While traditional yoga practitioners do not practice with socks on, there are various reasons you may wish to keep yours on. Whether nursing an injury or feeling awkward barefoot, wearing socks on the yoga mat could make you feel more comfortable. In that case, it is best to fully understand the best practices for wearing socks on the yoga mat.
It is not common practice to wear socks on the yoga mat. Traditionally, shoes and socks are removed as yogis enter the yoga studio, and practice is conducted with bare feet. Today, specially designed yoga socks are available for those wishing to do yoga in socks.
If you are caught wondering whether or not to pack your fluffy socks for your yoga class, you are not alone. Many yoga students ponder the same question and are left scratching their heads. Although yoga is strictly done barefoot, modern nuances may allow you to cover up those feet if it will get you on that mat and keep you there. Read on as we explain all.
Do You Traditionally Wear Socks On The Yoga Mat?
Did you know that yoga is about five thousand years old and originated in India? Because the ancient practice of yoga comes from India, certain cultural elements permeate it, even today.
One cultural element that has moved with yoga from India is taking off our shoes and socks as we enter the yoga studio. In India, removing your shoes as you enter a building is commonplace, so we remove them as we enter the yoga studio.
This practice is beneficial even today since it helps keep the yoga studio clean. It also allows you to get completely in the zone for your yoga session.
Removing your shoes and socks as you enter your yoga space also helps you get into the mindset of your practice. As you remove your shoes, you connect to the earth and begin grounding in anticipation for your practice.
You do not traditionally wear socks on the yoga mat because it could interfere with the grounding element of your practice. Yogis believe that your root chakra, or Muladhara, is activated when you are barefoot.
When you activate your root chakra, you experience a sense of being rooted, secure, assured, and belonging. Practicing yoga without socks on allows you to experience all these sensations as you gain a deeper understanding of your body and inner self.
Should You Wear Socks On The Yoga Mat?
It may be frowned upon to wear socks on the yoga mat from a traditional or classical perspective, but there are other reasons to avoid wearing socks to practice, too.
Socks form a barrier between you and the earth, inhibiting your ability to ground efficiently and activate your root chakra. Since your root chakra helps you feel secure, self-assured, and as you belong, being able to activate it during your yoga practice is an essential part of the experience.
Let us look at a few other problems you could encounter by wearing socks during yoga practice.
1.Wearing Socks Could Decrease Your Grip
During yoga practice, it is common for yogis to spread their toes and secure them into the mat to gain an efficient grip in poses.
When you wear socks on the mat, you lose the ability to spread your toes as much as you can when you are barefoot since the socks confine your toes’ mobility.
Socks decrease your ability to secure your toes into the yoga mat. The layer of fabric that is between your foot and the mat often causes a slippery barrier that prevents toes from spreading or effectively planting into the mat.
When you cannot securely position your toes on the mat, your grip is not optimal, and you could end up slipping or holding poses in incorrect stances.
2. Wearing Socks Could Lead To Slipping
You will likely slip if you wear regular socks on the yoga mat. Many of the poses we perform in yoga require balance or stretching our feet away from their usual position.
Wearing socks could lead to your foot slipping out from under you. Slipping during a yoga pose can lead to injury.
3. Wearing Socks Could Lead To Overheating And Discomfort
For many beginners, wearing socks is a form of comfort. Most yoga teachers allow beginners to wear socks if they wish, but the truth is that most end up removing their socks during their first session.
Most types of yoga make you hot and sweaty, and sweaty feet in socks can get slippery and uncomfortable.
Socks can be uncomfortable during a yoga class as they twist, bunch, and slide off while the yogi is trying to concentrate on performing poses and correcting their stances.
Yogis who wish to wear socks should be allowed to do so, knowing that they are permitted to remove their socks whenever they like.
4. Wearing Socks Could Prevent Correction
Most yoga instructors give instruction and correction during each class. Since the success of many yoga poses is dependent on the correct placement of the feet, it is essential that the instructor can see the feet of those in the class.
When a yogi wears socks, the instructor may not adequately see the placement of the yogi’s feet or toes. That means that appropriate corrections are not being given during the class.
5. Wearing Socks Could Prevent Proper Focus
One of the most beautiful goals of yoga is the ultimate acceptance of yourself, inside and out. Through yoga, we are challenged to push ourselves further than we thought possible while acknowledging the successes along the way.
If you are keen to wear socks on the yoga mat because you feel self-conscious about your feet, practicing yoga barefoot may be the opportunity you need to begin to accept yourself. This may be your chance to let go of your body image issues and concentrate your energy on your practice.
To prevent slipping is to be sure you are using the correct side of your yoga mat. If you aren’t sure which side is the proper side, check out my other article, Are You Using Your Yoga Mat Right?
When Do You Wear Socks On The Yoga Mat?
Although wearing socks on the yoga mat is not the traditional norm, some instances warrant wearing socks to practice.
If you have a good reason to wear socks to a yoga practice with an instructor, it is best to notify them beforehand. This will let them in on the reasons for your choice and prevent them from thinking you simply did not know that yoga is typically practiced barefoot.
Let’s look at a few times when wearing socks on the yoga mat is appropriate.
1.Wearing Socks May Allow You To Practice While Injured
If you are nursing an injury, attending a yoga class and wearing socks may be appropriate and beneficial.
Socks can cover a wound dressing, bandage, bruising, and more. If your doctor has okayed you to practice yoga, wearing socks could help you feel more comfortable.
2. Wearing Socks During Savasana Helps You Relax
Most yoga instructors allow those in their class to grab a blanket, jumper, or socks for the savasana section at the end of the class.
Savasana involves lying very still, and yogis can become cold during this pose. For this and the legs up the wall pose, it is perfectly acceptable to wear socks. Having warm feet will keep you comfortable and help you relax.
3. Wearing Yoga Socks Will Minimize Slipping, Aid Grip, And Help Toe Alignment
If you would like to try wearing socks during your yoga practice, consider wearing yoga socks. These socks have rubber patterns on the soles to prevent slipping.
Some come with toe cut-outs to allow for the free movement of your toes during practice.
It is believed that yoga socks help those with pain in their feet. If you experience pinching pain, yoga socks can assist with your toe alignment.
If you wish to wear yoga socks during class, it is best to chat with your instructor before the time to ensure that it is permitted at the studio and the instructor understands your thought processes.
Learn more!!! Why Do Yoga Socks Have Holes in Them?
It is not typical for yogis to wear socks on the yoga mat. Traditionally, shoes and socks are removed as we enter the yoga room. This is a cultural observance and helps keep the yoga floor clean. Yoga socks are a good option for those who need to wear socks to practice, though it is beneficial to chat with your instructor before class if you will be wearing them.