If you're just starting yoga and learning about yoga mats, it can be really difficult to comprehend all the many yoga mat varieties and which yoga mat thickness is best for you and your regular yoga practice.
This is because yoga mats are available in different yoga mat thickness types ranging from extra thick yoga mats (about 6mm thick) to extra thin yoga mats (about 1-2mm thick). Therefore, you need to determine the ideal thickness for a yoga mat for any yoga practice.
The ideal requirement of a yoga mat is largely dependent on your particular requirements of comfort, stability, and health condition.
Therefore, the perfect mat thickness might be slightly different from person to person, but some mats offer better support than others.
In this blog, I will be sharing with you what the best thickness for a yoga mat is, and I will also discuss everything you need to know about yoga mat thickness and its importance to you and your yoga practice.
But before we dive deep, let’s start first by looking at the different types of yoga mat thicknesses we have. Do enjoy a lovely read.
Different Thicknesses of Yoga Mats
There are four types of yoga mat thickness; each is best suited for different types of yoga practice.
It is important to know these different types of yoga mats to help you understand which yoga mat or Pilates mat is the best yoga mat thickness for you and your yoga practice or Pilate session.
Here are the four different yoga mat thicknesses we have;
1. Thinner yoga mats
A thin yoga mat is also known as travel yoga mats because they are best for travel. They are 2mm thick and can be easily folded and packed so they’re easy to take along in your luggage or backpack.
Thinner yoga mats serve only one goal, which is to make it simple for you to transport them, which explains why they are so thin and light.
So, you can also easily transport yoga mat by bike from your home to your business, local studio, and back again.
Advantages Of Thinner Mats
They are very thin and light and pack down smaller than other traditional yoga mats. They are best for increased stability for yoga with more active, balanced, and focused poses.
Disadvantages Of Thinner Mats
The downside of travel yoga mats is that since they are very thin, your joints will not be adequately protected when you practice, making your practice slightly uncomfortable, especially when practicing on a hard floor (e.g. concrete, tiles, or wood).
Thinner yoga mats can only provide so little padding, so if you use this mat directly on the floor, you may feel it in your wrists after a few planks or yoga sequences, particularly when switching from downward dog to chaturanga.
Who Are Thinner Mats Perfect For?
Anyone who wants to engage in yoga practice while traveling and wants to travel extra light.
2. Average thickness yoga mats
These yoga mats are 4-5mm thick. This thickness level is the most commonly used for all types of yoga mats available for most yoga practices.
These yoga mats are mostly made from natural materials such as cork or natural rubber. They are not too thick nor are they too thin, they are average thick.
Advantages Of 4-5mm Thick Yoga Mats
They are good yoga mat that provide absolute grip, control, and balance for yogis during yoga poses. They provide enough cushioning and have more density than more common mats.
Disadvantages Of 4-5mm Thick Yoga Mats
The major disadvantage of this type of yoga mat is that if you like too much padding or want a bit of extra cushioning, these mats are not ideal for you as they cannot adequately provide these.
Who Are These Mats Perfect For?
Anyone who doesn't have sensitive joints can benefit greatly from this kind of yoga mat, which is excellent for all forms of yoga practice and Pilates sessions.
3. Thick yoga mats
These types of yoga mats are of yoga mats that are 6mm thick. If you require extra and perfect cushioning and extra padding during yoga, these thicker mats are just the perfect yoga mats to go for.
Advantages Of Thicker Yoga Mats
For restorative yoga, a form of yoga practice where you hold fewer poses for extended periods, you might prefer a softer, more cushioned mat like thicker mats (6mm thick).
Forearm and kneeling postures, ashtanga yoga, as well as for yogis with sensitive knees or sore joints, thick mats are also more pleasant.
Disadvantages Of Thicker Yoga Mats
Thick yoga mats are thick and dense and will probably be quite weighty to transport or take to your neighborhood yoga studio.
They can be more challenging to use for balance when performing standing postures.
Who Are These Mats Perfect For?
Anybody who wants more padding for their joints should use this kind of thick mat. This mat is ideal for excellent grip during grounding techniques like Yin yoga and dynamic practices like Ashtanga yoga and Vinyasa yoga.
4. Extra thick yoga mats
These thicker mats are more than 6mm thick. Some can be as thick as 10mm-12mm in thickness. The majority of these types of yoga mats that are very thick are made from materials such as PVC or foam, which are the most common materials used to make exercise mats.
Advantages Of Extra Thick Yoga Mats
They are the perfect choice of mats for yogis with sensitive joints and yoga grounding practices like Yin yoga and restorative yoga.
Disadvantages Of Extra Thick Yoga Mats
They are too thick and highly uncomfortable for regular yoga practices. Another major downside is that the materials they are made out of are not environmentally friendly.
These extra-thick yoga mats are not eco-friendly as their materials may contain toxins that get released into the environment long after the mat has been discarded.
Who Are These Mats Perfect For?
Anyone who wishes to practice grounding exercises like Yin yoga or Restorative yoga but has sensitive joints would benefit greatly from using this kind of yoga mat.
