"If you want to fly, give up everything that wears you down " Buddha
Comfort is a personal thing, on all fronts. Some people love the beach, some love the mountains. Maybe you’re into the action of a city, or maybe the quiet serenity of a rustic farm. Perhaps your best friend is a cat and not a dog! There’s no ‘one size fits all’ formula in life, especially when it comes to clothing and style and that’s what makes the world such a beautiful, colourful, interesting place. Practicing yoga in the 90’s felt like walking into a studio full of mannequins- everyone decked out in pretty much the same ‘uniform’. Tight tank top and leggings….all sporting the same logo of a popular brand name clothing company, for all to see. Identical branding stamped on tops, bottoms, mats and even water bottles….you’d think the studio was sponsored by this trendy label, although not the case. For those of us not interested in following those trends, in the studio or on the street, if you’re not into mass production, wearing a uniform and this week’s fast fashion flavour…..Siddhiwear was made for you….locally, in small batches, by real people!
"Tight pants, crop tops, neon colours, fitted tanks-that’s the uniform worn by models like Gisele and Instagram yogini’s alike, the kind we tend to assume we need if we want to hit the mat. But that modern vision is, unsurprisingly, far removed the Indian tradition yoga is rooted in. Back in India, yoga didn’t traditionally involve legging-like ‘yoga pants’…."(mic.com)
When it comes to a yoga practice, what you wear is pretty much inconsequential as long as you’re comfortable and can move freely. Yoga pants that are too tight around the waist can cause irritation and even stomach discomfort. Pants that ride up the front or back are a bad idea too. Clothes that allow movement without bulky material getting in the way or bunch up in a pose, are the way to go. And the type of fabric is key too. Not only will synthetic material have you sitting in your own ‘sweat soup’- (gross!) - apparel made with polyester or acrylic can have your skin tender and itchy, not to mention, the stink that comes from that kind of work out wear. The closer to nature the better!
"Loose, unstitched clothing is best. When I did hatha yoga as a young boy, the only thing we were allowed to wear was a small loincloth. The idea was that there should be as little obstruction as possible. Traditionally in India, people did not wear stitched clothing. Both the dhotis for men and saris for women are just pieces of unstitched cloth. When clothing is stitched, the movement of energy gets restricted to some extent- you want to minimise that when doing sadhana. This does not mean that you need to start wearing a loin cloth, but yoga practitioners should not wear synthetic clothing such as the kind that athletes wear." (isha.sadhguru.org).
As people who love yoga, fashion and sustainability, it made sense to design our own version of a yoga pant with it’s own ancient history, the love it or hate it, ‘harem pant’. Technically, the Siddhiwear Harem pant, isn’t really a harem pant after all, but more of a drop crotch stretchy pant, somewhere between a pair of leggings and your coziest joggers. With a wide comfortable waistband that can be worn high on the belly or lower on the hips and a taped ankle so your pants stay put in shoulder stand. So- can you workout in harem pants? Absolutely! But not if the drop is too low or too baggy as in some of the traditional extra wide, extra long harem pants out there. We think our version is just right!!
And as trendy as it’s become, Yoga is a fascinating and sacred science that makes little mention of the importance of yoga pants! Originating in India so long ago, it was and is, far more than the Instagram/Influencer images we see scrolling through social media these days.
"Yoga is a vast collection of spiritual techniques and practices aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit to achieve a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe. What is normally thought of as “yoga” in the West is really Hatha Yoga, one of the many paths of yoga. The different paths of yoga emphasize different approaches and techniques, but ultimately lead to the same goal of unification and enlightenment." (yogabasics.com)
Like anything that is borrowed from ancient cultures, the Western world tends to commercialize and modify to suit the needs and wants of the masses. Beyond the physical practice (mostly what is practiced in the West), in its purest form, yoga is thought to be over 5000 years old and intended to liberate one from the limitations of the body and mind. We owe so much to the early teachers who brought this amazing gift to North America.
"Yoga Philosophy Comes to America: In 1893, religious teacher Swami Vivekananda, considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India, introduced Americans to the philosophical side of yoga when he addressed the Parliament of Religions at the World's Fair in Chicago. And in 1920, the influential guru Paramahansa Yogananda founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles to disseminate the meditation techniques of Kriya yoga. His bestselling 1946 Autobiography of a Yogi continues to inspire westerners seeking knowledge of yoga philosophy and Eastern spirituality."(everydayyoga.com)
Yoga was traditionally a practice for men, and only once it arrived in the West, were women able to take advantage of these incredible teachings. There are a few female pioneer practitioners worth mentioning most notably Indra Devi.
"Likely the best known female responsible for modern yoga in the West, Indra Devi (born Eugenie Peterson) began practicing with T. Krishnamacharya after developing a heart issue. First, he refused. After all, she was not only a Westerner, but also a woman. But eventually, he agreed to teach her and later even supported her in her desire to begin teaching yoga herself. In 1946, Indra opened a yoga school in Hollywood, CA, which attracted many famous movie actresses. Meanwhile, friends urged her to call her teaching anything but ‘yoga’. Post war Americans would have no sooner signed up for yoga than for fire-eating as it was still a decade before it was introduced on public television in America. But Devi was undeterred. After all, her persistence already broke through a centuries-old glass ceiling by practicing yoga- as a Westerner AND (gasp!)a woman- with Krishnamacharya. Devi authored a book, Yoga for Americans, which truly shows her progressive, warm-hearted and even funny side ". (badyogi.com)
It’s evident how deep and rich the tradition of yoga truly is and obvious that what to wear during yoga practice wasn’t a common conundrum ‘back in the day’. Being yoga practitioners ourselves at Siddhiwear, we didn’t want to wear the uniform of big brand labels saturating every store and studio. So whether you prefer a legging, a true harem pant or moderate drop crotch, our harem pants do it all while offering breathability, flexibility and cool, comfy style too.
You can buy our harem pants online or at one of our sweet retailers. Check out our amazing premium Oeko-tek certified every day essentials at Siddhiwear.com. Sustainable, practical, comfy yoga apparel for a healthy practice…and planet.