Yoga Pant Basics - an introduction to meditation apparel
Yoga dates back thousands of years, and many yoga postures have been passed down through the ages. The breathing techniques and postures increase health, flexibility and vitality. Some also use yoga as part of a spiritual practice, although in the west most practitioners focus on the physical and mental health benefits. Yoga movements require clothing that is non-confining and moves with the wearer. Modern yoga pants were developed to meet this need.
Brief History of Yoga Apparel
Before yoga pants, yoga practitioners in the west wore athletic wear such as sweat pants, or shorts. While comfortable and practical, these are less attractive than the pants you see today made specifically for yoga. In addition, most were not form fitting. The form-fitting design of yoga pants allows yoga instructors to assess, accurately, if a student's body is aligned correctly while holding poses. The curve-hugging style of the pants has also led to their popularity outside of yoga class.
Most popular styles of modern yoga pants cling to the body and show off a well-toned abdomen and buttocks. Because of this and the fact that the fabrics are comfortable, many more people have incorporated the pants into their wardrobe for wearing to nightclubs or performing daily activities.
The fashion appeal of the garment has been accelerated by the addition of more stylish colors and patterns. While the most common color remains black, colorful waistbands are often added for extra visual appeal.
In addition to black, you can find the pants in white, charcoal, pink, blue and many other colors and prints.
Yoga pants as we know them today could not exist without the advent of new, stretchy yet breathable fabrics. Some pants are made from a combination of microfiber, which is soft to the touch, and spandex, which is a flexible material. Other pants combine natural fabrics, such as cotton, with spandex or similar materials. Expertly blending fabrics in this way allows the development of material that has the positive aspects of both. Lycra alone, for example, is not as soft as a blended fabric.
Competition to gain a large customer base has meant that many yoga manufacturers have developed their own trademarked fabrics. The material blends are kept secret, in many cases, to prevent other companies from offering less expensive reproductions.
Like other types of pants, yoga pant styles vary. Flare or boot cut styles are full-length, form fitting through the hips and thighs but loose at the ankles. The degree of flare is dependent upon the manufacturer. Proponents of this style like the non-confining feel and the slimming effect, as the flared areas help draw attention away from the hips.
A style particularly popular in warmer climates or season is the capris. These usually fall mid-calf, leaving the lower calves and ankles bare. Capris or crop pants may be flare, straight-leg or of the legging variety and many have colored piping added for a stylish accent.
Leggings, whether full-length or capris are form-fitting from top to bottom. The material of these pants generally contains a higher percentage of spandex or other stretchy fabrics to help them maintain their shape. Many styles of yoga leggings are difficult to distinguish from other types of leggings and, like yoga pants, can easily transition from the yoga class to an afternoon of shopping or running errands.
Pant sizes range from petite to plus size. The latter, however, are sometimes more difficult to find outside specialty shops.
Although in western culture, yoga is currently more popular for women than men, this fact is changing as men realize how beneficial yoga can be for overall health.
Through history, men have practiced yoga, but in the United States and similar western countries, it attracted more women who sought the graceful muscle toning and flexibility benefits yoga offers. As more men add yoga to their fitness routines, the demand for men's yoga apparel has gradually risen. Many men make do with track pants or sweats, but others are learning that manufacturers have created yoga apparel designed for the male form.
Most styles of yoga pants for men are loose-fitting, allowing for modesty. The style is similar to the loose yet stretchy styles of many martial arts uniforms. The man who is exceptionally comfortable with his body can also find form-fitting yoga pants in men's sizes, if he chooses.
Most pants styled for men are full-length. However, crop pants and shorts are also available.
Yoga pants popularity will undoubtedly remain strong in the coming years, at least among the young and exercise enthusiasts of all ages. As new materials are developed, the materials should become even better at wicking sweat away from the skin and providing all-day comfort for the wearer. For many, these pants are now a wardrobe staple, and this trend is likely to continue for as long as yoga remains popular.