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Yoga pants: essential or just plain comfortable?

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yoga-pants

(Graphic by Katie Tamosiunas / The DePaulia)

Yoga class starts in 20 minutes.  It takes you about 15 minutes to walk to the L stop, get on your train, and transit to class.  The issue?  You’ve looked under the bed, through your dirty laundry and even through your roommate’s dirty laundry, but you can’t seem to find your yoga pants anywhere.

You may be thinking, “Can’t I just wear sweatpants to class? Does doing yoga really require me to wear yoga pants?”

The answer is a little more complex than you may think.

There is an assumption by people who don’t do yoga or who don’t practice the exercise frequently, that wearing yoga pants to a yoga class isn’t a necessity.  Some people believe that people, specifically women, only prefer to wear yoga pants in order to show off their butts.

“You can totally just wear sweatpants.  You don’t have to wear yoga pants, people just like to show off their body in yoga pants.  I know that’s what I like to do,” said amateur yogi Mia Jenssen.

Although this assumption of only wanting to show off their assets may be true for some women, what these criticizers fail to realize is that there is a purpose behind the tight-fitted style of yoga pants.

“I wouldn’t say that (yoga pants) are crucial or make you a better yogi or whatever, but they do hold in sweat and don’t get in your way because they hug the ankles, whereas if you were to wear poise pants or shorts your legs would be slippery and you might step on the fabric and fall over,” said yoga instructor Madison Suffredini.

Yoga pants are typically black, and feature an elastic waistband that folds over the top, and stretchy fabric that hugs the body from waist to knee, gradually flaring out toward the feet.  Fabrics used in yoga pants are typically cotton, nylon, Spandex or rayon.

Cropped, or capri, and full-length yoga leggings are also popular amongst yogis.

The importance behind the design and fabric used for yoga pants is simple: they are able to stretch and breathe without getting in the way or losing their shape and sagging.  Comfort while working out is also a major factor in the design and materials used.

“You need to wear any pants that stretch, like that’s why people wear yoga pants, they’re like a second skin and they’ll move the way your body moves.  So if you were wearing, like, denim, you won’t be able to move as much.  And sweatpants might have too much material,” said CorePower Yoga retail specialist Katy Riediger.

In recent years, yoga pants have evolved from workout and loungewear into a more widely accepted fashion statement.  Women, and less frequently men, have begun wearing yoga pants while shopping or out to eat, while at work, and even in classrooms.

Though the trend is generally socially accepted, it has not been fully accepted by institutions.  Many high schools throughout the United States have banned yoga pants as casual-wear in schools, deeming them to be “distracting” to male students due to the form-fitting style.

Despite controversy, yoga pants are still an extremely popular fashion choice for both yogis and non-yogis alike, with over 2,700 types of yoga pants being sold across 116 brands within 73 stores in September 2014, according to Anu Hastings on Indix.com.

Yoga pants not only vary in style, but also price.  Yoga pants at American Eagle’s Aerie can be found for only $10.  While at Lole, their White Collection Jasmit leggings are priced at $130.

Not only are yoga pants useful for versatility, comfort and style while practicing yoga, but new technological developments now allow yoga pants to actually improve your practice.

On Jan 11, Wearable Experiments released Nadi, yoga pants that use vibrations to correct the wearer’s yoga form.  An accompanying phone app is used in order to send this haptic feedback, and provide photo examples of poses for users to have as a guide if necessary.

These pants are most useful for yogis practicing on their own, allowing them to stay connected with the yoga experience while still being guided through proper form.

With various options and technology on the market, personal comfort is the most important aspect of your yoga experience.  “People should wear whatever makes them most comfortable in their practice,” said LuluLemon employee Jen Johnson.

So next time you’re running late for yoga class, feel free to pick up those sweatpants from the top of your dirty laundry.  Yoga pants aren’t a requirement.

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Yoga pants: essential or just plain comfortable?