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It was one of those days. I don’t remember what was going on, but I needed a bend and a stretch and a few deep breaths. Immediately. I didn’t have time to change into yoga pants, so I went to my mat in the clothes I had on–a T-shirt and some flowy pants.
Soft knit with wide legs, pockets, and a forgiving waist, the pants had belonged to a friend who bought them at a street festival in Madrid. I had admired them so much and so often that one day when I was visiting, she snuck them into my bag without my knowing. They soon became my go-to work-from-home pants–soft as pajamas but respectable enough to appear in public.
I didn’t think of them as yoga pants. The legs were so wide, I was sure I’d get tangled in them and fall on my face. But that day I practiced Salutations and Warriors and lunges without a hitch. In fact, these loose pants seemed to free me to flow in a way that I hadn’t expected. They moved when I moved. In these fluid pants, I felt unbound and unconfined–and my practice felt freer, too.
These days so-called yoga pants have become a uniform for people who do yoga. (And many who don’t.) But I realized that I had started thinking that I couldn’t practice yoga–even at home–unless I was wearing a pair. I’d bought into a false narrative. The truth is, you can practice yoga in anything that makes you feel good. (My colleague Renee is partial to a pair of cut-off cargos.) My loose-y, juicy Spanish pants freed my mind as well as my body.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my leggings. There are times when I want the feeling of being firmly held and they are just the thing when I’m in the mood for a strong, athletic practice. And when I teach, leggings allow me to easily demonstrate the alignment and positioning of my legs.
But when I want to get on my mat and let my breath lead my asana practice, it’s the loose pants I choose. I cue up a moody playlist and go with the flow. My pants give my body room to be as it is. Unconfined. Free to simply be.
8 wide-legged yoga pants to try
I know I’ll never be able to replace my pants that traveled from Spain and were given with so much love, but I when it’s time to add to my yoga-practice wardrobe, these are some options I’d consider.
These soft pants have a high waist and an easy–not flowy–fit. Bonus point: The company is committed to sustainability and ethical manufacturing.
You can feel good in these and feel good about them: they’re made from recycled and organic cotton, and come in inclusive sizes up to 6XL
Long, loose-fitting lounge pants in three heathery colors have a drawstring at the waist that will keep them in place during your practice. Plus there’s a hoodie to match.
The tulip hemline and a waist that can be worn two ways give these an aesthetic that says “yogini.”
With pockets, the super-wide legs, and a fold-over waistband, this pair reminds me most of my Madrid pants. Maybe it’s their European roots: They’re made of TENCEL Modal, a fiber produced from European beechwood trees that grow in sustainable forests.
The hem of these is almost as wide as a skirt and the tie-dye border makes these the most interesting-looking option of the bunch. You can feel good about the fact that ten percent of Sivana’s profit goes toward women in need.
You can rely on ON to have the yogawear staples you need. These wide-leg pants have an easy fit in sizes up to 4X, with regular, tall, and petite lengths.
These pants definitely know how to flow. They’re wide from waist to hem which makes them roomy to practice in, but sophisticated enough to wear out on the town.
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