A woman standing in Tree Pose, wearing a comfortable pair of black stretch yoga pants and matching top.

I have a confession to make.

I own more yoga pants than jeans and other types of pants.

I wear them everywhere. I guess you could say I live in them.

Need to look smart casual for a meeting? Black yoga pants.

Going to a rock concert? Flared black yoga pants.

Quick farmer’s market visit? Any of the yoga pants you own.

The yoga apparel companies make today are so cute and comfy. You can wear them everywhere on any occasion. I love them so much that I still buy more pairs despite my massive effort to Marie Kondo my closet.

Now, I’m not complaining about being able to afford to buy a new pair.

It’s just that yoga pants stretching is vital when you buy a new pair—especially high-quality compression leggings.  

So, for all you yoga pants lovers out there, I’m listing down all the eight ways to stretch out your yoga leggings effectively.

But before we get into that, why do you need to stretch out your new pair of yoga pants anyway?

3 Reasons Why You Need to Stretch Out Your Yoga Pants

A woman in Crescent Lunge with praying hands, wearing a comfortable pair of black stretch yoga pants.

It Messes with Your Blood Circulation

Yoga asanas and pranayamas help improve the flow of your breath, which in turn improves your blood circulation. But wearing a pair of yoga pants that are too snug counters that benefit.

Meralgia paresthetica is the feeling of numbness that goes down to your thighs. According to CBS News, Dr. Nicholas Morrissey, a vascular surgeon at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, tight pants such as skinny jeans and yoga pants hit the sensory nerve from the pelvis. Hitting this nerve constricts the circulation of your flow and will cause numbness. 

While meralgia paresthetica is not a severe condition, poor blood flow is. For this reason, it’s essential to stretch out your yoga leggings, even your most favorite Lululemon leggings.

It Restricts Your Movement

Practicing yoga asanas will make you more flexible. Science has proven this many times. But when you wear yoga pants that are too tight, you won’t move well. 

Now, good-quality workout pants should feel like a second skin and will move with you. But sometimes, they can be too tight. As a result, they will restrict your movement because they are uncomfortable.

Bad for Stomach Health and Breath

Richard Bricknell, a physiotherapist from Bristol Physiotherapy, warned that tight clothing such as yoga leggings can raise your stomach acid into your esophagus. When this happens, you are more at risk of ulcers and heartburn.

Moreover, tight clothing covering your stomach, such as high-waist compression leggings, can cause breathing difficulties. This is because they restrict the movement of your diaphragm or the muscle you use to breathe efficiently. Conscious breathing is an essential aspect of yoga. If you cannot breathe well, you cannot practice yoga well.

8 Ways to Stretch Out Your Yoga Pants

A woman in prone position with her legs up, wearing a comfortable pair of nude-colored stretch yoga pants and matching top.

To avoid the harmful effects of wearing tight clothes, you need to stretch out your workout leggings. Here are the eight ways on how to stretch out and break into your yoga pants:

Shape your yoga pants when wet.

It’s easier to shape your yoga pants to stretch them out when they are wet. So, once you get them, wash your new pair of pants. Then, stretch them to the shape you like fresh out of the machine. 

Wash them with a fabric conditioner.

The primary purpose of fabric softener is to soften your clothes. For example, when you wash your yoga pants with a fabric conditioner, it can smooth out the fibers, which can create less friction. 

Doing this will help stretch out your yoga pants. Fabric conditioner also helps in protecting the color of clothes.

To boost the effects of the fabric conditioner, you can also mix 1/3 cup of fabric conditioner with a cup of warm water. Then hang your yoga pants to dry.

Let them carry weights.

Another effective way to stretch out your yoga pants is to let them carry some weights. And I don’t mean going to the gym and lifting a barbell. I mean, letting the yoga leggings do the work. 

Once you finish washing your yoga pants, squeeze out the water and lay them down on a flat surface. Make sure the surface is clean. Now, get some things such as heavy books or a gallon of milk. Put them on top of your yoga pants. 

Put them on when wet.

This way of stretching out your yoga pants can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s pretty effective. After washing your new pair of workout pants, don’t put them in the dryer yet. Instead, wear it on for 30 minutes or so. 

The moisture and your body’s warmth will help in loosening up the spandex. 

Practice, practice, practice.

A woman doing Downward-Facing Dog, wearing a comfortable pair of dark gray stretch yoga pants.

Using your yoga pants is an effective way to break in the spandex. So, practice yoga and do any workout wearing it. Squat, lunge, Wide-Legged Forward Fold—any movement and yoga pose will help.

Insert something.

Another way to loosen up your favorite workout leggings is to insert a bottle or something circular in the legs and the seams. If you have a yoga bolster, the usual size will be good to insert in the waist area. Keep the bottle or the bolster there for 30 to 60 minutes and see the results. 

Hang them.

Remember when your mom told you not to hang knitted sweaters to avoid them from sagging? Yes, your mom was right. But when you want to stretch out your yoga leggings, hanging them will help. Hang them to dry and hang them in your closet.

Read the labels.

There is a reason why clothes have labels. These labels have care instructions from the manufacturer. Read and follow the tags religiously to know how to take care of your yoga pants based on the fabric used in making them. 

The manufacturers usually know better than us when it comes to the material they use in their leggings, whether synthetic fibers, elastane, spandex, or recycled polyester. By doing this, you avoid shrinking your pair of yoga leggings in the machine, which in turn makes them tighter.

A woman doing yoga in a comfortable pair of black stretch yoga pants, with her feet together and hands touching the ground.

Yoga pants are very versatile clothing items. You can wear them to work out, travel, go to work, or while lounging at home. But if they’re too tight, be sure to stretch them out first so you can enjoy the maximum comfort they provide.