Who knew buying a yoga mat requires so much consideration? From the best length and width to the ideal thickness, there are quite a few things you should keep in mind as you search for the best yoga mat.
The thickness of your yoga mat significantly affects how comfortable and stable you’ll be on it, so it’s essential to consider this aspect. You can find yoga mats in varying thicknesses, including 3mm and 5mm. So, which one is better for your yoga practice? Let’s find out.
What Thickness Of Yoga Mat Is Best?
The best yoga mat thickness for you hinges on a few factors, as it isn’t the same for everyone. For some folks, a thinner mat is ideal, as it offers plenty of stability and a flat surface for balancing. On the other hand, a thicker mat is the best choice for other people, as it provides extra cushion for sore joints.
Here are the main sectors to consider as you select a yoga mat thickness:
One of the main things you should consider while you debate between yoga mat thicknesses is what kind of yoga you like to practice. Many folks like to mix it up and incorporate different yoga styles into their routines, so they have a few different mats to accommodate each type.
For example, if you enjoy practicing restorative yogas or those that require lots of sitting or kneeling, you might want a thicker mat. Thicker mats can offer extra support for your body in these poses, allowing you to maintain the poses for longer without pain.
On the flip side, perhaps you enjoy more active yoga flows and regularly participate in fast-moving classes packed with balance and stability poses. If that’s the case, a thinner mat will likely be your best bet. Thicker mats can hinder your ability to balance due to the extra cushioning, so they’re usually not the best choice for active flows.
Of course, you might find that a thicker mat works better for every flow, as you might need a bit of extra joint support. You’ll need to find what works best for you. You can always invest in a few mats of varying thicknesses and switch them out based on what style of yoga you feel like practicing. Many yogis have multiple mats for this very reason.
As you browse for the perfect thickness, you should consider the material you want. You might be unable to find the specific material you want in the perfect thickness. For example, many thicker mats are made of synthetic materials such as PVC or foam.
You might not be able to find thicker mats in natural materials, such as natural rubber or cork, as these mats are usually on the thinner side. If you’re flexible when it comes to the best material for your yoga practice, you can choose whatever thickness you prefer and find a material that works for you.
If you’re constantly on the go, you’ll probably want a yoga mat that is small enough to pack into your suitcase. Thicker yoga mats aren’t the best choice, as they consume large amounts of space in your suitcase. When you’re constantly traveling, you’ll want a mat that is thin enough to pack into your suitcase without taking up all the space.
Travel mats are usually 1-2mm thick, making them easy to fold up and take on the go. They’re perfect if you don’t have much space in your suitcase. However, while they save you space, they aren’t ideal for folks with joint aches and pains (or those who need extra support).
They provide a barrier between you and whatever surface you’re practicing yoga on, but they don’t offer much support or cushioning. Because of this, certain yoga styles (think restorative yogas) might not be as comfortable on these mats.
Sometimes, 3mm mats are too thin, but 5mm mats are too thick. In this case, you might want to consider the sweet spot thickness: 4mm. These mats combine the best of both worlds: they’re thick enough to offer adequate support for many folks, yet they’re thin enough to be universal for different yoga styles.
4mm yoga mats are thin enough that they’re not overly heavy but still supportive. You can find these mats in varying materials, including cork, PVC, and natural rubber. Many folks find these mats to be the perfect middle ground between ultra-thin and extra-thick mats, but the best thickness is ultimately up to you.
3mm Yoga Mats
These yoga mats walk the line between travel yoga mats and standard mats. They’re not quite as thin as travel yoga mats but aren’t as cushioned as everyday mats. Since they’re only a small step up from travel yoga mats, these mats aren’t ideal for yoga sessions packed with sitting sessions.
If you have sore joints or need extra support during yoga poses, 3mm mats likely aren’t the best choice for you. However, while they’re not the greatest choice for those needing extra support, they’re excellent for folks wanting a universal mat.
This thickness works for almost every yoga style (although they might be too thin for some yoga styles), as it isn’t overly thick to the point it hinders your balance, but it isn’t so light that you feel like you’re sitting on concrete.
Best 3mm Yoga Mats
Once you decide on the perfect mat thickness, you can move forward in selecting the best option. If you’re sold on a 3mm thick mat, here are a few options to consider:
- Lululemon The Reversible Mat 3mm: This mat is popular for its nonslip qualities – it features a sweat-wicking surface top layer and a grippy bottom layer. Although it’s only 3mm thick, it’s firm and offers plenty of support.
- ProSourceFit Classic Yoga Mat ⅛” Thick: Made of PVC, this mat offers plenty of grip for participants as they move through yoga flows. The mat is oversized (72” x 24”), so it’s perfect for tall individuals. The mat offers sufficient padding without being over the top yet still provides a firm surface for balance and stability.
- Hugger Mugger Tapas Original Long Yoga Mat: This mat is a solid pick for almost any individual. Its PVC composition makes it a sticky, non-slip surface, and the oversized feature (72” x 24”) makes it a good option for tall individuals.
5mm Yoga Mats
These yoga mats offer a bit of extra cushioning without being overly thick and clunky. Yoga mats in this thickness are often ideal for most yoga types. They’re not too thick that they throw off your balance in standing poses, but they’re not so thin that your joints will ache in certain sitting poses.
That said, these mats aren’t the thickest option available, so folks with sore joints might want to consider a thicker option to accommodate their bodies. If you prefer some cushioning (but not too much), 5mm mats might be your best bet.
Best 5mm Yoga Mats
If you decide on a 5mm-thick yoga mat, your next step is to choose the perfect mat. There are dozens of options out there, but some have better reviews than others. Here are a few of the best, most highly-rated mats:
- Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm: This mat features a smooth, sticky polyurethane side for effortless grip and a spongy natural rubber side for optimal traction on the ground. There’s plenty of support for sore joints, and the extra length and width make this mat perfect for taller folks.
- Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat: Made of PVC, this mat is ideal for folks with an allergy to latex (or if you don’t like the smell of rubber). There’s plenty of cushioning for support and a smooth top layer designed to wick moisture and offer grip as you move through flows.
- JadeYoga Harmony Mat: While this mat isn’t quite 5mm (it’s 4 ¾ mm), it’s a solid pick if you’re looking for a mat around this thickness. It’s made of 100% rubber, which offers plenty of traction as you move through each flow and is thick enough for adequate support.
Is A Thinner Or Thicker Yoga Mat Better?
The best yoga mat thickness depends on you and what kind of yoga you want to practice. As mentioned above, numerous factors contribute to this decision, so the final answer varies for each individual.
For instance, thinner mats can help you with stability during yoga poses that are more active, balanced, and focused. Extra cushioning can make it tricky to evenly balance your weight, as you can easily tip to one side as the material flexes underneath you. Add a textured surface to a thinner mat, and you have the perfect surface for optimal grip and stability.
On the other hand, thicker mats might be the better choice if you prefer restorative yoga styles or those that involve sitting and kneeling. You might become sore from kneeling or sitting on a thin mat, as it might feel like you’re sitting on the floor. So, using a thicker mat gives you extra cushioning for your body.
If you don’t want to buy multiple mats at once for different yoga styles, you can always use a yoga towel (or a regular towel) for extra cushioning. This way, you can buy a thinner yoga mat and add a yoga towel when you need extra padding.