zen and the art of hiding my fat butt
August 5, 2008 8:35 PM   Subscribe

What should I wear to meditation?

So, here's my dilemma. I have very few articles of clothing suited to meditate in. (in a formal group setting. I wear PJs at home). I'm almost always in skirts or dresses (hard to kill the inner goth), and own like three pairs of pants. I tend to feel grotesquely uncomfortable in pants as it is, mostly because I'm overweight and I feel like they draw a lot of attention to my worst areas. But, I want to be unable to sit or do the prostrations without, you know, flashing people.

So would it be oddball to wear, say, fitted yoga pants and make a knee-length skirt of similar material over it? I figure that way I won't spend my hour sitting there thinking about how uncomfortable I am and how fat my thighs are. But I don't want to look like I just got off the bus from crazytown, either.

It isn't about wanting to look cute or whatever. Most of the people in the group are a good chunk older than me, and it's not all perfect yoga bodies. I just want to be able to sit down in a half lotus without my own body issues messing with me.

Any other suggestions for what a chubby hourglass shaped gal can wear to meditate?
posted by Kellydamnit to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
I know it's often ridiculed by fashionistas, but I dig the look of dress-over-pants. What about a tunic or baby-dollish dress in a fabric you can move in, over yoga pants?
posted by padraigin at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2008

Fitted yoga pants and skirt sounds fine, a little dressier than most of the meditation classes I've been to. If you look tidy in your other garments/hair you won't have to worry about the crazytown vibe. When I go to a public meditation, I am always sure to wear a shirt a little larger than normal, so I don't find myself holding in my stomach in a freakin meditation class. Kinda defeats the purpose, you know?
posted by 8dot3 at 8:43 PM on August 5, 2008

Go to meditiation wearing precisely the pants that make you have body image issues. You'll get a lot more out of it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:44 PM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

Wear whatever you want. Meditation isn't about looking cool or dorky. No one will be looking at you, and if they are, they aren't meditating very well so screw them. Wear pants and a skirt if that is what will help you get the most out of the meditation session.
posted by rmless at 8:57 PM on August 5, 2008

Actually, Ironmouth has a point. The whole idea of meditation is to dissociate from the daily life.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:07 PM on August 5, 2008

If what you're wearing is an obstacle to meditation, then you've got a problem. Wear whatever make you comfortable - physically and emotionally.

Do you have any skorts? That would cover your thighs, but still give you coverage. I wear skorts to my Feldenkrais classes all the time.
posted by 26.2 at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2008

what about flowy yoga pants vs fitted yoga pants?
posted by judith at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2008

Go to meditiation wearing precisely the pants that make you have body image issues. You'll get a lot more out of it.

Actually, the recommendation is to wear something that you feel is respectful yet comfortable. Meditation isn't some sort of immersion therapy - there's no need to face your fashion demons head on in order to reach enlightenment. I would suggest a nice set of sweats or yoga pants and a pretty shirt (that is comfortable). Wearing something you think is ugly and that doesn't feel good isn't going to help you meditate.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:09 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

I actually always liked scrub bottoms---like the kind nurses wear...I'm a dude. Drawstring top, fairly flowy, lightweight, comfy. Also---cheap!
posted by TomMelee at 5:32 AM on August 6, 2008

The pants-with-skirt idea you describe isn't so far off the Indian salwar-kameez outfit. It can look OK and be comfy in the right fabric, but be careful about wearing so many layers that you get hot. If you're practising with mostly older people, they may keep the place a bit warmer and stuffier than you need, and if you get too warm meditating you will get sleepy.

Also, prostrations are exercise and will warm you up as well, if you're working on ngöndro numbers and not doing just an initial three.
posted by zadcat at 5:49 AM on August 6, 2008

I'm inclined to suggest nice, loose sweatpants. And, probably a similar sweatshirt. Remember to change into your normal street clothes when you're done meditating.
posted by Citrus at 6:25 AM on August 6, 2008

I used to take an exercise class with some women who, for religious reasons, would wear loose leggings under long skirts. I noticed them, but never thought much about it. They definitely didn't look crazy (or at least not any crazier than the rest of us -- step aerobics isn't the most dignified of activities).
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:31 AM on August 6, 2008

I would think any loose clothing you are comfortable in and are comfortable wearing in public would be fine. Long loose skits and a loose blouse would seem to me (though I am a man) to be ideal, if you can do that.

The "inappropriate" clothing I see when I go to (in my case Tibetan Buddhist) group meditation sessions are too-short skirts, short shorts, low-cut tops and bare midriffs -- but that's mainly because there are monastic meditation leaders in our sessions, and it's somewhat disrespectful to their celebate vows to wear suggestive clothing. (Not that the venerables would ever say anything.) That's probably not so much an issue in a Zen session with American meditation teachers / group leaders - but the rule of thumb should be to allow you to sit comfortably. As others have said, anyone who gives you the hairy eyeball for how you are dressed (assuming you're not wearing something flashy, bizarre, or revealing) or how you look in general (weight, height, etc.) is very much missing the point of meditation practice in a big way, so try not to let such a thing bother you if it were to happen.

The other thing people tend to forget is to wear slip-on shoes, so that you can quickly remove them upon entering the dharma center (and quickly put them back on when you leave without having to awkwardly stoop, hop, or search for a chair to tie your laces).
posted by aught at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2008

Really, just wear whatever you're comfortable in so long as you're not flashing underwear at people when you move or sit. (So basically, no pencil/tight/miniskirts.) I think yoga pants + skirt would be fine.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:51 PM on August 6, 2008

« Older Two days of platelessness?   |   Meteor-watching at the Grand Canyon Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.