Ok I admit this title is a little misleading. I wrote it earnestly for this piece, but ended up hearing insults thrown at women who wear yoga pants in public. Maybe this is partly a response to that, but not really. One reason is that there are more issues at play there than I will get into here and another is that I am writing this not just for women, but men too.
I’m not interested talking about fashion and this isn’t about small or big thighs or whether or not your underwear or cellulite is showing. Be you a lady or a gent this is an argument for wearing “yoga pants”- or gym shorts, sweat pants or any other loosely fitting or stretchy clothing that allows your body to move freely.
There’s the simple point- wear clothes that you can move freely in. Then move freely.
Put these two images in your mind. One of a person wearing any kind of stretchy pants and a loose but well fitting t shirt. The next of the same person in a neatly tailored suit.
If you or I were to see these images we might think that the first image was of the person on the weekend, lounging and lazy or perhaps prepared for recreation or exercise. We might not expect that person to be prepared to make creative decisions or problem solve.
We might assume that the second image was of that person in professional life. We might assume that person held a position of some kind of importance, which may or may not be true, but that is what the outfit, at least in part, exudes. This type professional attire asks for respect and promises results. This person is a problem solver and get’s the job done. And while there is nothing ‘wrong’ with this, chiseled clothing may not only be uncomfortable but it also allows our bodies take the guise of a predetermined shape. With rigid fabric it is also a shape that also has a predetermined range of motion and potentially inspires a predetermined range of thoughts. It may seem like a long shot to connect a lack of creativity with clothing constraints, but how many of us have felt stuck in a problem, then unstuck after moving around a bit? Even the words stuck and unstuck imply motion. What happens when motion is unnecessarily hindered?
Watching the State of the Union address last week, I wondered what it would be like if government showed up for work in flip flops and track pants. Are neckties cutting off blood and oxygen to the brain? Jokes aside- of course problems need a lot more than comfy pants to come to a solution- the ability to move your body to it’s fullest extent may refresh and inspire the mind to move to its fullest extent also. Here is a snippet of research for what it’s worth- http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/261667.php
If you practice yoga asanas you know that in the practice we explore our bodies and how they move. In the process we learn about ourselves- we learn about the capacity of our body and step by step, with awareness and breath, we move into new territories and create shapes that before may not have been possible.
We also move through koshas, or layers of our beings, from the physical body to energetic body, then to emotions, thoughts, wisdom and finally spirit. One by one, practice by practice, we dive into the layers of who we are. This process takes time and is accompanied with many boundaries and borders- some useful, some not. How and when are the boundaries of our clothing useful and when not?
Now, I am sure that for some a suit can fuel inspiration in the work day and yoga clothes might make some feel lazy, wear what you like- I’m not proposing a mass cultural change- just asking ‘what if.’ While I’m at it, I am in no way suggesting that those who do not have much, or any, motion do not explore their minds. We all work within the range of our own capacities and grow relative to ourselves and in our own way.
And finally-back to the more feminine view of clothes that take the shape of our bodies rather than expecting the reverse. That is worth exploring in a future article.