July 29, 2011
Question of the Week: “My yoga and Pilates classes aren’t big bounce-producers… isn’t it OK to just wear any old comfy bra to class?
When I hear the words “Pilates” and “yoga,” I smile and immediately think of rhythmic breathing, smooth flowing movements that strengthen and stretch my body, and a less-stressed, more focused mind (boy, do I need that this very hectic week!).
If you’ve been checking out classes or videos, you’ve no doubt found many individual riffs on Joseph Pilates’ original 34 movements, and yoga styles that range from mellow to vigorous to downright hot! But in spite of any differences, all of these super-beneficial workouts share a common requirement when it comes to your sports bra: You need to be able to move freely, with nothing cutting in, shifting, or distracting from concentration on your breath or poses.
Here’s my short list of specifics to point you in the right sports bra direction:
-Softer support. Luckily, yoga and Pilates are low impact, so you can focus first (for a change!) on finding a sports bra that lets you freely bend and flex instead of worrying if it’s sturdy enough to stop bounce. If your bra has adjustable straps, loosening them a bit will give you easier range of motion and decrease tugging up on the bottom band.
-Stay-put straps. Make sure the ones on your sports bra won’t slip, regardless of whatever pretzel-like poses your body may be capable of. Look for racerbacks and crossed-strap designs that are simply incapable of sliding off your shoulders.
-Cushy back. Beware the vexing back hook-and-eye! Any matwork or pose where you’re lying on your back puts your full torso weight on your sports bra’s back fasteners, so any potentially pokey spot can become a major annoyance. Not all fasteners create problems—just make sure any that may be on your favorite bra are well-cushioned.
-Cleavage control. Before you show up at class, bend forward a few times and make sure your sports bra’s neckline is high enough to keep ‘the girls’ from embarrassingly popping out during inverted poses.
-Steer the sweat. If ‘hot yoga’ is your passion, you’re automatically putting the ultimate demand on your sports bra to move extra moisture away from your skin to the outer surface of your bra where it has a better chance of evaporating. Look for quicker-drying synthetic fabrics (rather than cotton) that are specifically engineered to absorb less sweat and keep you feeling more comfortable.
All this yoga talk has gotten me in the mood for my favorite gentle, stress-reducing routine. And I hope you’ll also take a few minutes this week to treat yourself to your own delicious mind-and-body-enhancing workout!