Perhaps you showed up to your yoga class with a brand new mat, only to find out it’s much too short. You lay down in Shavasana, noticing you have to pick which appendages should hang off the mat – your legs or your head? This get’s bothersome quite quickly, especially when practicing yoga on a not-so-clean floor.
So, how are you supposed to know what size yoga mat you need? Isn’t the standard size fine? Well, selecting the perfect yoga mat isn’t as simple as grabbing a random mat off the shelf at the store. Instead, you need to consider a few things for the best results.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help. Stick around for a guide to choosing the best yoga mat specific to your needs!
How Long Should My Yoga Mat Be For My Height?
The first thing we need to address is the ideal length of a yoga mat in relation to your height. Obviously, a standard yoga mat will probably be far too short for your frame if you’re tall. You might not be able to practice the moves without being partially off the mat, whether it’s just a foot or a good portion of your calves.
Shorter folks usually don’t have this same issue, but that’s just the mat length we’re discussing here. For the most part, a mat between 68 and 72 inches long is ideal for folks under 6 feet. Folks above 6 feet usually need a mat 84 inches long or longer.
How Wide Should My Yoga Mat Be?
The length of the yoga mat is often the primary concern, and while it is a significant aspect to consider, don’t forget about the width. If the mat is too narrow, your shoulders or arms might hang off the side of the mat.
Again, you probably don’t want any part of your body touching a grimy public studio room floor, whether it’s your arms or legs. So, it’s essential to buy a yoga mat wide enough to comfortably fit your frame without feeling like you need to squeeze your shoulders in.
Generally, folks under 6 feet find a 24-inch-wide yoga mat sufficient. Folks taller than 6 feet usually work better with a 24- to 36-inch-wide yoga mat. Of course, this is entirely subjective to your proportions.
Some folks may be shorter with broader shoulders, so a wider mat is a better fit. Or on the flip side, a taller individual might have a narrower frame, so the extra space is unnecessary. Or, folks with a fluffier middle might want a bit more room width-wise on the mat for additional space to move around comfortably. Ultimately, it depends on your body and the dimensions you think you feel most comfortable with.
What Is The Standard Size For A Yoga Mat?
Most yoga mats are about 24 inches wide and between 68 and 72 inches long. Generally, the standard length is 68 inches, but this can vary. If it makes more sense to you as a height, 68 inches long is the equivalent of someone who is 5 foot 8 inches.
If you’re 5’8, you’d probably want to buy a slightly longer mat, as you likely need some room to wiggle. Otherwise, you’d need to perfectly line up your head and feet with the edges of the mat in laying poses. That can quickly become bothersome, so buying a mat with a few extra inches of length is better.
It’s also essential to choose a good width for your frame. Don’t forget to consider this side of things when you’re browsing for good-quality yoga mats.
What Size Yoga Mat Is Best For Beginners?
There isn’t a “one size fits all” yoga mat. Each body is different, with different proportions, so one yoga mat won’t work for everyone. For example, you might find the perfect yoga mat for you with the ideal dimensions. However, when your friend asks to borrow it, they mention it’s far too small.
So, while one might work great for you, it might not work best for the next individual. You might have to try a few yoga mats before you find one you love. You might even need a few different mats, especially if you try different types of yoga.
For instance, a heavily cushioned mat is ideal for therapeutic flows where you spend a lot of time sitting or laying on the mat. However, they might not be suitable for balancing in standing poses. On the flip side, a thinner mat might be better for standing flows but not great for flows with quite a bit of sitting or lying.
Additional Yoga Mat Considerations
Unfortunately, the length and width of your new yoga mat are just the tip of the iceberg in things to consider. If you’re not an avid yogi, you can probably get away with a generic mat that roughly meets your height and width requirements.
However, if you practice yoga regularly, you’ll want to invest in a comfortable, practical, and functional mat. Otherwise, you might spend more time than you’d like trying to get comfortable. This can be inconvenient, causing you to miss parts of the flow (especially if you’re in a live class).
So, if you’re looking for the best of the best and a mat that is suited to you and your needs, here are a few things to consider.
The thickness of your yoga mat is an essential consideration. We’ll discuss how this can affect your yoga style below, but let’s look at the common thicknesses available. For the most part, standard yoga mats are usually about ⅛-inch thick.
This thickness is ideal for strong, flowing practices where grip and stability are essential. You can find even thinner mats (1/16-inch thick), but these are usually best for travel purposes more so than everyday uses.
The most popular thickness is probably ¼-inch mats. These mats are durable and offer a solid grip without getting in the way, yet they still provide substantial cushioning. Mats of this thickness can be surprisingly heavy, so they’re not ideal for traveling.
The ½-inch mat is one of the thickest mats available on the market, offering plenty of cushioning for sore joints. This mat can be tricky to use, especially in stability poses, such as Warrior or Tree Pose.
Another thing to consider is the material of your yoga mat. You have a few different materials to choose from, the most prominent including PVC, TPE, and eco/natural mats. Each material offers a different degree of durability, grip, and weight and usually affects the final cost.
You’ll probably want a mat that offers plenty of grip (performance dry-grip is ideal), but cushioning and durability preferences are entirely up to you and vary from person to person.
PVC is a standard pick known for its durability, grip, and ease of cleaning. It’s non-absorbent, which is ideal for cleaning, but it can make the mat slippery if you sweat profusely. The material is plastic-based and latex-free but isn’t biodegradable.
Next up, there are TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) mats. These mats consist of the artificial material, usually composed of plastic and rubber polymers. This material can be more environmentally friendly than PVC (some are fully recyclable), but it depends on the exact composition. These mats aren’t as durable as PVC but still offer solid traction and are easy to clean.
Eco-friendly mats are usually made of natural rubber, jute, and organic cotton, although the exact materials vary from one mat to the next. These mats aren’t as grippy on the floor as other options, but they offer a natural texture that provides a decent grip. They don’t usually last as long as PVC, but they’re considerably more sustainable.
Your preferred yoga style can affect which mat is best for you. We touched on this point earlier, but let’s dive into the topic more. You might wonder how the yoga you choose has anything to do with the mat – we hear you, but stick with us.
Let’s say you love doing active flows packed with balances and tough holds. In this case, you probably want an adequately-sized mat that isn’t overly thick. Thicker mats can make it harder to balance, so a thinner mat is usually ideal in these situations.
Or, maybe you prefer restorative yoga, packed with long holds. In this case, you might prefer extra cushioning to support your joints. Thicker mats are also ideal for yogis with achy joints or tender knees, as the additional cushioning offers extra support.
If you like mixing it up with your yoga sessions, investing in two different mats might not hurt. Devoted yogis often have a few mats, but if you’re just starting, you can slowly build up to a few mats. With multiple mats of varying thicknesses, you can select the mat best suited for whichever flow you decide to go with for the day.
Unfortunately, our budgets can sometimes be limiting factors. Many folks don’t have a few hundred dollars kicking around to devote to a ritzy yoga mat, so it’s essential to consider your budget. Certain materials tend to be more expensive than others, so you might have to do a bit of digging to find the ideal mat that meets your expectations.
Additionally, thicker and longer/wider mats tend to be pricier than their smaller counterparts, so expect to pay more if you’re hoping for extra wiggle room. Remember, ultra-expensive isn’t always better. There’s no need to drop several hundred dollars on a fancy yoga mat (unless you want to – in that case, go for it!). You can find excellent yoga mats at an approachable price.