Yoga is one of the most incredible ways to celebrate and soothe your body. But if your body is not within a certain ratio, sometimes it can be a little difficult to work with what mother nature gave you!
Teachers like Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen recommend that as practitioners, we don’t wear bras at all, as it interferes with movement, breath, and the inner sensory experience as well as the embodiment of our breasts. Well, sorry Bonnie but some of us need a little more support!
The trouble with bras is that many of them restrict the rib cage. The underwire can potentially really hurt you and there are so many contradictory messages about whether, for the sake of natural perkiness, you should or should not even wear an underwire.
Buying bras as a young woman was a nightmare, and I was always encouraged to wear underwire and a lot of padding – in hindsight while this may have made people around me a lot more comfortable, it could have been healthier to learn how to support my own chest-weight.
While for running a sports bra when you’re DD+ is usually a must, yoga is the kind of fluid or gentle activity that means you may not need to strap them down.
As a lady who has always had a lot of trouble finding bra-alternatives, it felt right to share my knowledge of inversion-friendly support tops that don’t restrict your practice.
1. Hidden bra tops
This is my top bra-free hack for women who have DD+ bra sizes and wish to go bra-less in their yoga classes. It can be almost impossible to find a good one that fits, but I’ve found them. When searching for these mythical items, it can help to think outside of your bra-tops original purpose.1 My favourite hidden-bra tops were actually pyjama tops!2
2. Magic alternative bras
You know this bra. They are constantly advertised as the best alternative to lift and shape breasts and smooth under clothing. While they may not offer a huge amount of support for running or jumping around, they will help prevent you being suffocated by your own bosoms in poses like halasana (plow) and you’re unlikely to be plagued by the dreaded nip slip. The only downside: no such a thing as a natural fibre here!
3. Bikini tops
Again, in the camp of finding a new purpose for existing breast-support, bikini tops that are designed to withstand the waves of the oceans but still allow you to breathe as you swim are bound to be a lot better at supporting you in the yoga shala. Try a bikini top that’s great for surfing and made from recycled plastic for your best hope of a good fit.
4. “Sleep” bras
I am wondering who wears a bra to sleep because, to me that seems very uncomfortable. But, equally as uncomfortable is waking up with one breast in an armpit. I suppose you choose your discomfort. Sleep bras can often be found in natural cottons for larger cup-sized ladies and offer a light support and breathability. You can usually find a better selection of bras that are pretty, have no underwire and no irritating fastenings. Winning!
Dissatisfied with my bra and crop tops that lose their elasticity and support very quickly, I turned to my sewing machine. Creating a simple triangle bra out of old leggings meant I could quickly make an inversion-friendly bra out of materials I already had. Making my own bra meant I could make simple adjustments, like changing the halterneck for a crossback to save my neck. Time to get crafty!3
6. Just get used to it
You were blessed and cursed with these bountiful breasts, and you’ll have to get used to the discomfort of both unwanted ogling and impractical undergarments. Great ways to save your breasts and help you support yourself are:
- regular breast massage to keep the skin and surrounding tissue well looked after
- wash the skin with cold water to tighten
- commit to some bra and support-free times that include gentle movement
- wear natural, breathable fibres4