What is with Yoga Pants Anyway?

Yoga pants have recently come under fire, even so far as there being proposed laws against them, and not without reason. Sometimes, these pants aren’t flattering. And I don’t mean to your body shape. As a mind-body fitness instructor, one of the things we’re supposed to do is monitor clothing so that it doesn’t distract others from their workouts.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not apparel policemen. However, if we see that a certain item might not be comfortable or be too revealing, it’s up to us to say something. And that makes for very awkward conversations. People are already self-conscious enough these days. I hate to be the one to have to say, “Hey, hun, you need to wear different bottoms next time.”

Let me stop and say right now that I love yoga pants. I find them very comfortable. They’ve kept me clothed through two pregnancies. They are a staple of my fitness wardrobe.

So why do I bring it up? Because I don’t want to have to have this conversation EVER. I’ve been fortunate in my teaching career to only have run across one or two students who have pants that are see-through. One was fairly recently, and I didn’t get a chance to let her know about them either.

But what really prompted this post was a recent conversation with another student who went yoga pants shopping. She said that she couldn’t find anything because every time she pressed on the fabric with her hand, she could see it. It was frustrating. She was asking me for brand recommendations.

I recommended trying them on.

Let’s face it. Like anything else, there’s an industry that surrounds yoga and Pilates clothing. That means money. You don’t have to spend it though. The general recommendation is that you are comfortable and that your clothes be a little loose to provide room for movement but not too loose to get in the way. A lot of serious yoga practitioners wear tank tops and shorts rather than pants because skin tracts better on skin than on cloth, enabling you to more easily hold poses. A lot of serious Pilates practitioners do likewise because there’s less fabric to get in the way of the continuous fluid movements and therefore fewer distractions from your exercises.

I say wear what is most comfortable for you. Wear layers to class. You never know when you’ll get chilled, particularly as you wind down at the end of class. Go up a size in yoga pants if you aren’t sure the size you try on meets your criteria for a good fit. Try a different brand even. Go long or go short. There’s no one rule except, perhaps, this: next time you try on pants at a store, bend over in front of the mirror. See what the fabric does on your body. Go from there.

That way there are no more awkward conversations about your clothing.


1 thought on “What is with Yoga Pants Anyway?”

  1. Good points. I’ve seem some really … interesting clothing choices on women lately. I have a pair of loose, sort of pajama-type shorts I wear for beach walking. They are quite short. None of my mirrors are low enough to tell what I look like. I just hope I don’t scare anyone too badly! I like the loose comfort of them. They (and I) aren’t elegant, but they allow me to move as easily as I can on any given day, and that’s what counts.

    People have tried to outlaw baggy pants, too. Don’t think you can legislate someone’s apparel. The Oakland Raiders gear is a good example. It became the symbol of teen rebellion or gangs, so many schools outlawed it — which caused a rebellion. It took a while, but it became policy in many school districts around the country. Don’t know if Oakland still has a team. If not, that might have taken care of the issue.

    People wear what they like, even if it looks bad. Not like the old days where there was some structure, and people dressed for others rather than themselves.

    I wish you a good week.

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