One of the things that everyone who practices yoga loves to talk about is how it’s for everyone. How you can be in pretty much any kind of shape or level of fitness (barring a few health conditions), and still able to practice it in some way.
That may be true, but you also need to have the right gear or attire if you want to study it right.
You’ve got to have a good yoga mat, the right outfit that is ideal for supporting your body as it goes into all kinds of shapes and forms.
However, in those studios or halls where the temperature is dropping, and the cold is creeping in (especially around winter), it can be tempting to try and add extra layers to the body to keep warm during yoga practice, and that includes socks.
However, when it comes to footwear in yoga, there is a little contention about what you can and should wear, and the reasons behind those thoughts.
This can make it difficult for people to know whether or not wearing socks is even allowed, much less frowned upon.
Well, that’s what this guide is here to help answer. Not only will this guide show that you can wear socks (in some situations) when practicing yoga, but also some scenarios when it may be the best move to do so!
At least, at the right time.
Can You Wear Socks When Practicing Yoga?
So, before we start discussing the situation where you can wear socks during yoga practice, it#s important to explain why, depending on the type of yoga class that you are in, your instructor or guru may stop you or not support your decision to wear socks.
Because, the fact is, in traditional yoga practice, all forms of footwear are frowned upon.
Traditional Yoga Practice
This is because the practice of physical yoga is supposed to be a grounding practice, one that connects your energy and spirit to the earth under your feet.
Part of the traditional practice of yoga is opening up your centers of energy (or chakras), one of those points being found in the feet.
Opening up your root chakra, or Muladhara, is supposed to unlock a feeling of reassurance and balance, like the roots of a powerful tree.
So, putting on a pair of socks would effectively be cutting you off from that connection to the ground, and stopping you from unlocking or awakening that chakra, throwing off your balance, and not feeling the benefits of the practice as you would in bare feet.
This argument might not just be philosophizing or theory, either. It has been proven that each human foot has around 7,000 sensory nerves ending in them, making them quite a sensitive part of the body.
It’s often why, when not wearing socks in a cold environment, you’re likely to feel it there first.
Given just how many nerves and sensors there are in the human foot, having those sensory features to connect with the ground or other parts of the body disrupted could stop you from achieving the feelings that you’re looking to get in a good yoga session.
Yoga Exercise Practice
So, that’s what traditional yoga practitioners, instructors, and philosophers think.
But what about the practice of physical yoga as most of us recognize it today? As purely a physical exercise for stretching and working the body, what might yoga instructors say about wearing socks during a class?
Well, here, you’re probably a little safer. Most people that choose yoga as a form of exercise are likely working most other muscle groups in the body, rather than just the feet, so that connection isn’t quite as important.
However, you may still find that practicing yoga in socks is still an issue for some people. Generally speaking, the skin on your feet will provide better traction for your poses than sock fabric will.
Slipping isn’t just embarrassing in a yoga class (though totally fine, actually), but depending on the pose you are in, it could cause some minor injuries too.
That being said, some socks do provide good traction, so it’s not unnegotiable in exercise yoga.
Why Should You Wear Socks?
So, with quite a lot of people, both from the spiritual and physical, side of the conversation saying that socks may not be the best item to wear when practicing yoga, when is there an appropriate time to put them on, if any?
They Warm Your Feet
This is a pretty clear reason why it would be okay to wear socks, especially in a colder yoga studio.
As we’ve already said, the human foot is packed with nerve endings, meaning that it will feel the cold long before many other parts of your body will.
In many cases, most casual yoga instructors will be totally fine with you putting on a pair of socks to stay warm, especially if they have ample padding for traction.
Great For Balance
And speaking of traction, some socks will have plenty of traction in them anyway, making them better for staying on the ground or mat than your bare feet.
If possible, look for socks that have rubber padding on the soles and balls of the foot, if not the entire sock. These will be ideal.
Good Foot Protection
Sometimes, you’ll find that socks provide just that little extra covering that your feet need to stay safe, especially if you’re concerned about items sticking out of the floor.
Final Notes – Is It Okay To Wear Socks During Yoga?
So, overall, what are our thoughts on wearing socks during yoga? Is it okay to do so?
Well, if you’re practicing traditional yoga, you should completely rule wearing yoga socks out of the equation. It’s simply not a part of the practices and can interfere with your spiritual practice.
However, if you’re practicing yoga just as an exercise, then you’re probably fine to put on some socks with good traction.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have slipped in the middle of a yoga pose, don’t worry. Pretty much every practitioner has had issues with their balance at one point or another!
If you are wearing socks without good traction, you should probably take them off first, then simply return to the pose that you were in the middle of before.
If you are injured, however, simply notify your instructor, and take a moment to assess the damage. Don’t continue practicing if something hurts!
If socks are already on thin ice when it comes to being used at yoga practice, you can imagine that even the thinnest shoes aren’t exactly welcome!
Most yoga instructors, whether people that are teaching and practicing traditional yoga, or are running yoga exercise classes, would probably frown on wearing shoes during a sequence.
For traditional practitioners, it comes back to the idea that you are disconnecting yourself from the earth if you choose to practice in any kind of footwear, thus defeating half the purpose of yoga.
For exercise classes, most instructors would say that shoes, even the best and most flexible ones, do not hold a candle to socks when it comes to freedom of movement and positioning for your feet