What is the Best Thickness for Your Yoga Mats?

Sunil Murthy
Written by
Last update:

Addressing the Illusive Question of Yoga Mats Thickness

There are many things in this world for which there is no universal answer. What is the best color? What is the best flavor of ice cream? How thick should my yoga mat be? The answer to that last question is “The Thickness You feel Most Comfortable in.” Too thin and you risk your arms and knees digging into the mat, left bruised and shaken. Too thick and the mat absorbs too much of your energy and gets in the way of your practice. It’s all subjective, like everything else. And here is the good news, by experimenting with different mats of different thicknesses, you can find your perfect yoga mat.

At the outset of your practice, you may wish to be more cautious and err on the side of a thicker mat till you discover what your threshold is.

Here is a little more information to help guide your decision. The standard thickness for a yoga mat is four millimeters. As your practice progresses and you build more confidence, you may find yourself enjoying a marginally thinner mat.

Signs that you might enjoy a thinner mat are:

  • Your knees and arms don’t feel too bruised and battered after class
  • You are delighting in your ability to grip and catch yourself in challenging positions

One of the most common questions people ask about yoga mats is: “What thickness should I get?” If you are shopping for a mat for general fitness & as part of your regular workout routine you would want to get a thin mat. Of course, if you are practicing yoga in a hot environment or sweating a lot, then you would need a thicker mat to help prevent slipping.

However, if you are looking for a mat specifically for yoga, you may want to try out a medium-thickness mat. This will help you gain traction. They provide slightly more support and are less slippery. They also allow you to take a stable, tripod head-stand. When you are standing, the floor comes into play a lot more than if you are on your hands and knees. This is one of the reasons that you may want a thicker mat.

Following are the two most commonly used thicknesses for a yoga mat.

1/16-inch Yoga Mat

Yoga mats range from super-thin 1/16 inch compact travel styles weighing no more than 2 lbs. to cushy ¼ inch heavyweight mats that weigh up to 7 lbs.
If you are a regular traveler and pack your yoga mat in a suitcase or carry-on, get yourself a thin yoga mat in the 1/16 inch range. A thinner mat is not only easy to carry but also allows you to do more poses and transitions on your knees and hands without your joints and limbs hitting the floor. A 1/16 inch mat can help increase stability for balanced, focused poses. It supports aggressive and advanced styles of yoga with more active poses. When choosing a thin mat, look for yoga mats with textured surfaces to maintain a better grip.

1/8-inch Yoga Mat

1/8-inch Yoga Mat
Many of today’s top yoga instructors and studios offer classes for the adventurous yogi who is willing to experiment with new yoga poses. This may require an added thickness of a yoga mat that cushions the yoga floor. In such a case consider buying a 1/8-inch thick yoga mat which is considered as a standard yoga mat thickness. For many styles of yoga, this added thickness will provide a great deal of cushioning. Bikram, or hot yoga, however, will not function well with this thickness of a mat. The added thickness of yoga mats is also great if you want additional cushioning for your knees and hands when you get more advanced. Several poses directly impact your knees and hands and without a thick yoga mat, they can get strained.

Other Things to Check in Your Yoga Mat Apart from Thickness

There are plenty of things that you need to check in a yoga mat apart from thickness. No research definitively answers the “what” when it comes to types of yoga mats.

Stickiness and Texture

The textured yoga mats allow you to get better traction, maintain balance, and maintain poses easier than you would with a flat mat. The textured sides help you to find the balance and traction that you need without slipping. There are a number of different kinds of textures on the market.

Some of the most popular and best-selling textures include:

Cork

You will find the cork yoga mats to be the most versatile on the market. They offer traction that is good enough for all kinds of yoga, while still being kinder to your joints as compared to smooth rubber yoga mats.

Rubber

The rubber yoga mat offers the highest stocky factor and absorbs negative ions, which is a great feature for anyone who wants to practice yoga near salt water.

Bamboo/Jute

If you want more organic materials that are biodegradeable and eco-friendly without the cost of cork, then a jute or bamboo yoga mat having raised, tactile patterns is the one for you. The added grip provided by the raised texture helps you stay put no matter how vigorous your practice gets or how sweaty you become.

Size

Yoga mat size depends on your personal preference and comfort. How much you are willing to wander is also a factor. Different sizes of yoga mats have different benefits. he mat should be wide enough to comfortably accommodate the Goddess pose. Most yoga teachers recommend a 2-foot wide mat for most practices. We support those recommendations for Goddess pose. However, if the Goddess pose is not a big part of your practice, you may not need a wide mat.

Material

There are several materials used to make Yoga Mats. When picking out a mat, consider the type of surface that you will be using it on — will it be carpet, grass, or hard floors? Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Synthetic Mats

Secially polyurethane, PVC, and EVA) are great for slip resistance. If you sweat a lot or have slick floors, this may be the best mat for you. PVC material works better for your excercise surface because of its protective features and chemical resistance. This is better f you are practising on a floor that releases chemicals, such as a concrete floor.

Vinyl/PVC mats are easier to clean because you can just hose them down. Leaving them in the sun or using a pressure washer is not recommended for PVC mats. Another advantage of vinyl/PVC mats is the rolled edges which prevent your hands and feet from getting caught as you move. They also protect the flooring when you're working through hand positions or in a playful child's pose. This type of mat is the easiest for young children to use, as it is not slippery.

Cotton Mats

They are eco-friendly but heavy and expensive and since they absorb moisture, they don’t dry easily.

Natural Rubber Mats

They are lightweight, durable, and the most natural and eco-friendly. They dry quicker than the cotton mats but tend to slide, make noise, and smell. The natural rubber mats tend to take color from other towels or mats that are placed on them. This staining is not noticeable unless you are practicing yoga in a light-colored yoga outfit.

Jute Mats

They are lightweight and natural, but they also make some noise and tend to be more slippery when wet.

Wooden Mats

They are durable, eco-friendly, and naturally antifungal. The downside is that they are heavy and expensive, making them impractical for travel.

Blended Mats

They are mixtures of natural and synthetic materials. They are durable, dry quickly, and slip-resistant. The downside is that they provide less cushioning.

Pattern and Hues

Trendy people love to add style and uniqueness to everything they do. That's why many yoga mat manufacturers have come up with amazing patterns and hues in defining yoga mats to entice their customers. From funky colors to dark deep shades, you can find a variety of hues and a range of geometric patterns to floral designs in the market. Depending on style and size, material, and thickness yoga mats can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.