The other day, I showed up to yoga without any pants. Well, I was wearing pants at the time — Dickies to be exact — but I forgot to bring my yoga pants so I had nothing to change into. With only five minutes ’til class, I decided to purchase some yoga shorts from the retail shop at the studio. Much to my chagrin, the entire selection of clothing was for women.
Since doing a vinyasa flow yoga class in a pair of Dickies sounds about as fun as washing my face with a burlap sack, I decided to purchase a pair of women’s yoga shorts and make do. They turned out to be great, and I’ve actually incorporated them into my regular rotation of yoga outfits. The cut is straight-leg, so they’re not obviously women’s pants. They’re not too tight or too loose, and the fabric breathes well, even during a hot and sweaty class. Exactly what you want in yoga clothing.
This got me thinking, once again, about the lack of good yoga clothing for men. I used to wear Lululemon pants, back in the day when they had just a handful of stores and hadn’t yet turned into a gigantic multinational corporation. Back then, Lululemon actually used to make real yoga pants for men, not the overpriced, baggy sweat pants they sell now for guys who want to work out at the gym. (UPDATE: I heard from a good source that Lulu is rolling out a new men’s line this fall, with a lot more options for tops and bottoms. Whether this means some viable yoga pants, or just more sports wear for male athletes, remains to be seen.)
Without a good source for men’s yoga pants, I’ve had to resort to a lot of weird alternatives. For shirts, I tend to just cut off the sleeves of old t-shirts, or I wear undershirts or basketball jerseys. With pants, it’s more complicated. My favorite yoga pants have been linen pants — they’re lightweight and breathe well, even under the most extreme conditions. I’ve also purchased quite a few pairs of women’s yoga pants. No, I’m not usually a cross-dresser, but I can’t seem to find men’s yoga clothing that’s designed for someone who actually practices yoga.
Here are the main flaws in about 99% of men’s yoga clothing (pants in particular):
- Too saggy: A lower inseam is the standard for men’s pants, but this is generally not very good for yoga. You can’t do even basic lunging poses like Warrior I or Extended Side Angle without constantly jacking up your pants. Lifting up the crotch of your pants over and over is no way to go through a yoga class.
- Too heavy: Most men’s yoga pants are way too heavy and thick, often complete with front and back pockets so deep that you could put several wallets in there. Why!? Who needs so many pockets when they’re doing yoga?
- Too baggy: I don’t need skin-tight pants for yoga, nor do I want them. And I’m guessing most guys are with me on this. But I also don’t want pants that are too baggy, because all that extra fabric adds weight, and I’m constantly snagging my foot on the extra fabric when I’m trying to get into poses like Lotus.
So, until Lululemon or another yoga clothing company starts making some legit yoga pants for men, you’ll find me sheepishly poking around the women’s section. The most embarrassing part of this is the response I get when I ask for a dressing room: “Um, sir, do you realize those are women’s pants…?” Fun times!