Which one is better: thick or thin mat? Well, this question is often asked, and rightly so. There is no simple answer to it and it all depends on so many factors. At least, we can all agree that a decent yoga mat is a must-have item.
It provides you with a good grip so you don’t slip especially when practicing difficult poses.
Continue reading as I am going to show you how to choose the right yoga mat thickness that meets your needs.
How to Choose the Best Yoga Mats?
Below are some top tips on how to choose the best yoga mat:
This is probably the most important thing. You will need your yoga mat to be thick enough to protect your knees from the floor beneath it. This is especially true when you are dealing with a hard surface.
Although the average yoga mat is 3mm thick, this isn’t often enough to cushion your joints from the hard floor underneath. If you have sensitive knees, I recommend looking for a mat that is at least 5mm thick.
As a matter of fact, thickness and material go hand in hand. This is because some materials are more cushioned than others. This causes your joints to sink in rather than function as a resistive force.
Now, of course, it is never a good thing when you have a too-cushioned mat. Why? Because too much padding can make poses like the crow pose extremely difficult to do.
Natural rubber and PVC are two of the best materials for cushioning your joints. I also recommend that you look for eco-friendly yoga mats.
Natural rubber, for example, has the extra benefit of allowing you to practice any yoga pose thanks to its dense nature.
A good sticky yoga mat protects you from sliding about when you change positions. If you’re doing hot yoga, a yoga towel topper will absorb the perspiration, preventing slippage and making cleaning easier.
PVC is tough, durable, and sticky, but let’s not forget it’s bad for the environment. A strong, natural rubber mat will provide the same super-strong traction while being far more durable and long-lasting.
Some mats will have diverse textures to create a strong grip that will help you maintain your pose.
Yoga mats with bumpy designs and ridges (which are often used to promote stickiness) may not be the ideal choice if you have sensitive knees. These irregularities might aggravate the joints. That is why it is better to choose a mat with a smooth texture that has a soothing feel to it.
A normal 68-inch (approximately 172 cm) Mat works nicely for anyone under 5 feet 6 inches or 168 cm.
Moreover, you will need to add a few extra inches as soon as your height goes above the 5’6” threshold. Nothing is more dangerous than slipping out of your mat frame, which can throw you off balance and inflict severe harm.
If you expect to spend most of your time lying on your back or stretching on the mat, you are going to need a larger yoga mat.
A few extra, wider inches will make a significant difference in how you feel while working out.
7. Yoga Practice
The type of yoga you practice will always determine what type of mat you should use and how thick it is.
If you are an avid Yogi, use your common sense in determining which yoga mat is right for you. It’s best to keep it simple when it comes to yoga because there are so many different forms.
Because of all the bending, sliding, and stretching, textured mats are great for more energetic styles of yoga.
PVC and foam mats will struggle to stay sticky if you practice yoga on a regular basis. Because you’ll be lying down for long periods of time in lower-intensity yoga, such as restorative yoga, comfort will be your number one priority.
PVC or foam yoga mats might work nicely in this situation to provide enough comfort and support.
Types of Yoga Mats
PVC Yoga Mat
PVC yoga mats are made of PVC resin powder and open-cell foamed anti-tearing fibers.
Because of the open-cell technology, the mat retains sweat (which is good for gripping but bad for bacteria) and oils, making cleaning more difficult.
The mat’s PVC material and density allow it to be used in different settings, including outdoors, in a heated room, and in a non-heated studio.
NBR Yoga Mat
Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) has excellent oil and heat resistance and its suppleness is great.
Cleaning the NBR yoga mat is also super easy. The thickness of an NBR mat is usually around 10mm or more. It’s well worth the money as you get good comfort and low maintenance.
Furthermore, the NBR yoga mat is less expensive than other yoga mats. So, if you are a beginner Yogi, you can’t go wrong with this one.
JUTE Yoga Mat
Jute is a sustainable resource because it is a natural vegetable plant that takes only 45 months to mature. Jute leaves are a natural soil conditioner and clean the air by eating carbon dioxide. It’s an obvious sensible and natural-looking choice for a cleaner, safer environment.
The Jute yoga mat is a two-in-one mat. Made from a blend of natural jute fiber and eco-friendly PVC.
Natural Rubber Yoga Mat
It is made of natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable resource, and contains no EVA or other synthetic rubber, unlike other mats.
In many ways, a natural rubber mat is everything a yogi would want in a yoga mat: it’s eco-friendly, has excellent traction, and is really comfortable.
This mat also contains antibacterial characteristics, which make it easier to maintain. If you have a latex allergy, avoid using this mat.
As the phrase goes, every extra penny is worth its weight in gold, and the price of this high-performing mat is higher than that of other material mats. Natural rubber yoga mats are usually 3mm or 5mm thick.
PU Yoga Mat
It is made of both PU and natural rubber. This mat has a superb blend of slickness and environmental protection.
Many yogis have switched to PU because of its long-lasting non-slip surface, even during the most heated yoga sessions. You will never need to use a towel during a hot yoga session.
Pu Yoga Mats are extremely drippy, which makes them ideal for yoga. PU also doesn’t emit harsh chemicals because it’s made of natural materials. PU is also extremely long-lasting and cost-effective.
