Yoga Pants Ignite Controversy

Published on October 19, 2011

Yoga Pants: By turns celebrated and maligned, this sartorial novelty is not without its share of press—and controversy! Fashion aficionados mourn the trend as excessively laid back and sloppy, while devotees cite comfort and convenience as support for wearing them outside of yoga class. Most recently, an Ohio’s Loveland High School added to the fray, claiming yoga pants are “too revealing” to be worn by students.

Seventeen teens—including many honor students—spent the day serving in-school suspension for wearing yoga pants Thursday, while “dozens of other students said they were sent home or forced to change their clothes.”

Senior Olivia Legg shares, “I feel like if I wore jeans and a cute shirt, I’d be more distracting than what I’m wearing now.” Many students interviewed indicated they did not wear the pants for attention, but for comfort, pointing out that jeans, skirts, and dresses could be as equally “distracting” but do not warrant prohibition.

The school dress code does not explicitly prohibit yoga pants or leggings, but does forbid “revealing [or distracting] clothing.”

Echoing the belief that yoga pants are inappropriate, a recent MSN Travel compilation of “worst dressed cities” lists Vancouver, BC as number 3, an honor credited to Vancouver being LuluLemon’s birthplace. The ubiquity of yoga pants leads author Vivian Song to sniff: “Really, what gives with the whole wearing of bum-hugging workout gear to every other place except the gym?”  “Worst-dressed” claims aside, the prospect of their impropriety merits discussion. School district dress codes do in some cases prohibit spandex, of which most yoga pants (LuluLemon’s “luon” notwithstanding) are arguably comprised.

Traditionally, Ashrams—even some in America—forbade revealing attire (today’s yoga pants would almost certainly qualify).  Some American Ashrams continue to request devotees shun such attire, and in India, where Shiva Rea was recently subjected to scathing criticism for, among other things, revealing attire during a yoga performance, this is the norm rather than the exception.

While modest attire may thus seem needlessly square to the modern yoga practitioner (and high school student), traditionally it is viewed to foster cultivation of an internal focus and relationship with the higher self (Atman), as opposed to the desire and attachment driven ego.

How does what you wear and what you see other yoga practitioners wear effect your yoga practice?

Share with


Our Latest

Yoga Articles
  • Yoga Nidra

    Yoga Nidra: Meaning, Benefits, Videos and Tips

  • Living Like a Yogi

    17 Rules for Living Like a Yogi

  • heart opening yoga poses

    The Best 16 Heart Opening Yoga Poses

  • Negative Energy in a Person

    18 Clear Signs of Negative Energy in a Person

  • Three Doshas

    The Three Ayurvedic Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

  • Hanuman Chalisa

    Hanuman Chalisa: Meaning, Lyrics, Videos and Translation

  • High Vibration People

    High Vibration People: Definition, Signs, and How To Become One

  • Best Ayurvedic Fruits

    The Best Ayurvedic Fruits for Balancing Your Dosha

Remove Ads with a

Premium Membership

Viewing ads supports YogaBasics, which allows us to continue bringing you quality yoga content. Sign up for a premium membership to remove all ads and enjoy uninterrupted access to the best yoga resources on the web.

Explore More

Yoga TipsAdviceArticlesPracticesBasicsTechniques

  • drinking water in yoga

    Water and Yoga: When Is the Best Time to Drink?

  • Five Vayus

    The Five Vayus

  • Non-Judgement Yoga

    How to Practice Non-Judgment in Yoga and Meditation

  • Yoga for Your Body Shape

    Find the Best Yoga for Your Body Shape

  • yoga balance tips

    The Best Tips to Boost Your Balance in Yoga

  • Intense cardio yoga session

    Need More Intensity? 7 Ways to Amp Up Your Yoga

  • writing a yoga journal

    How to Start a Yoga Journal

  • gentle yoga class

    Gentle Yoga: Definition, Benefits and Styles

  • Yoga Intentions, Goals, Resolutions & Affirmations

    Choosing Intentions, Resolutions & Affirmations for Positive Change

One response to “Yoga Pants Ignite Controversy”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    I like yoga leggings because they don’t catch or get in my way, and I like the slight compression they provide. I practice yoga in my living room with videos so it’s not terribly ego driven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tosca Park Avatar
About the author
Tosca Park, a 200-hour Kripalu Yoga instructor and 500-hour Integrative Yoga Therapist, is a doctoral student in Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Connecticut, where she conducts research on yoga, mindfulness, and health with her mentor, Dr. Crystal Park, and collaborators. Prior to UConn Tosca spent five years as a research intern and project manager with Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living, an organization devoted to the scientific study of yoga-based curricula. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Reed College and SUNY Empire State College in history and health psychology, respectively, and has more than 2,000 hours of training in yoga, Ayurveda, and the mind-body connection.
Yoga Basics