants.” He also dons mala beads. Both his shirt and his beads are made and sold on Modern Om’s website, where you can shop by your “intention.”

Keledjian says he generally meditates using INSCAPEe’s mobile app, which has specific guided meditations for real-life situations such as fear of flying and sleeplessness. Therefore, he gets his zen on in whatever he’s currently wearing: “usually jeans or a pair of shorts.”

At the end of the day, meditation is always going to be more successful if you have the right mindset. Sure, you can technically meditate in your club clothes in the Uber once you have it down pat, but if you’re a newbie and attending a class for the first time, it’s always good to know what to wear to meditation class that will help you blend in with the “regulars.”

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