Remember how lululemon is suing Calvin Klein for making a suspiciously similar pair of yoga pants to their patented Astro Pant? That’s still going on–and the Wall Street Journal has the pages upon pages of line drawings and intense legal-speak to prove it. But as I was scrolling through the endless, mind-numbing descriptions of waistbands and ornamental designs, I remembered something: This is all about yoga pants. Yoga. Freaking. Pants. Which is a good reminder that yoga doesn’t really care how your butt looks when you practice it.
I understand why lululemon is doing this. They have intellectual property to protect and, indeed, it looks like they’re in the legal right. They’re also sending a message to other potential infringers that they mean business. But man, the entire lawsuit is the least yogic thing I’ve ever seen.
It’s complicated, it’s inaccessible, and it’s stressful–all things that yoga seeks to thwart. Yoga is supposed to be challenging, but open to all types. Yoga is supposed to be mindful, yet simple. Yoga is not about 38 pages of charging documents, plaintiffs, and descriptions of patents. And yoga is not–I repeat, is not–about yoga pants.
Sure, lululemon’s $98 gusset-boasting stretch trousers are pretty flattering on basically everyone, and they do get the job done (sans camel toe) during class. And yes, a new pair of sweet sweats can definitely make some people feel way better/more confident as they approach a particularly tough Hatha class. And no one is denying that lululemon’s are definitely a status symbol. But when you hit the mat, is status really what you’re there for? Or are you there to clear your mind of unnecessary crap, stretch your ligaments, and challenge yourself to go to new levels of flexibility and meditation?
At the end of the day, what’s really in a pair of yoga pants?
A homeless guy once stopped me when I was walking to class with a yoga mat in some frumpy leggings from, I don’t know, probably Target, and told me that “without meditation, yoga is just exercise.” I thought about it in class–but I don’t think I was meditating, since I still don’t know how–and I’m thinking about it again. What is yoga without yoga pants? Just stretching?
No, of couse not. Yoga without yoga pants is still yoga. And as the courtroom battle heats up, and high-paid, high-stress people pace around, talking in circles and citing exhibits (seriously–there’s an Exhibit A and an Exhibit B in the charging documents), they’re going to be thinking more deeply and complicatedly about yoga pants than any of us ever will, because it’s their job.
But for the rest of us, for whom yoga is a hobby or a passion or maybe even a line of work, let this extreme fall down the legal rabbit hole be a reminder that, at the end of the day, your yogic practice is about what you get out of it–not what you wear to it.
Image by lululemon athletica on Flickr