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Friday, June 25, 2010

Yoga Apparel Has Made Interesting Changes

Yoga is a practice with Eastern origins that has survived for centuries and recently made the shift to Western culture. It is a set of stretches and exercises designed to stimulate and strengthen the different muscle groups of your body. It is an inexpensive practice to take up. All that is really required is a comfortable set of yoga apparel and a mat.

Yoga apparel today is much different from the traditional garb worn by the Asian monks who developed the practice.
The first practitioners were ascetics who eschewed many of the common worldly pleasures in an attempt to become spiritually pure. Their clothes were simple, their meals were bland, and they abstained from alcoholic drink and other worldly temptations. As such, the first yoga apparel was simply constructed and erring towards drab. It simply gave the monks the necessary covering and protection from the elements without drawing undue attention to them.

When the practice of yoga moved West, it was secularized to a large degree. The original developers saw yoga as a way to further themselves along the path to enlightenment. It has roots in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and while the two religions do not have the same view of enlightenment and life, they both saw yoga as a productive way to hone the body and the mind. The western life had little use for such things, and so the religious and philosophical underpinnings to the exercises weren't taught along with the exercises themselves.

Without the religious prohibition of flamboyance, the style of yoga apparel changed. The cultural aspect was only one part of the change however. Technology also played a big role in changing exercise clothing in general. With the advent of polyester and other synthetic fibers, a simple woven cotton sweat suit was no longer a best option. Now form fitting, flexible attire with one way porous sweat wicking technology can do everything from keep your muscles from freezing up to keep you dry during a workout.

There were some unfortunate experiments with color in the 80's that still haunt those who were caught on camera in the outfits. For the most part the progress of exercise attire in general, and yoga apparel specifically has been positive over the last century.