Are like me and like to have as much information as possible before making a purchase? When I bought my most recent yoga mat, I gave strong consideration to the thickness of the mat and realised it is an important factor.
A yoga mat should be thick if you want to protect your knees and feet. However, if your yoga practice tends to be more balanced and focused, you should consider getting a thinner mat. Choosing the best mat depends on where you practice, how you practice, and what your body can tolerate.
You might be surprised by all the different components that go into choosing the most appropriate mat thickness for your body type and practice style. This article will explain the variations in mat thickness, as well as some things to consider as you move forward with finding the best mat for you. So, keep on reading.
Yoga Mat Measurements
Yoga mats are measured in millimetres and range from about 2mm (1/16 inch) on the thinnest side and the thickest at 12mm (½ inch). There are pros and cons of each type, and this section will cover that and some recommendations for specific mats.
Two Millimetres - Travel Mat
Let us begin with the thinnest yoga mat options and work our way up. The two millimetres (1/16 inch) mat is likely the thinnest mat you will encounter in your practice. It was invented for travelling because its lightweight makes it easy to take with you on a plane or a train.
However, this mat will not protect you from hard surfaces. Practice on carpet or grass to protect your knees and hands from hard surfaces like wood or concrete. Additionally, a mat this thin is quite frail and might not be as durable as other options.
Recommended Two Millimetre Mat
This 2-millimetre Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat is perfect for all travelling yogis. It is affordable and extremely lightweight, coming in under two pounds. Another great feature of this mat is that it folds, rather than rolls. This makes it a lot easier to pack it away in your carry-on luggage.
Three Millimetres - Light and Durable
The three millimetres (⅛ inch) mat is a nice middle of the road mat. This one of the more common mat thicknesses, as it is a bit more durable than the 2 millimetres. This mat will provide more protection when practising on hard surfaces. It is also still lightweight, making it easy to transport between your house and your class. This mat will also fit easily into a standard yoga bag.
Recommended Three Millimetre Mat
This 3-millimetre Jade Travel Mat is a great option for those who want a slightly thicker, more durable yoga mat. It is still very lightweight, at just over three pounds, making travel and commutes very manageable. is available in two lengths: 68" and 74".
Six Millimetres - Standard Studio Mat
The six millimetres (¼ inch) yoga mat is the most common mat you will find in a yoga studio. This is a great mat option because it strikes a nice balance between cushion and durability. However, it can still be a bit bulky and can weigh up to seven pounds. These mats might be difficult to transport and are certainly not ideal for travel.
Recommended Six Millimetre Mat
The XW Fusion Jade Mat is thick and wide and is a popular among yogis who want a bit more cushioning. It has incredible grip, great comfort and eco-friendly. Jade mats contain no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber and are made in the United States in compliance with all US environmental.
Twelve Millimetres - Extra Protection
We will make quite a big leap from the six-millimetre mat to the thick, plush twelve millimetres (½ inch) yoga mat. The thickest mat on the market and will only be suitable for certain bodies and practice styles. The plushness of such a thick mat makes balancing difficult, and some yoga poses almost impossible, and they are also quite bulky and heavy. You will rarely see this type of mat in a yoga class.
Recommended Twelve Millimetre Mat
However, if you want to try out a thicker mat, I recommend this 12-millimetre BalanceFrom Mat. Its thick cushion will protect your spine and knees from hard surfaces and is slip-resistant to prevent injuries.
Determining the Best Yoga Mat Thickness
There are several factors that you should consider when deciding on how thick your yoga mat should be. This section will refer to the mat thickness variations mentioned above and go over specific scenarios for different sizes.
Ask yourself what the most important thing to you is. Is it cushioning? Should it be appropriate for a particular style of yoga? Regardless, this section should help you narrow down the type of mat that is right for you.
As I mentioned in the previous section, your yoga mat's thickness strongly correlates with its thickness. If you are looking for a lighter yoga mat, then you should certainly air on the side of a thinner mat.
The weight should be taken into consideration, particularly for yogis who plan to travel with their mat. Travelling with a seven-pound mat on your back can get tiring quickly. Additionally, if you are transporting your mat between your home and a yoga studio once a week or more, you might also want to consider a lighter mat. Some thin mats, such as the 2-millimetre mat mentioned above, can weigh as little as two pounds.
Your Body Tolerance
Obviously, your body tolerance will vary a lot between individuals and will be very specific to you. It is important not to compare yourself to the person practising next to you because they have their own struggles.
If you struggle with sensitive areas such as knees, spine, or elbows, then a thicker mat might be best for you. For example, a boat pose puts a lot of concentrated pressure on your tailbone. To reduce this pressure, you could either fold your mat or buy a thicker mat to suit your needs.
Yoga Practice Style
Your yoga practice style encompasses both how you practice and where you practice. If you find yourself practising on carpet or grass, you may opt for a thinner mat so that you can better connect with the ground. However, a thicker mat might suit you if you practice on concrete or wood surfaces because it will protect your body from those unforgiving surfaces.
If you find yourself in a lot of floor poses, such as child's pose or bridge pose, then you might also consider a thicker mat. It will make it more comfortable on the bonier parts of your body, like your spine, elbows, and knees.
However, if your practice incorporates more balance focused poses, such as warrior three or tree pose, then a thinner mat will probably suit you better. For these more advanced and balanced focused poses, it is important to make a strong and established connection with the earth, and a thin mat is the best way to do that.
A lot of thought goes into choosing the thickness of your yoga mat. You have to ask yourself what is most important to your yoga practice. Is it being able to transport your mat or keeping your bones safe from hard surfaces?
The purpose of this article encourages you to reflect on your practice style and exposed you to various mat thicknesses. Also some of the reasons yogis might choose a thicker or thinner mat. Regardless of your choice, I hope this article could act as a guide for you in determining which mat is the right one for you.