They are the Iyengar yoga practitioners "uniform" but you can easily wear them to practice other yoga styles or simply to go to the beach... Most of Iyengar students (me included) first swear they will never wear them and quickly adopt them once they have tried them on.
Pune pants were created in India by Ramani Iyengar, BKS Iyengar's wife. They were born from the necessity to find a comfortable garment for female yoga practitioners who wore their long bulky saris (traditional Indian outfit) or sometimes borrowed male trousers.
Why Pune shorts are so great?
- Super comfortable
They are especially designed for increased comfort thanks to their loose fit, high waist soft elastic band. Most of them are in organic cotton for a natural feel and kindness to your skin.
- Increased mobility
They do not limit movements and you are not scared of showing your butts. They stay in place, you can tuck your t-shirt inside (especially in sirsasana). They leave the space required for your body to move, rotate, extend and bend freely (unlike the super stretchy leggings and shorts).
- Increased sensitivity and better correction
Teachers can clearly see your legs and this in turn helps with correction. This is also true for the student who can grab the skin with the hands to rotate it, give it direction. Very common in baddha konasana for example where thighs and shins should rotate outwards. In vrksasana, the foot is in direct contact with the inner leg and can stay in place.
- Beautiful yet Modest
Being minimalist, they insure modesty which is a very essential part of yoga. They have evolved a lot since their creation: from being rather ugly to beautiful yoga shorts offering a wide range of colours as well as a better fit than the original ones.
Geeta Iyengar quote on Pune shorts:
“My mother maintained all our traditions and culture, but at the same time she was quite open to new ideas and things. It was she who pushed me into wearing shorts for yoga practice. In fact, the yoga shorts, the bloomers, which are now being worn all over the world, were initially designed by my mother.
Earlier not many women would practise yoga and those who did wore the 9 yard sari. It was cumbersome to practise in that. What to wear for yoga class was a big problem for Indian women! The Western women would wear a two piece suit but Indian women could never see themselves wearing those clothes. Most Indian women wore saris then and to change from that to a two piece suit can be unimaginable. There were no t-shirts available then. We wore blouses and skirts and a sari.
So, the Indian women were always at a loss on what to wear while doing yoga. The blouses would be buttoned in the front and that is what I wore for a long time.
Some women would wear pants or trousers that belonged to their husbands or brothers. Then, the stretch pants came in with more Westerners coming to India in the 1960s. And, the Indian women also wore salwar kameez.
Guruji brought me two full pants from one of his European tours. My mother realised that even these would not give the necessary freedom for the movements that we required. I also did not know what was the appropriate dress for me when I started doing yoga. She insisted that I should wear shorts like my father was wearing. These shorts would be very loose near the thighs so she would insert a string through the hem and knot the string at the inner end of the thighs. Later, elastic was available so the string was replaced by elastic. Thus the yoga shorts or Pune shorts were born … Gradually more and more women started wearing these shorts.”
Further reading: https://iymv.org/pune-pants/
Click here to check out our yoga shorts.