Ask any random person on the street what comes to mind when you say the word “yoga,” and they’ll probably rattle off a few predictable answers, which almost always include something about yoga pants. And another unspoken question, which is very important (at least to me) is: Which yoga pants make my body look good?
When it comes to the topic of yoga, I prefer to elevate the conversation to a higher-browed, philosophical level and leave the pedestrian-level pant talk to amateurs. However, there is wisdom in making sure one’s clothing supports the overall yoga goal of uniting breath, body, and mind. This includes finding yoga pants that make your body look good. Pants that “honor” your body, which is an integral part of your overall self–your very soul.
In seeking proper asana, follow my advice and not the advice discovered with a cursory Google search. Trust me, I’ve been there and it does nothing but cause undue confusion and wasteful spending.
Save yourself some time and money by following these basic yoga pants shopping guidelines:
- Purchase at least TWO pairs of pants
As a general rule-of-thumb, always have an extra set of yoga pants in case you experience an unexpected fabric tear (yikes) or forget to do your laundry (gross). Not only will you be happy for having a Plan B, but your fellow yoginis will thank you for not wearing smelly yoga pants.
- Make sure they are sweat resistant
Yoga sessions are no joke and they are not your Grandma’s Tai Chi. A yoga session can be a serious, sweaty workout, especially if you opt for hot yoga. If you’re buying pants from a trusted outlet like REI, chances are their entire selection is sweat resistant. Exercise caution, though, when buying from a boutique seller (e.g. on Etsy). They don’t always use sweat resistant fabric and are almost impossible to work with on returns.
- Buy pants that make you feel confident and comfortable.
Yoga is a great opportunity to strut your stuff in an accepting atmosphere. While you’re not there to show off, you can use it as an opportunity to be a little bold in how you dress. You’re in a community of like-minded individuals who are very non-judgmental. Don’t be afraid to wear tight clothing—which leads me to the next point.
- Compression and stretch
Your pants should have compression and stretch. This isn’t just for looks. It’s for safety. Your muscles are aided when they have slight compression against them. This is the precise reason I resist the temptation to ever wear loose-fitting yoga pants. They just don’t serve the utilitarian purpose that compression pants do.
- Avoid full-length and opt instead for mid-calf
I’m not as militant on this item, but I do prefer mid-calf over full-length pants. The reason is simple: Mid-calf pants work well in all seasons.
Asana is all about body posture and pose. Your clothes should never get in the way of your asana. This principle should guide every purchasing decision for yoga clothing from head to toe.