Yoga Pants/Leggings – Tips on Buying for Beginners

Read this to find out why Warehouse NZ and Primark UK leggings do the job, and what advantages expensive brands have.

Over the years I have learnt how to pick a pair of leggings from the high street that will do the job very well, why you should never wear coulette style trousers, and that the occasional treat of expensive leggings is well worth it for both your pleasure and comfort.

When you come to your first yoga class, it is unlikely that you will want to buy £50 yoga leggings!  In fact, I have been teaching yoga for more than 5 years now, and have only owned one pair of high-end yoga pants – they were given to me as a gift!  Even in my 4 years as a personal trainer, I hardly ever purchased expensive workout gear, so maybe it says more about me being a no-frills kinda woman than anything else!  I have had the chance to wear some beautifully crafted yoga leggings thanks to my friend owning a yoga clothes boutique.

My fave ever ‘expensive’ pants that I got to wear were these lightening ones by OmShanti that were priced around £60.  That doesn’t sound so bad in UK money, but I was living in New Zealand so that was $120 – to a British mind still working in £’s, that’s a lot!  This was also my fist successful partner yoga pose with beloved friend Bhavani (yes, another Bhavani!). Here’s me on my one and only yoga modelling day:

Partner yoga w bhavani

Modeling Yoga Top













I learnt that the pro’s of some expensive pants are:

  1. They stay on your butt when you bend over
  2. They have very robust seams, that won’t crack open in the groins and butt!
  3. They don’t have any silly pockets or zips that hurt when you lay or sit on them
  4. They are made to fit ‘firmly’ which is like getting a whole lower body hug.
  5. When you are in the mood to be dazzling, their artistic prints are eye-catching and inspiring
  6. They are made of materials that feel luxurious and make you feel like a princess
  7. Those same materials usually soak up any sweat, rather than bake you more!
  8. Buying yourself a pair can be the ultimate in “I deserve a treat!” and may even inspire you to get on the mat!

On the other hand, here is me in my mid-range, $30 (that’s about £15) sports leggings from a budget fashion shop in New Zealand called Cotton On:  These leggings are extremely robust in the seams (I can put on weight and they still don’t split!) and stay up in every pose.  They don’t feel quite as fancy on the skin, or look as chic, but they do an amazing job:

downdog at airportHere is what to look out for when buying high street yoga leggings:

  1. Before you even try them on, pull the seam in opposing directions.  Can you see gaps between stitching appear?  If yes, put them down!
  2. Feel the material…we have all brought those horrid woollen scratchy jumpers, or ‘insulating’ jackets that make you feel as you’re wrapped in cling film – would you like the feel of this fabric on your skin – you’re looking for a YES or a Neutral reaction!
  3. Stretch the material around the butt out a bit and feel the thickness of the fabric – you don’t want ultra thin materials in Winter, or ultra-thick-bake-me in Summer.  Watch out for see-through pants – these are the ones that behave like 40 denier tights once you get them on – yes I can see your sheer butt! n I have some like these – with all female classes its not drama.
  4. Try them on.  Bend forwards and backwards and side to side.  Are there any undesirable big gaps around your waist?  Does your butt crack stay inside when you bend over?
  5. Where is the crotch?  If the leggings are not pulled up properly, or they are too short for you, the crotch will be halfway down your thighs.  This restricts movement in lunges.  Get a pair that fit you.
  6. Are they half comfy?  I know many teachers that like their yoga pants super tight, and women that enjoy being ‘held in’ by the fabric.  Personally, I detest really tight clothes (this includes bras and socks too!).  It’s a matter of personal choice here.
  7. If they feel a little tight but you like everything else about them, then buy a size up to help stop seams breaking.

Finally, here’s a photo of me in my £5 Primark leggings.

These were £10 for 3 pairs on offer!  I got blue, green and black.  They feel soft, haven’t split, and wash well.  You are very likely to see me in these!  Me fungi tree hugging green yoga leggings pants

Two final hints:

Peacocks leggings really didn’t work for me – poor stitching and I bust those bad girls apart in the crotch and inner calf within days!

Leave the coulette style trousers for city and beach days – you will trip yourself up, I guarantee!

What works for you?  Page down to leave a comment to help us all:

About Claire Bhavani

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