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Yoga pants are pants which are designed specifically for wear during yoga practice, although they are also suitable to other forms of exercise such as aerobics, dance, and martial arts. A wide range of styles are available, but all of them share the common characteristics of being flexible and easy to move in, as well as form fitting. These pants also tend to be more stylish than those designed for other types of exercise, often integrating elements such as embroidery and flattering cuts so that they can be worn outside the yoga studio as well.
Most yoga pants are made from cotton or synthetic knits that are lightweight and stretchy. The knit gives as the yogi or yogini moves, allowing a full range of flexibility while also hugging the body. A form-fitting pair of pants allows the poses being practiced to be clearly seen, ensuring that they are held correctly and that the practitioner is using good posture. Some companies make loose yoga pants from linen, silk, cotton, or synthetic weaves, but these tend not to be as popular.
Various lengths are available for yoga pants ranging from shorts to ankle length. Some styles are designed to stop partway down the thigh, or they take the form of capris or cut offs. The length that a person wears is generally a personal choice. In colder studios or for mellow sessions, long pants are very practical and comfortable. For warmer studios, intensive sessions, or Bikram yoga, shorter pants or shorts are recommended.
Typically, a form-fitting shirt is paired with yoga pants. Many companies make matching sets for style conscious practitioners. A few manufacturers specialize in yoga clothing, offering several lines and styles to meet varying needs. The focus on flattering style as well as comfort means that these pants are often marketed for use as casual wear.
In addition to use as athletic pants, yoga pants sometimes appear in surprising places. Many massage therapists wear them at work, for example, since they allow the therapist to stretch and move while working on a client. Medical and veterinary personnel may also wear the pants under scrubs for insulation that also allows them to move freely. New mothers may adopt looser styles since they are comfortable and stretchy, accommodating rapid changes in the body associated with pregnancy and birth. Wearing yoga pants is also part of a distinct casual style worn by some women, especially in urban areas.