How Thick Should Your Mat Be?
The truth be told, there is no specific thickness that is the best because there is no size that fits all. This is because yogis are of different body sizes, and health conditions and do different yoga styles.
Therefore, the choice of yoga mat thickness to go for is largely dependent on your comfort choice and your yoga needs. This is because the whole point of a yoga mat is to assist your practice and suit your yoga needs not to make it harder.
This is why it is very important to know about each type of yoga mat and what goes into it to help you decide.
However, I will recommend that if you are someone who engages in a regular yoga practice that involves sitting postures and standing postures, getting a yoga mat that can provide the right cushion and excellent grip like the thick yoga mats (6mm thick mats) are ideal for you to choose.
What are the Benefits of a Yoga Mat with Extra Thickness?
Generally, choosing a yoga mat with extra thickness can be highly beneficial to you and your yoga needs. Here are some of the benefits of a yoga mat with extra thickness.
- A yoga mat with extra thickness will be gentler with your joints during your yoga poses.
- A yoga mat with extra thickness will allow you to practice yoga for longer periods than a thinner mat.
- They provide an excellent grip that reduces the habit of sliding on the mat during yoga.
- A yoga mat with extra thickness provides extra padding and cushioning that keeps you from feeling the ground beneath the mat during yoga.
- A thicker mat will cushion uncomfortable areas for people who have injuries, preventing you from applying excessive pressure to them.
How To Choose The Best Yoga Mat Thickness?
Generally speaking, the best yoga mat thickness is the one that makes you feel comfortable while practicing.
Very thick yoga mats (6mm+) are ideal for sensitive joints but not for vigorous yoga sessions. Yoga mats with a 6mm thickness are ideal for protecting your joints. The most frequently utilized mats are those that are 4-5mm in thickness.
Finding the best yoga mat thickness for your practice isn’t always easy. To ensure you choose the right one for you, you need to make sure it is suitable for your practice and that it matches your lifestyle.
Therefore, there are certain things to consider when choosing the perfect yoga mat thickness. Here are five things to consider when choosing a yoga mat in terms of thickness of the mats range.
1. Ease of carriage and transport
If you are certainly looking for a yoga mat that can be easily foldable and packable, you will be thinking of going for those with lower thickness like the travel yoga mat that is just 2mm thick.
A 6mm thick yoga mat can be weighty and difficult to easily carry and move around with.
2. Your specific body needs
In choosing the best yoga mat thickness, you also need to consider your body’s needs. Are you someone with sensitive joints or not? If you are someone with sensitive joints and bad knees, then you should choose a yoga mat that is 6mm or thicker.
This means that your aim for a yoga mat should be a thick yoga mat (6mm thick) or an extra thick yoga mat (10-12mm thick).
3. The type of yoga practice you want to do
Your choice of yoga practice will determine the thickness level you require from a yoga mat. Depending on what kind of yoga you are practicing can determine the type of mat you are looking for.
For instance, if you will be practicing Ashtanga yoga or Vinyasa yoga frequently, it is ideal for you to get a yoga mat that is at least 4-6mm thick. This means you will need to go for thick or average-thickness yoga mats.
If you will be practicing restorative yoga poses more, then an extra thick yoga mat that is 10-12mm thick is the perfect choice for you.
4. Your level of experience as a yogi
As you may know, there are beginner yogis, intermediate yogis, and advanced yogis. Therefore, depending on the level at which you are operating, it can influence the choice of yoga mat thickness you want to go for.
Some advanced yogis might not have any problem using any type of yoga mat but such is not the case with beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions - What Is The Best Thickness For A Yoga Mat?
What if a Yoga Mat is too Thin?
Many thin mats don't provide a good grip for balance and stability during yoga practice causing frequent slipping on a hardwood surface.
Especially for people who have injuries, an excessively thin mat might be painful on the joints. Your ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows will undoubtedly feel the difference if a mat is too thin because many yoga classes are held in studios with hard floors.
Thin yoga mats also are also slippery, check out our guides on How To Make A Yoga Mat Less Slippery for more helpful information.
Can a Yoga Mat be too Thick?
Yes, a yoga mat may be too thick. An excessively thick yoga mat may cause unintended issues and may be more difficult to deal with. If the mat doesn't have an excellent grip, too much cushioning may make it simpler to slip.
What is the ideal size of a yoga mat?
An ideal yoga mat should be between 68 and 72 inches long, 5'8" and 6" high, and 24 inches wide. People feel most at ease practicing yoga on a mat of this size.
Final Words – What is the best thickness for a yoga mat?
Getting a new yoga mat is an investment for you and your practice. So, it must first and foremost be comfortable for you and make you eager to practice yoga or Pilates more often.
To choose a yoga mat thickness that is appropriate for you and your needs, keep in mind your health, whether or not you have sensitive joints, and any injuries you may have.
For many, a 4-5 mm mat will be the best option because it will keep you grounded and balanced while protecting your joints. On the other hand, a 2mm thick and significantly thinner yoga mats are typical travel yoga mats which can be easily transported, especially when going on vacation.
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