Of all the types of yoga being taught today, Bikram yoga seems to stand out, not only because it is done in a very hot room, but also because of the successful branding and marketing of its style and technique. Its set sequence, designed by Bikram Chodhury, is austere and challenging enough for long-time practitioners to build upon, but is also accessible to beginners, granted they know what they are in for. Here you will learn what is key when it come to Bikram yoga clothes.
What Not to Wear
Yoga wear comes in all shapes and sizes, but Bikram yoga clothes really set themselves apart. Because it takes place in such a hot room (around 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit), your usual yoga wear might not suffice, depending on your degree of tolerance for suffering. If you favor tight leggings and long pants, you might find some difficulty transitioning to Bikram yoga, whose heat is more cloying and sweltering in additional internal heat that you create through your intense, steady breathing. This is all the more so for beginners, as t-shirts and sweatpants may just add to your discomfort, and make it more discouraging for you to learn.
Less is More
So what should you be looking for? First of all, understand that you will be sweating inordinate amounts more than what you are used to. Look into clothing and fabrics that help you get rid of the sweat off your skin faster. This usually means investing in a good yoga mat towel, preferably a skidless one with rubber grips, and wearing as little as you are able to get away with so that all your sweat can run off you in rivulets and pool around your feet to get absorbed by your towel. There's a reason why you often see Bikram yoga practitioners in what appears to be swimwear. It let's your skin breathe while allowing a full range of movement.
Focusing on Fabrics
The other component to look at is the type of material being used. As opposed to regular lycra blends, Bikram clothing invests more in moisture-wicking clothing technology to absorb sweat faster and efficiently. Their tie-shorts, bra-style tops, and midriff-baring tanks are made to be breathable as well as supportive. Look out for brands that have enough Spandex or other stretchy material in them so that they stay in place and not expose too much. Men generally have an easier time in this sense as they can just go topless, and if they are really daring, wear a Speedo-style bottom.
Bikram yoga is not for the faint of heart - physically or mentally. You have to go into it with that attitude of being focused on yourself and only yourself, not letting others distract you with what they do or what they wear. Thus, you also have to be confident in yourself as you shine through your practice as if doing postures such as Eagle Pose (Garurasana) in skimpy outfits were old hat to you.