PI Yoga Pants in action on the beach next to the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.
Necessity is often noted as the mother of all invention – and rightfully so. But what happens when you tag on dedication, resolve and the determination to succeed? Larissa Miller, the driving force behind PI Yoga Pants, that’s what happens!
PI Yoga Pants, the newest sensation in namaste apparel, was crafted from Miller’s need for comfort. Lightweight, versatile, breathable, and most importantly, comfortable, the Balinese-inspired garment was conceived from the lightbulb moment of “I can design a yoga pant more comfortable than the uncomfortable one I’m wearing.”
While traveling in Thailand, on the first leg of a tour through South East Asia, former Pacific Beach resident Miller wore conventional, tight, black yoga pants that “clung and chafed my skin, blocked and irritated my pores and drove me absolutely insane.” She quickly purchased a soft, flowy pair that were “cute, but didn’t fit right.” Frustrated she knew she could do better.
“I was so excited to be in Bangkok, I walked 13 miles my first day in tight black yoga pants,” she said. “I was so overheated, I was miserable. I bought a lighter, flowy pair that were cute but I had to twist them to fit. I knew I could design a better pant that would fit everyone. So I did!”
But the “I did” part included diligence. Miller first committed herself “100 percent” to growing a brand-new small business, an easy transition during this respite from corporate San Diego. She then researched a myriad of materials to ensure comfort and breathability in temperatures reaching 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. Research included many “wear tests.”
According to Miller, selecting the proper material was important because skin becomes sensitive in heat and humidity. Cotton sticks to the skin when hot, silk insulates heat, polyester’s thick and uncomfortable, and Lycra and spandex were automatic no’s. Rayon, a premium, non-synthetic material, was the softest and most comfortable to wear in tropical weather. The highly-breathable material is also flame retardant.
“It doesn’t spark static electricity and doesn’t pill like cotton,” she continued. “And it even protects the body from mosquitoes.”
Versatility for yoga, other workouts and traveling followed suit on the material checklist.
“I wanted to design more than just a pair of yoga pants,” she said. “I envisioned chic boutique pants that would be great for traveling without making you look like a traveler and cute pants for socializing at night. Rayon’s lightweight, easy to wash, dried faster than cotton and wrinkles easily disappeared when hung to dry.”
Miller then searched for a seamstress. While traveling through Bali, she shared her new venture with a taxi driver who graciously offered to introduce her to a friend – a seamstress – and bingo! Collective ideas led to a variety of prototypes. She found a designer and dug roots in Bali because it was “fashionable, colorful, filled with flowers, good energy and rich with artistic and creative essence.”
Patterned samples were posted on Instagram to build an audience. With “overwhelming” positive acknowledgements, she returned to San Diego and “plunged her life savings” into PI Yoga Pants, named after one of her favorite spiritual hubs, Pai, Thailand. The sister-hood of the traveling yoga pants was born!
Over 50 styles – with new collections introduced every season – include Blueberry Lemonade, Midnight Kisses, Touch of Paradise, Stardust, Tribal Warrior Princess, Sunday Brunch, Fifty Shades of Surfboards, Summer Kissed, Enchanted Goddess, Teal Crush, Evergreen Flower of Life, Ground Goddess, and Yacht Week. Sizes range from 0-16, including large and maternity, with elastic tie bottoms that can be cinched to fit petites at 4’10” or lengthened to fit anyone as tall as 6 feet.
“PI Yoga Pants capture the energy of Bali,” she continued. “I want everyone to feel swept away by a tide of tropical relaxation. I also wish to empower women to be inspired by health and wellness. Yoga is a wonderful window into fitness. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing. I intend to lead by example for the greater good of fitness.”
The philanthropist at heart doesn’t stop there. Miller devotes energy and profits into conservation efforts for sea turtles, coral restoration and beach cleanup. While diving in Bali, she fell in love with sea turtles and soon discovered that only one out of every 100 turtle reaches maturity. Traveling up to 12,000 miles a year on a course from Bali, to Hawaii and ultimately San Diego, their longevity is sliced by their biggest predator – human garbage.
“Plastic bags to be exact,” she continued. “They bite them – thinking they’re jellyfish and choke. Plastic bags don’t disintegrate – even in the ocean.”
The Gilo Eco Trust – coral reef restoration – is another recipient of PI Yoga Pants donations. Miller also collaborates with the Surf Rider Foundation for monthly beach cleanups.
Surprised and encouraged by her company’s growth, the entrepreneur is now working to expand international and Amazon sales. Miller has also introduced a men’s and kid’s line.
“I’ve given PI Yoga Pants my all and it’s rewarding to watch it grow and succeed,” she concluded. “It’s exciting and excitement builds momentum. There’s really never been question other than ‘Why can’t I do this?’”
To no one’s surprise, the avid yogi loves everything yoga, “the physical strength, courage, mental clarity and the friendship of a like-minded community that embodies love, acceptance, and personal freedom to be the best version of you.” Future plans also include sharing her love for travel, her “gateway to personal growth,” and incorporating fitness, photography and conservation in all endeavors.
PI Yoga Pants
What: Lightweight, versatile, and breathable yoga pants.