Ever wondered if there’s a difference between leggings and yoga pants? Well, we did the research because – YES – there is actually a difference here.
It’s interesting though – was it the chicken or the egg that came first? It’s easy to get confused here.
Difference between Leggings and Yoga Pants
Here’s our clear and concise answer:
The difference between leggings and yoga pants is quite simple. Yoga pants are a generalized term used for yoga and sports athletic wear. This compromises of thick and thin materials, while leggings are simply a style of yoga pants and might otherwise be called yoga tights based on how thin they are.
Essentially, yoga pants is a broad term while leggings is a specific term for skin-tight materials used during yoga and pilates classes. Men typically wear yoga pants while it’s the ladies that use leggings, though they may just call them yoga pants.
The biggest challenge for the modern-day yogi is the cultural judgements from yoga and influence from those in the industry. Yoga leggings are considered tight and expose the curvy nature of the body. For this reason, it’s considered in some parts of the world as a bad idea to wear these in public and indeed in some settings.
For example, it’s not a good idea to wear yoga leggings in a restaurant, airline lounge, workplace setting or when cycling. Yoga pants, however, can be used in some of these situations are they are more formal and less revealing.
You will find some yoga pants which are sold as ‘lounge pants’ which are quite flexible and don’t interfere with your practice. Men typically choose this as such materials and style in the design makes them feel more comfortable and masculine.
The thin nature of leggings also make them prone to tear. Wearing these tight lycra leggings on public transport could spell disaster if you happen to get a tear in the wrong spot! Also, they aren’t the best for active sports such as running since wear and tear resistance is minimal.
Some manufacturers such as Nike do in fact sell thicker leggings for runners in colder climates. These aren’t really made from flexible materials and typically don’t suit stretching in yoga classes.
Yoga pants are made thick. You’ll find them to last for several years and are less likely to ‘outdate’ with their designs. Such designs are also quite neutral where as yoga leggings have creative and funky designs. Have you ever spotted someone in a yoga studio and admired their yoga leggings or yoga mat? This is a real craze happening right now.
You’ll also find more padding in yoga pants. If you are practising headstands, then we would recommend pants in case you come crashing down. Also, in the case of public yoga studios, it’s less likely that you’ll get that feeling that someone is watching.
Sexualization of yoga
Unfortunately, leggings have caused the sexualisation of yoga. You’ve no doubt seen someone wearing yoga leggings (or perhaps you called them yoga pants) that were too tight. You can literally see ‘everything’ whether it’s a man or woman.
This clinging to the bottom then raises the question of intention for the yogi. Are they there to really practice yoga or is there another subliminal intention? What about the other attendees?
At the core, yoga at its origins is a religion. There is no other ‘religion’ that uses sex to sell its products. There is a deep history and culture attached to yoga which many yogis unfortunately don’t understand.
And look – this isn’t just yoga. We can see the craze with skin-tight workout gear for gym junkies too! But in the world of yoga where authenticity, truth, judgement, insecurity and happiness are all at play…perhaps we must ask if leggings are really required.
We absolutely love jungle pants for those who practice in colder climates, which are otherwise known as harem pants. These made a great alternative ot yoga pants or tights/leggings. Wearings often report more skin protection while allowing you to practice complex asanas with confidence.
The only challenge is that they generally don’t look *that* attractive, but if you’re just there for your yoga practice (and you should be…) then there is no question. These jungle pants do fall under the yoga pants category.
You might also want to consider full yoga tights or leggings that have shorts at the top. This gives you the best of both worlds, though doesn’t necessarily protect you in the event of a crash.
It’s easy to mistake one of the other. Yoga pants are simply the top category to describe all athletic clothing used in yoga studios, while leggings are simply tight material which feels like you aren’t wearing anything at all.
When shopping, consider the type of classes you’ll be attending and NOT the type of studio or students you’ll be surrounding with. Yoga can be a selfish pursuit (we’re saying that nicely) where you do attend for the sole purpose of leaving behind the outer world and going inwards.