Cork Yoga Mat
This mat provides excellent grip especially when you are sweating. The more you sweat, the greater your grip grows, rather than sliding or slipping. Think about that!
It is usually the exact opposite with cheap yoga mats when you would have to use a towel to continue your exercise.
TPE Yoga Mat
This mat is environmentally friendly, since it is made of non-PVC, non-toxic, non-heavy metals, and has no irritant odour. It is appropriate for travel and household use because of its good elasticity, durability, and lightweight.
It is, by the way, very popular in the United States and Europe and has great market potential due to its high performance and environmental preservation.
The Different Yoga Mat’s Thickness Lists Including Usage
Yoga mats come in many thickness levels and are usually measured in mm. If you are using a thick mat, it will be difficult to maintain your balance and hold a pose.
Similarly, by using a thin mat, you will find it increasingly difficult to practice certain poses and they will hurt your knees and joints.
These are three of the most common yoga mat thickness levels:
1/4 Inch Thickness
A thick yoga mat, often known as a hefty yoga mat, is typically 1/4″-5/16″ or 6-8mm thick. Premium mats will typically be 1/4 inch thick.
They’re thick to provide the maximum comfort and support, but they’re also open-cell, making them lighter than mats of equal thickness.
1/8 Inch Thickness
This is the most common thickness, often known as regular yoga mats, and it provides the ideal balance of performance and portability.
This thickness level is ideal if you are going to practice yoga often because it provides ample padding for your knees while remaining light and thin enough.
1/16 Inch Thickness
If you’re always on the road or want to practice yoga while traveling, ultra-thin 1/16″ yoga mats are the ideal option for you. 1/16″ yoga mats are half the thickness of a conventional mat and will fit in any yoga mat bag with plenty of room to spare.
They are also known as travel yoga mats since they are easy to fold and roll. Aside from portability, tiny mats like this give you a greater sense of the floor.
If you want the natural experience of touching the ground, this 1/16″ thick mat is the one.
The Yoga Mats’ Buying Guide Based on Your Yogi Level and Usage
There are many factors that play a role when choosing the right yoga mat. The following will help you make an informed decision the next time you buy a yoga mat:
For the Beginner Yogi
You’re new to the game, but you’re a fearless newcomer. You want to get on the mat as much as possible, and you want to try as many poses as your body will allow.
Great! but here is the thing: you’ll want a mat that will help you achieve your yoga goals while also supporting your body.
So, you will need to look for the following yoga mat features:
- Clingy (to give you more confidence as you find your footing)
- Cleanable and long-lasting
- Typical (4-5mm) thickness
Furthermore, consider soft wool or cotton textured mat for a humble beginning trying to ease into things with some slower, meditative techniques to keep you relaxed.
For the Traveling Yogi
Consider a yoga mat for travel that is:
- Lightweight and can fit anywhere
- 1-3mm thick
For the More Experienced Yogi
You’ve come a long way in your practice, and you’re quite pleased with yourself. Yoga is such an integral part of your life now that you can’t fathom your existence without it.
You dazzle your friends with peacock postures, but you really like motivating others to begin their own yoga journey. So, here is how your new yoga mat should be:
- Thin (2-3mm) to keep your balancing practice more stable
- Extra sticky (you don’t want to be sliding around on the floor the next time you try a difficult pose)
For the Sensitive Yogi
You’ll want a friendly, forgiving space that meets you where you are, whether you’re struggling with a chronic ailment or simply have sensitive joints.
Consider the following yoga mat:
- Extra-thick to thick (4-6mm)
- If you like a more mellow cushion yoga style, go for softer alternatives
- Sticky to prevent you from over-moving and aggravating an injury
Is it better to get a thicker yoga mat?
It depends. Thick mats can limit your ability to move fluidly, so striking the right balance between support and mobility is crucial. If you’re working on your balance postures, a thin yoga mat (1.57 mm) is good.
A thick mat, say 6mm, is perfect for core exercises or those that require extra support and cushioning while working out. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, a thicker yoga mat will provide better stability on uneven ground.
Is 6mm or 8mm better for a yoga mat?
A regular 6mm yoga mat should be enough to give you ample support while remaining firm enough to retain your positions.
An extra-thick mat (8mm) can help you do more restorative or yin yoga, which requires you to hold a position for a lengthy time.
Is a 10mm yoga mat good?
Yes, this mat is very thick and is ideal for providing good protection when performing yoga. The full 10mm cushioning relieves pressure on your joints. It helps to limit moisture absorption, keeping your mat looking new.
While the thickness of yoga mats varies, there are no hard and fast rules about which ones are the best to use.
A thick mat will provide additional cushioning between your joints and the floor. Thinner ones are more suited for the experienced Yogis. So, keep the following in mind the next time you want to buy a yoga mat:
- Beginner Yogi: Typical (4-5mm)
- Travelling Yogi: 1-3mm thick
- Advanced Yogi: Thinner (2-3mm)
- Sensitive Yogi: Extra-thick to thick (4-6mm)
I hope that you found this article useful and informative. How thick is your yoga mat? Let me know in the comments sections below!