How I learned to stop worrying and love my yoga pants.
It might be tricky to see what avocados, yoga and guys with really white teeth have in common, but the fact remains that, even in this enlightened age, they are all things that many men remain rather distrustful of. We all know avocado is tasty and healthy, but how the hell do we peel the damn things without losing several digits? Similarly, we are well aware of the benefits of a healthy smile, but we still believe that one sweep of whitening toothpaste will leave us beaming like Rylan. And when it comes to the ancient art of yoga, we are well versed in the nourishment that it gives to mind, body and soul, but are still reluctant to put one bare foot in front of another.
Interestingly, a recent Reddit thread has thrown some light on what exactly it is that might be keeping more men from the yoga mat. In the thread, guys took to the site to reveal what they would do if they didn’t feel restricted by social norms and the fact that something was deemed ‘too feminine’ and their top response was: “I’d wear yoga pants”. So, is it the gear that’s stopping guys getting their asana on? After all, it’s not often that men are faced with “what to wear” dilemmas these days.
We’ve got the first date look down now, treading that fine line between looking like we’ve made an effort, without actually making an effort.
Big job interview? No problem, we have the tailoring to match.
Hell, even the words ‘smart casual’ no longer send us into a tailspin.
But asked what to wear to a yoga class and there will be nothing but head scratching. Harem pants?
After all, when it comes to active wear, men usually have two ‘go-to’ looks: There’s the trackies and football shirt combo that we reserve for everything from a game of 5-a-side after work, to pick up games of extreme Frisbee; and then there’s the holy training trinity of t-shirt, shorts and trainers stuffed inside every gym bag.
However, this kind of kit is designed for moves that put your limbs at acute angles to one another and not the kind that see you morph into a human pretzel. That’s why the traditional action man outfits aren’t going to cut it in the yoga studio where you need a particular kind of gear that combines both form and functionality to eliminate the possibility of any wardrobe malfunctions while trying to turn yourself inside out. Don’t forget, during yoga you’re going to get reacquainted with parts of your body that you probably haven’t seen for years.
Try a simple downward dog or plow pose and you’re going to find that anything loose fitting is going to go with gravity, so let’s not even begin to imagine what would happen if you did it in a pair of baggy footy shorts. That’s why women’s yoga gear tends to be form fitting, like a second skin, so that it can contend with the most challenging of Vinyasa flows and its wearer can concentrate on being in the moment and forget about their gear having a life of its own.
But if the only thing stopping you getting into yoga is the fear that you’ll have to don your partner’s trendy leggings and mala beads then fear not – there is another way: The way of the Warrior Addict. This sustainable clothing brand is now producing the kind of gear that’s exciting plenty of yoga and meditation teachers, with its mix of performance and style.
One of those teachers is yogi Ben Harrison, who agreed to become a “Brand Warrior” for the company after putting the gear through its paces with his teaching style that he describes as, “high-energy and dynamic”. And it’s the anti-gravity element to the clothing that he particularly liked, with comfortable fabric blends that are technical and contend with the most extreme backbend, specifically designed for yoga inversions and to keep everything in place when you’re upside down.
“It’s the performance detailing like the non restrictive crotch which allows for execution of the asanas, or the under arm of the tee which stretches when the arms go overhead rather than pulling the hem up over your naval,” says Ben, who before becoming a yoga teacher, combined Olympic wrestling, Brazilian Ju Jitsu and kickboxing to compete in the mixed martial arts cage. “That attention to detail can really boost confidence if you’re a guy coming at yoga for the first time.” And let’s not forget how inextricably linked the clothes you wear are to confidence and successful outcomes.
Even science agrees that you need threads that are fit for purpose. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology came up with the theory of “enclothed cognition”, how wearing the right clothing can majorly influence how you think about yourself and your ability to perform a particular task.
You wouldn’t turn up to footy without studs and shin pads or to your regular cross fit session without some sweat wicking gear, would you? Why should it be any different when turning up for your yoga class? So, if you’re a guy who has recently begun yoga or is thinking about starting, don’t underestimate the influence that the clothes on your back will have on how much you will enjoy it and get out of it.
It’s time to confront the last ‘what to wear’ dilemma for modern men and never let the wrong trousers be a reason for giving up on (or not even beginning) a practice that has so much to give.
The Warrior Addict store is now open for business and at www.warrioraddict.com you’ll find a curated collection of yogear for every one from for yogis, broguys and bogeys (guys new to yoga – they’re green, get it?) and there’s not a mala bead in sight.
This fantastic article was scribed for us by the brilliant Jon Axworthy