Girls in yoga pants part deux

My wordpress site stats say that most people stumble upon this blog when searching for “girls in yoga pants”–I wrote about this website (girls in yoga pants) a few weeks ago. I figure that this search is less about the yoga and more about girls in tight pants. Therefore, it may be silly for me to write about a subject to attract more traffic from people who could care less about the yoga, but, on the other hand, why not?

Besides, I do have something else to say about girls in yoga pants, which is: the combo is magic. I don’t know how or why, but I have experienced it firsthand.

Some background: I’ve let myself go. Hair always up in a clip, no makeup, glasses, clothing so unfashionable I’d look like a hobo in northern Canada, let alone on the streets of New York City. Every day I wear the same unwashed dog slobber jeans topped by my husband’s ‘dog coat’–missing a few buttons, too big for even him, one hole, covered in dog hair. Not pretty.

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Yoga news Sunday (Vivekananda, lululemon)

(At least) two yoga mentions in the weekend New York Times:


1) How Yoga Won the West tells the brief story of how Swami Vivekananda popularized Hindu and yogic philosophy in America. Vivekananda was India’s delegate to the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. His talks about Hindu philosophy were a smashing success–among his admirers, according to the article, were Leo Tolstoy, Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley, Henry Miller, and JD Salinger. He remains a household name in India but less so here. If not for my parents, who were born and raised in India and have mentioned him on more than one occasion, I’d have never heard of him before.

According to the article, among his most important teachings were: “all souls are potentially divine”, “you are not your body,” and “you are not your mind.”

He taught Vendata, the founding philosophy of Hinduism. Yoga meant just one thing to Vivekananda: “realizing God.” The SoCal Vedanta Society, founded in 1930 by Vivekananda’s followers, describes the connection to Hinduism this way: “Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient religious philosophies and one of its broadest. Based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India, Vedanta affirms the oneness of existence, the divinity of the soul, and the harmony of religions. Vedanta is the philosophical foundation of Hinduism; but while Hinduism includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.”

2) From the What I Wore column, a first person account of a fashionista’s daily outfits over the week. This is from Lola Burstein Rykiel, 25, the granddaughter of fashion designer Sonia Rykiel. Lola grew up in Paris and now lives in NYC.

I religiously go with [my friend] every Sunday to Dechen Thurman’s yoga class at the Jivamukti school. I recently discovered this brand Lululemon. It seems super-popular here. The leggings are so comfortable, and I wore them over a white Repetto unitard. I have so many unitards left over from when I studied at the Martha Graham dance school. I was going to be a professional dancer. Then I realized what I loved most about dance was the outfits.

Questions for class discussion: 1) What does Lola mean when she uses the  word “religiously”? Do you think what she loves most about yoga is the outfits? If so, why? 2) What is the relationship between yoga as taught by Vivekananda and yoga as practiced by Lola?

Girls in yoga pants

True to form, I entirely missed the discussion about a website called Girls in Yoga Pants (GIYP) and am writing about it one year after the topic has been forgotten. If you didn’t guess, the website features snaps of girls in yoga pants, mostly the rear view. My verdict: love. Why? Because, first and foremost, I am a creepy perv. But also because I love that these ladies are clothed. The pics are amateur and self-submitted. The ladies are diverse (black, white, latina, short, tall, skinny, not so skinny). It appears to me to be good ole fashioned appreciation of the female backside. I like the GIYP logo, a silhouette of plow pose, in the lower right corner of every photo (see below).

Mostly, I love that these are called yoga pants, even though hardly anyone does yoga in the pictures; one holds a tennis racket, one walks her dog, many lounge around the house. A few years ago this item of clothing would have been known as leggings, but yoga is so big (like some of these booties) it has re-branded a type of clothing–like Xerox did for the copy machine, Kleenex for tissue paper, and Coke for soda. If this ain’t a sign that yoga has made it in America, I don’t know what is.