Yoga keeps you limber, flexible, and fit, and you don’t need that much space or equipment to do it. But what should you wear? Even if you are doing yoga at home and you don't particularly care about what's fashionable, you'll want good yoga pants. While there are many expensive and trendy brands, the best yoga pants for you don't necessarily come with a high price tag.
The best yoga pants are those that will breathe, absorb sweat, and fit comfortable in a wide range of stretches and poses. We asked professional yoga instructors which brands they recommend you downward dog in. As you'll see, some pros are fans of yoga pants that cost under $20 per pair.
Best Yoga Pants Overall: Updated September 2020
Lululemon Align 7/8 Yoga Pants: From $121
Liz Jeneault is a yoga instructor and online influencer based in Philadelphia, and she likes pants that allow her to focus on her moves and nothing else. "The Lululemon Align were specifically designed for yoga, maximizing comfort so that you can seamlessly flow through your moves without any distractions," she says. "The buttery-soft Nulu fabric offers four-way stretch and makes you feel as if you're barely wearing anything! It's lightweight and sweat-wicking." As always, it's the little details that make the package sing. "The Align leggings also feature a small waistband pocket, which is perfect for keeping your keys in!"
prAna Men's Super Mojo Pant II: From $76
In general, Joseph Garcia, a Duluth, Georgia-based yoga instructor and editor of the online health publication The Hempire, says he favors "any pants which are not restricting, easy to move in, do not chafe, bunch up." To get more specific, he says that "if you’re into slow-paced styles of yoga, then airy and flowy pajama-like pants might be the best. Cotton, modal or bamboo is a great fabric for this kind of pants as the material is soft and pleasant to touch."
He praises the prAna brand "for their dedication to creating 100% sustainable yoga clothing made from reputable fair-trade companies—typical materials used are organic cotton, recycled wool, hemp, recycled polyester, and other organic materials," he says, noting that the company "doesn’t skimp on true comfort and style."
It's not always easy to find time to exercise, especially if you have a busy job and still want to have a life outside of the office. Hannah Franco, a San Francisco, California-based instructor, understands how busy we all are these days. “Like many modern-day women, my schedule can get pretty hectic, so I believe in one wardrobe doing it all. I go from teaching yoga to a long day at the office and then to any after work extracurriculars—that is a lot to dress for," she says. "My go-to wear-everywhere yoga pant, which I call the OG of leggings, is the Orion Legging II from époque évolution. Quick to dry, wicking, wrinkle-resistant, and cut from sustainable, durable, butter-soft fabric that shapes and lifts, the Orion II is as much about polish (sleek fit, front ankle slits) as it is performance (quick to dry, hidden pockets). The legging is sunburn free and opaque so see-through will never be an issue for me or you!”
Yoga is a great way to get in shape. And if you aren't quite in the shape you'd like to be when you start, then Frances Hunt, an instructor and managing editor for NY Yoga + Life Magazine, has a suggestion for you. "The high rise is wonderful for those of us who want to hide some belly," she says. "Athleta is my go-to brand when I want an affordable splurge and great quality long-lasting legging. I have had a few pairs several years and they haven’t lost their stretch or brightness. They also stay up during my yoga classes and don’t move around, which is my requirement."
There's been an ongoing discussion for how the yoga world can make all body types feel welcome, and Hunt praises Fabletics for its commitment to body diversity and acceptance. "As a yoga teacher I love the size offerings and styles they offer for larger women," she says. "It’s wonderful to see a brand that recognizes everyone wants to look and feel beautiful when in their yoga class. In sizing and variety alone they get my vote."
Best Yoga Pants and Leggings for the Money
You can spend quite a bit of money on high-end athleisure wear. But you don't have to. Tracy Hayes is a Chicago-based instructor and founder of Amplified Movement, which trains professional athletes in yoga. She likes the CRZ Yoga leggings because they are $24. "I repeat twenty-four dollars! You can get four pairs for the price of one Lululemon pair, and they are really, really comparable to Lululemon. They fit true to size, they are incredibly soft, very comfortable and you'll be shocked at how much you like them," she says. "I tend to wear these out and about more than my more expensive yoga pants because they're more affordable and I don't have to worry about ruining a $100 pair of pants. They are great for all types of yoga classes, they stay put, your legs and belly are held in with the higher waist and overall I highly recommend giving these a shot."
Yoga shorts are a nice alternative to yoga pants, and if the weather is nice you can let your body to breathe a bit more. "Yoga is all about freedom of movement, and these men’s baggy yoga pants from Hoerev will give you all the movement you could imagine," Garcia says. "The material is so soft you’ll want to wear them everywhere and they are a great value."
TSLA Yoga Pants Leggings: From $9.98
If you are on a budget, but you still want to look stylish, Daily Burn's Director of Fitness and New York-based yoga instructor Amanda Murdock recommends TSLA. "Inexpensive, comes in 45 colors, and two lengths," she says. "These leggings are high waisted, high quality, and have side pockets to hold your phone or a key."
90 Degrees by Reflex Power Flex High Waist Leggings: From $27.99
Depending on the moves you are doing, yoga can really make you sweat. Especially if you do some hot yoga. But you might not want to flaunt that sweat, so Caroline Baumgartner, a Chicago-based yoga instructor and member of Yoga Alliance recommends the Power Flex High Waist Leggings. "This particular style has a silky finish that easily absorbs my sweat and doesn't show sweat," she says. "I also love that they aren't see-through and the biggest bonus is the rise and length are just right for someone who is tall at 5'10"."
Baumgartner adds that "the other reason I love these pants are you can buy them online or it's really easy to find them at retailers like TJMaxx and Marshall's which means you can get them for a fraction of the cost if the latest or trendiest style isn't important to you," she says. "As a yoga instructor, I wear a lot of yoga pants so low cost and durability are the two most important things to me."
Polyester pants? Not in Salila Sukumaran's class. Sukumaran is a Kundalini yoga teacher and Ayurveda wellness travel advisor based in Mountain View, California, and she "is on a mission to eliminate polyester from yoga classes, it is against the values of Yoga. Yoga stands for ahimsa and satya, non-violence and truth. These pants are anything but," she says. "Plastic polyester chokes marine life and blocks the flow of prana in the base chakra, the mooladhara, the most vital chakra for a woman. Many women spend several hours in tight polyester+spandex yoga pants and this creates odor and sweating in parts of the body that must breathe free. Some Ayurveda experts connect this to frequent infections in the feminine parts."
Instead, Sukumaran recommends "breathable natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk. I buy basic cotton tights from Nordstorm," she says. "My body feels freer and breathes easier in cotton tights from BP which have the right amount of spandex to be stretchy but not overly clingy."