You're excited to jump into the world of yoga, so you purchase a mat, get a cute gym outfit, and you sit down only to find out that your mat is extremely uncomfortable. Don't worry; you’re not the only person who’s made this mistake.
As much as we want to believe that every yoga mat has been designed to give us the support we need while we delve into the practice of yoga, that is just simply untrue.
The truth is, we need to search for the correct mat. This is the reason why we’re here to help answer the question: how thick should my yoga mat be?
Do You Need a Thick Yoga Mat?
Mat thickness helps ensure two different factors when performing yoga. The first factor is that your body has enough cushioning to support the weight of your body without making you feel uncomfortable.
Imagine this: you’re in a position where your knees or elbows are supporting the weight of your body. If you’re using a very thin mat and are on a hard floor, this can get uncomfortable very fast. However, if the yoga mat you’re using is just the right thickness, you’ll be able to perform the pose without a problem.
On the other hand, if the mat is too thick, you may find yourself having a hard time balancing. That’s why it is vital that you find a mat that has the right level of thickness.
Different Yoga Mat Thicknesses
Standard Yoga Mat Thickness
The standard for yoga mat thickness is around an eighth of an inch thick. The materials that go into making this type of mat is lightweight and easy to find. The upside is that you’ll have a decent amount of cushioning and protection from the floor. However, that may still not be enough for more strenuous types of yoga poses.
Medium Yoga Mat Thickness
The next type that you may find is yoga mats with medium thickness. The foam material that this mat is made out of usually cushions the body’s weight without being uncomfortable. Overall, it’s the best type of thickness to get for all-around activities. You’ll find that the foam is around 3/16 inches thick.
If we compare this to other mat thicknesses, you’ll find that this is the best type to get if you’re unsure of what type of yoga you’ll be doing. It has just enough cushioning to prevent you from feeling the ground but is also thin enough that it’s not heavy or hard to transport.
Extra-thick Yoga Mat
The next type of yoga mat is the extra-thick yoga mat. The enhanced thickness is excellent for harder yoga poses as it provides you with enough cushioning to be comfortable, but it also adds extra cushioning for supporting your body.
We would recommend an extra-thick mat for experts, professionals, or those suffering from injuries or bad joints. Having a thick and cushiony exterior can help displace some of the pressure put on major joints during yoga or pilates.
However, the biggest issue is going to be transportation. Having thicker mats mean that they are made from heavier and bulkier materials, which might pose problems during transportation and storage.
Super Thin Yoga Mat
The last type of yoga mat you may find will be those that are super thin. Why would you want a thin yoga mat, though? Well, these types of yoga mats are usually around 1/16th of an inch and are the best for transportation.
The thin fabric will allow you to easily roll the mat up and store it in a gym bag. It is lightweight, easy to carry, and can be folded to save space. The only downside is that these types of mats don’t offer you support or cushioning. We’d only recommend these types of mats for yoga classes that don’t require rigorous or straining poses.
How Thick Should My Yoga Mat Be?
Before choosing a mat thickness, we recommend thinking about what type of yoga activities you plan to do. If you are taking a yoga class for beginner to intermediate practitioners, then we recommend the medium thickness.
On the other hand, if you’re doing expert-level yoga, then we’d highly suggest an extra-thick yoga mat. If you’re finding yourself always on the go, then we’d recommend the super thin yoga mat or a standard thickness yoga mat.
Overall, yoga mat thickness comes down to the personal preferences of the person using the mat. Just as it is when choosing your clothes, you’ll also find the pros and cons of using each type of mat.
The best method to determine what type of yoga mat you want is to try the different kinds out yourself. That being said, we still have some guidelines for you to follow if you’re unsure or when you’re ordering online.
As long as you keep in mind what each type of mat is used for, we guarantee that you’ll find one that’s to your liking. As a last note, we also need to say that each fabric and brand may also influence your experience, so don’t let the thickness alone be the standout feature that decides which mat you’re going to buy.