“Why isn’t there a jock strap for women?” Victoria Woodrow
When you relocate to a new country, you begin to notice different customs, behaviors and norms of the area. Although blending in and respecting cultural differences in your new surroundings is of significant importance, you may find some behaviors, attitudes, or cultural differences that are somewhat bizarre and perhaps even bothersome to you. Like the vast under utilization of sports bras in the Lavaux region of Switzerland.
I will freely admit to being an athletic equipment snob sometimes basing the ‘seriousness’ of the athlete by the quality of their athletic clothing and equipment. Athletic equipment and clothing is designed to improve your performance and comfort whether it be running, biking, yoga, snow skiing, tennis, volleyball, etc. In my mind, a sports bra qualifies as a necessary sport equipment item for women. Wikipedia defines a sports bra as “A bra that provides additional support to female breasts during physical exercise. Sturdier than typical bras, they minimize breast movement, alleviate discomfort, and reduce potential damage to chest ligaments.”
Running Requires a Sports Bra
Running around Lake Geneva is when I first began to notice the lack of sports bra usage in Switzerland as I observed my fellow female runners. Running shorts, check; running top, check; running shoes . . . .sorta a check BUT sports bra . . . not so much. It appeared that most women runners were wearing a lingerie type bra which would not provide their breasts the support and comfort needed for running. . . .so strange.
In fact, the invention of the modern sports bra has its origins from the world of female runners and the beginning of equality for female collegiate athletes in the United States. The first modern sports bra was invented by a frustrated long distance runner, Lisa Lindahl. In an unlikely fashion, Lisa literally attached two male by sewing them together thus inventing the ‘jockbra’. The first modern sports bra quickly improved and became know as a jogbra. Kelly Bastone’s interesting article entitled The History of the Sports Bra gives a detailed account of this 37-year-old wonderful creation.(http://www.ladiesonlysports.com/sports-bra-history/).
Being a Female on a Yoga Mat; Sports Bra Please
So for me, women running without a sports bra seemed like such a step backwards for women athletes. When I began attending yoga classes on a regular basis, I noticed the same thing regarding sports bras. The female yoga participants are all sports geared up with quality yoga pants, yoga tops, yoga head bands, lululemon yoga mats (http://www.lululemon.ch/home.jsp) . . . but strangely missing . . . sports bras. Again, my observation is that many of the women in the yoga studio I attend in Lausanne wear lingerie type bras. For some unknown reason, it was irritating for me to see women in yoga clothing with lingerie bra straps showing. Yoga, of course, does not require the same level of control from a sports bra as running; however, a sports bra still would serve women yogis well providing maximum comfort and freedom.
Then, the moment came when the perceived ‘weirdness’ of missing sports bras became ‘welcomed’! Arriving to yoga in time to change into my valued sports bra . . .I discovered I had forgotten it! Horror, then relief. Having an epiphany, I simply wore my lingerie bra and my undergarment tank top without shame, embarrassment or a single strange look from any of my fellow yogis. So be careful about what irritates you because in the very near future it might be what you welcome . . . so much to learn so little time! Even though I completely believe that a sports bra is indispensable for female athletes, it was wonderful to be able to relax and feel a different type of freedom. La vie en Suisse!
Helen H. Thomas, Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing E-therapy via http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Helen_Hobart_Thomas_LCSW_Fort+Worth_Texas_197844
“You express your own divinity by being alive and by loving yourself and others.”
― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416333771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+four+agreements+by+don+miguel+ruiz)