Yoga Pants Vs Leggings: Which Is Better?

Yoga is a type of exercise that requires a big range of movement. This is why it is so important to choose the right clothing. Whatever you wear needs to be comfortable and not restrictive.

A lot of people choose to practice yoga in yoga pants, but some people prefer leggings. What is the difference between yoga pants and leggings? And which one is better for practicing yoga?

Keep reading to find out. 

Yoga Pants Vs Leggings Which Is Better

What Should You Wear To Practice Yoga?

Yoga requires dynamic movement, with stretches that put your body into various different positions. It can make you warm and sweaty as your heart rate increases.

There are lots of different clothes that you can wear for yoga, but there are certain things that you need to consider. Whatever yoga clothes you wear, it should have these features. 

  • Flexibility – Yoga clothes cannot be restrictive. You need your full range of movement to stretch deeply and achieve the different poses. Some people prefer to wear stretchy clothes that include lycra or spandex blended into the fabric. Other people prefer to wear cotton clothing that has plenty of room for movement but no elasticity. 
  • Moisture Wicking  – During your yoga practice you are very likely to work up a bit of a sweat. This is why it is a good idea to choose clothing that has moisture wicking technology. This will draw the sweat away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable. Quick drying technology is also useful for this reason. 
  • Fitted – some yoga pants are flared, others are fitted, and some are cuffed at the ankle. Whichever type of trousers you choose, you need to make sure that you are not at risk of tripping over excess material. If your yoga pants are too flowy, then the material could get in your way as you move through your yoga flow into different positions. It could also prevent you from being able to check your yoga form as your practice in order to make amendments. 
  • Cool – Your body temperature will increase as you practice yoga. This means you need to be wearing cool clothing. Avoid fabrics that are thick and heavy and stick to lightweight materials. 

The type of clothing you wear to practice yoga will also depend on the type of yoga you are doing. Hot yoga will require clothing that is cool and can draw sweat away from your body.

Relaxed, restorative yoga can be practiced in loose, flowy clothing. A more intense yoga workout with a faster paced flow will require clothing that is more suitable to movement so tight fitting but stretchy clothes could be a better choice. 

What Are Yoga Pants?

Yoga pants are a type of clothing which are designed to practice yoga in, but they are also used for lounge wear and are even worn for casual fashion. There are various different types of yoga pants that you can choose from. 

Fitted Yoga Pants

Fitted yoga pants cling to your body, but are stretchy and comfortable to allow for full range of movement. They tend to be made out of soft, natural materials like cotton or bamboo, but can also be made out of synthetic fibers like spandex.

These pants tend to be fitted to the knee, flaring out a little from the shin but without too much excessive material. 

Harem Yoga Pants

Harem yoga pants have an elasticated waistband for comfort. They are loose fitting and made out of flowing material. They can be full length or three quarter length.

The bottom of the pants are cuffed with elastic which prevents you from tripping over any excess material as you move through your yoga flow. Some harem pants are made out of stretchy material and others are not.

Either way, the design of the pants means that there is plenty of room for you to perform all of your yoga movements.

There tends to be plenty of material around the gusset which means you won’t rip the seam if you need to position yourself in a wide stance. 

Linen Yoga Pants

Some people choose to practice yoga in linen pants. They are lightweight and flowing with a loose fit style. They tend to have a drawstring waist which is adjustable.

The issue with linen yoga pants is that they can be restrictive so some of the more advanced yoga positions may not be possible. 

What Are Yoga Leggings? 

Yoga leggings are tight fitting pants that are made out of stretchy materials. They can be used interchangeably with other exercise leggings such as running leggings or gym leggings.

They tend to be moisture wicking and quick drying. They can also have thermoregulation technology which is very useful. You can get yoga leggings in two different lengths. 

Full Length Yoga Leggings

Full length yoga leggings go all the way down to your ankles, covering your leg. They tend to have a mid-rise waist which is comfortable.

Some people prefer to wear full length leggings as it prevents them from experiencing friction on their skin. 

Calf Length Yoga Leggings

Some people prefer to practice yoga in calf length yoga leggings. They stop just below the knee, leaving your calves exposed. This is great for keeping you cool in warm weather if you practice outdoor yoga, and is also great for hot yoga. 

Yoga Pants Or Yoga Leggings?

Both yoga pants and yoga leggings are great options for practicing yoga. Yoga pants are very comfortable and are not as tight. You need to make sure that you choose yoga pants that are not restrictive in any way so that you can position yourself correctly in each pose.

You also need to consider how much excess material the pants have – you don’t want to trip over long or flowy trousers.

If the pants are too loose fitting then you might not be able to see the form of your body, making it harder to check that you are positioning yourself correctly into each pose. 

There aren’t really any downsides to wearing exercise leggings to practice yoga. They are flexible and have all of the features you would need from yoga clothing.

Make sure you use gym leggings or yoga leggings rather than fashion leggings. Generic leggings might be too transparent and not durable enough for regular yoga practice, and they are also too warm. 

What Other Clothing Will You Need? 

Once you have chosen whether to wear yoga pants or yoga leggings, you will need to complete your yoga outfit. Most yoga is completed bare foot, so you won’t need shoes (if you’re looking to try yoga sandals though, find our guide right here).

Shoes will often restrict the movement of your feet. You might want to use yoga socks which have grips on the bottom to prevent you from slipping. 

Loose fitting shirts are not ideal, as they will droop in certain poses and get in the way. You can wear a tight fitting, lightweight shirt or gym top that is flexible and will not restrict your movement. You could also choose to wear a sports bra or a cropped top instead. 


Yoga pants and leggings are both suitable for practicing yoga. You need to consider which type of clothing is going to best for you and the type of yoga that you are doing.

Laura Simmons
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