Photo: Wavebreak Media Ltd

Whether you’re just starting out or have been practising yoga for a while, it helps to have the right apparel and mat for your Sun Salutations and Downward Dog. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – don’t just go for looks. Pretty threads might be insta-worthy but might be lacking performance-wise. Here are six shopping tips when buying yoga clothes and mats.

1. Shopping tips for buying yoga clothes: Don’t go baggy

Curve-skimming numbers are a must if you want to avoid running into a wardrobe malfunction while doing a headstand. Make sure it’s not too constrictive either, or you might get really uncomfortable during the session.

2. Shopping tips for buying yoga clothes: Try before you buy

If space permits, do some simple stretches in the changing room (raise your arms, bend over backward and forward, twist to the side, bring one knee to your chest while balancing on one leg). Toss out those pieces that restrict movement or cut into skin. Lycra blends are popular as they’re breathable, light and stretchy.

Buying online? Check out reviews of the fit before adding your purchase to the cart, or see if there is a physical store where you can try on a similar pair.

3. Shopping tips for buying yoga clothes: Pick the right pants

Save low-rise bottoms for another occasion as they’d ride low as you stretch (unless you want to flash your butt at everyone else). Capri or knee-length tights let you retain your modesty and are suitable for most classes, while shorts are best for Bikram yoga so you can stay cool in the heat.

4. Shopping tips for buying a yoga mat: Note the thickness

Mats range from 40mm (standard) to 70mm (premium) in thickness. Pick wafer-thin ones if you plan to take them on your travels. Otherwise, go for chunkier versions for better support and cushioning.

5. Shopping tips for buying a yoga mat: Choose the right material

This affects the texture, firmness and durability of the mat. Those made from PVC are dense and “sticky”. Rubber, jute and even cotton ones are increasingly popular with eco-warriors who want something more durable.

6. Shopping tips for buying a yoga mat: Make sure there are anti-slip features

Yoga is a balancing act, so pick a mat that provides traction – on both sides. A slightly-textured top surface offers better grip, while grooves and protrusions on the underside are typically used to keep the mat from shifting as you perform the poses.

This story was first published on Shape.com.sg