What Are Yoga Pants?
There’s certainly plenty of hype around yoga pants. Not many days go by without the paparazzi chasing a celebrity somewhere in the world sporting a pair of tight yoga pants, a soy latte in one hand and their Gucci handbag in the other! More often than not, there’s certainly no sign of a yoga mat!
So, what are yoga pants, and why have they become so fashionable and popular in recent years? It’s almost as though the pants themselves grab more attention than the practice of yoga does. Hardly surprising when you consider just how tight some of them are and how little they leave to the imagination.
There are even websites and Instagram accounts dedicated to nothing more than girls wearing yoga pants. Imagine that!
So First Up, What Are Yoga Pants?
The short answer is that yoga pants are a type of form-fitting but highly flexible pair of pants designed especially for the practice of yoga, and not just yoga, but any other kind of exercise or workout activity requiring plenty of fluid movement — from bending and stretching to flexing and generally moving.
These days you will find them being worn for a wide range of physical sports and recreational activities. Everything from martial arts to pilates, dancing to grabbing coffee with the girls, yoga pants have become a must-have piece of functional and casual day wear — so much so that even non-sporting types can frequently be found relaxing in a pair of yoga pants. That’s a testimony to just how comfortable, popular but also practical they are.
What Are Yoga Pants Typically Constructed From?
Yoga pants can be found in a wide range of different fabrics, including popular choices such as a cotton blend, Lycra Spandex, polyester and nylon, and even light woolen materials. In fact, pretty much anything stretchy can be used in the manufacture of yoga pants just as long as it is soft, smooth and delivers a silky and pliable finish.
As we’ve already established, while initially designed for use in the studio, gym or on the mat, the humble yoga pant is also casually worn as an everyday staple by women around the world.
What Types of Popular Yoga Pants Exist?
Safe to say that the range and depth of yoga pants commonly available are extensive. The product database, Indix, claims that there are over 2,700 different variants of yoga pants currently available.
While the term “yoga pants” is relatively broad and all-encompassing, styles vary from boot cut flared bottom, to shorter Capri style pants, compression wear as well as pants with flat high waistbands featuring tummy control properties. Typically seam-free, or with flatlock stitching, the key to an excellent pair of yoga pants has to be comfort.
Typically, yoga pants are tight fitting and black, but that really is a huge generalization as practically anything goes these days. While the traditional yoga pant may well have been boot cut with an elastic folded waistband, these days the fabrics, colors, patterns and designs are creative and appeal to the fashion conscious and the style savvy.
There’s no denying that the perfect pair of yoga pants is out there for you, no matter what size and shape you might be or what your individual style and taste.
Why Do Yoga Pants Tend to Be Tight Fitting?
It’s true that the most popular yoga pants are certainly form fitting. That’s not because everyone who practices yoga is a secret exhibitionist, who likes to flaunt their curves! That’s because the tight fitting nature of yoga pants provides them with plenty of flexibility, which gives the wearer that all-important range of movement.
Besides being designed to fit like a second skin and hug the contours of your body, the best yoga pants are also made from moisture-wicking fabrics to draw perspiration away from the body and towards the outer surface of the material. Given the prevalence and popularity of hot yoga, also known as Bikram, as well as dynamic and Vinyasa flows to name just a few, this is a massive advantage of the modern yoga pant. Doing yoga can generate a surprising amount of heat in the body, so it’s important that the wearer remains cool and comfortable throughout their session.
How Important Is the Waistband in a Pair of Yoga Pants?
One of the other more popular traits to be found in a pair of traditional yoga pants is either a flat or fold-over style waistband. Again, this is less about the design element and more about the practical function and fit. These kind of secure and snug fitting waistbands are comfortable and breathable, stylish and also versatile but they also help to hold the yoga pants securely in place, so they don’t roll down mid-way through your asanas.
The higher the percentage of Spandex, the greater the level of control and support. The higher the rate of cotton, the more comfortable and relaxed the leggings will be. That’s why high-performance sportswear tends to feature Lycra, whereas loungewear contains more cotton.
The Rise in Popularity of the Yoga Pants
There has been a marked increase in the demand for comfortable and flexible workout gear over the years with the active and sportswear market accounting for tens of billions of dollars of revenue. One of the driving factors behind the mainstream popularity of activewear outside of the gym is the introduction of more fashionable ranges, many of which are fronted by celebrity endorsements.
New colors and structural designs, along with innovative fabric compositions and eclectic patterns, have increased demand for yoga pants which these days, are as popular as jeans for a casual off-duty look. Dubbed as “athleisure,” the fusing of fashion and fitness to create new gym-to-work attire has exploded, in part fueled by our love of healthy living and a passion for keeping fit and looking stylish while we do it.
To Yoga or Not to Yoga!
Whether you physically practice yoga or just like the freedom and flexibility, comfort, and support that wearing a pair of yoga pants delivers, one thing is for sure — the yoga pant shows no signs of waning in popularity. More comfortable to wear than a pair of jeans, yoga pants look set to be an intrinsic part of our workout, casual and athleisure wardrobe for many years to come.