What is the Optimum Thickness of a Yoga Mat?

What is the Optimum Thickness of a Yoga Mat?

One of the biggest concerns when choosing your mat is the thickness. While a few millimeters of difference may not sound like much, it can greatly impact the function and comfort of your yoga mat.

Let’s dive into yoga mat basics and discover the optimum yoga mat thickness for you and your practice!

Yoga mat thickness: the basics

Whether you are a seasoned yogi in need of a new mat or new to the world of yoga and shopping for your very first mat, understanding mat basics can help you make your best decision.

In general, yoga mats range in thickness from a slim 1/16th inch to the bigger ¼ inch pads. The most common mat thickness is 1/8th inch, or 3.175mm. They tend to offer a good range of use a healthy balance between comfort and stability.

Why does thickness matter?

Finding a yoga mat that works best for you is like picking out a new mattress, or a pair of orthopedic inserts. It’s a highly personalized process and greatly depends on your own preferences, body shape, and how you plan to use the mat. These are the main consideration when choosing your mat thickness:

Comfort

Hopefully you’ll be spending a good amount of time on your new mat. You’ll want it to be a comfortable place to stand, sit, lie, and balance. We all have different preferences when it comes to what feels comfortable, but in general, thicker mats offer better comfort and cushion. This is particularly important for those who need extra support for their back, knees, or hip.

Stability

A quality yoga mat is not simply a dedicated place to practice, it adds to your yoga practice and helps you balance, stretch, and grip. While thicker mats tend to be more comfortable, they tend to offer less support and stability. Thinner mats offer a closer connection to the floor to help you feel more grounded and better keep your balance.

Portability

Another key consideration when choosing your mat thickness is how you plan to use it. Will it be used mostly for a home practice? If so, you can easily opt for bigger and thicker mats. Do you plan to travel with your mat or carry it around town? A lighter, thinner mat may be better for yoga on-the-go. Extremely thin mats (1/16th inch) are dedicated to traveling yogis and easily pack into suitcases.

The best mat thickness for your yoga style

The perfect mat for you will match the demands of your practice and your personal preferences. Here is a simple guide to choosing your mat thickness based on your yoga style:

Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or Bikram

Thin: 1/16t h – 1/8th inch mat (1.5-4mm)
Do you love to strike a pose? If your favorite yoga styles focus on balancing poses and strength building, a thinner mat is best for you. The thinner style gives you a closer connection to the floor which improves your balance and ease. These mats offer better connection for nailing your difficult balancing poses and maintaining a graceful flow. They are also travel-friendly and make for easy storage.

Yin or Restorative Yoga

Thick: 1/8th – 1/4 inch mat (4-7mm)
Yin yoga sessions tend to rely on floorwork and hold postures for a long time. Because of this, a supportive, thicker mat is a great option. It cradles your musculoskeletal structure while offering added cushion and comfort. These mats are also recommended for anyone practicing yoga with injuries or vulnerable areas that need extra support.

Thin vs. thick: is there a happy medium for everyone?

If you’re not sure what kind of mat thickness you prefer, or if you like to practice a little bit of everything, aim for a happy medium with a 4mm mat. This thickness offers the best of both comfort and stability and is the optimum choice for a versatile yoga practice. What is your preferred yoga mat thickness? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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