“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
I went to high school in the age where “thong” underwear was all the rage! It became such a hot topic around our hallways that people judged you by whether or not they could see your “granny underwear” lines through your pants. No lines meant you were super-cool! When I first found my way into yoga pants, the trigger around panty lines was real–I found myself feeling that familiar self-consciousness of a teenager! As I took time to reflect on this, I found myself looking to Deva Tree’s cross-disciplinary 200-hour teacher training for guidance. I found it right there in my notes: I read and reread that yoga is about how it feels, not how it looks!
As a new yoga instructor, I commit a great deal of my teaching to this philosophy–it comes through in my language and cues in every class. I spend my time modelling through teaching that poses (or ”asana”) are about how they feel in the body, not how they look. If this is true for poses, then it must also be true for my self-image and my comfort in clothing.
Coming to terms with showing lines in my yoga pants was a part of my inner journey that I needed to make peace with and a great opportunity to work on my relationship with Self. As I moved through those feelings, it really brought clothing to the forefront of my awareness. When I am standing at the front of the room teaching, whether it’s children or adults, I need to feel comfortable in my clothes. For me, this means a top that isn’t so tight that I can’t breathe, but doesn’t flow so much that my abdomen is showing in an inversion (such as downward dog). It is equally important for me to feel that in an inversion, my cleavage is well-contained, and at no risk of presenting a “wardrobe malfunction” (as Janet Jackson so notably demonstrated in a half-time show during the Super Bowl!).
As I recently went shopping to get summer apparel, I was shocked at how the clothing seemed to all be geared towards looking sexy, with little regard for modest function. I took time to explore Lululemon and local sporting stores and the majority of options available were flowing shirts, backless, or cleavage-exposing. This style of clothing may be great to go for a coffee in and it may look great on the right body type, but for me it is not suitable to wear as a yoga Instructor.
Whenever we take on the role of a teacher, we often choose to teach what we need or desire to learn. The many layers of becoming a certified yoga teacher continues to provide me with these opportunities to look within and grow. As I stand up in front of a class to teach, I vow to feel comfortable whether I have lines or not, and I am committed to sourcing clothing that is appropriate to demonstrate that I care about more than “looking sexy” when I turn up to my mat.