How Thick Should A Yoga Mat Be? Plus, Our Top Mat Picks

Written by:

Gemma Clarke

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how thick yoga mat should be

The vast choice of yoga mats these days is overwhelming. You can find a yoga mat in every color and design and of different thicknesses and lengths. While things like colors and patterns are purely for aesthetic preferences, the thickness of a yoga mat can determine its usability.

Extra thick yoga mats may be great for one yoga style yet a hindrance to another, and the same is true for thin mats. So to help you choose a yoga mat that is right for you, we’re sharing the pros and cons of different thicknesses, along with our favorite thick and thin mats.

What Is The Ideal Thickness For A Yoga Mat?

The best yoga mat thickness will depend on your personal needs. Thicker yoga mats give more cushioning and are best for restorative yoga styles where you hold poses for longer. However, thinner mats provide more stability and help you maintain balance. Thus, they are better for dynamic yoga styles such as vinyasa, Ashtanga, or hot yoga.

So what are the different thicknesses available? Most standard yoga mats range from 3 to 5 mm thick, while extra thick yoga mats can from 6 to 10 mm. Travel yoga mats are the thinnest, just 1 to 2 mm thick.

How To Choose The Right Yoga Mat Thickness

There is no one perfect yoga mat. Both thick and thin yoga mats have advantages and disadvantages, which is why many experienced yogis like to have both thick and thin ones. That way, they can interchange depending on the type of yoga they are doing and the environment they are doing yoga in.

Alternatively, you may opt for a standard yoga mat that is around 4 or 5 mm. Regular yoga mats give enough cushioning to protect your joint health without being too bulky or reducing balance or stability.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of thick and thin mats.

Thick Yoga Mats Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provide extra cushioning
  • Best for people with sore or sensitive joints
  • Give more protection for your knee joints
  • Top choice for using on hard floors

Cons

  • They can be large and bulky
  • Hard to transport around
  • Make balancing more difficult
  • Typically heavier

Thin Yoga Mats Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Top choice for travel
  • Take up less space
  • Give more stability
  • Better for balance poses
  • Typically lighter

Cons

  • They can be painful for forearm and kneeling poses
  • Lack of cushioning can cause sore joints

If you are doing outdoor yoga, you may assume a thinner mat is best as it is lighter and easier to carry around. However, a thin yoga mat can be uncomfortable or painful when practicing on a hard or uneven surface outdoors, such as concrete or in a forest.

Best Thick Yoga Mats

Do you feel a thicker yoga mat is best for you? If so, here are our three favorite thicker mats.

Lululemon The Workout Mat 6mm

If you do lots of dynamic yoga and, thus, require a grippy mat but don’t want to compromise your joints, the Lululemon Workout Mat is hands down the best option.

It is 6mm thick, providing sufficient padding, yet it has excellent grip thanks to its raised textural design. This allows you to transition quickly and effortlessly between standing poses without losing traction.

Because this thick yoga mat is designed for other workouts besides yoga, it is super durable and can be used with shoes. Thus, it doubles up as a great fitness or pilates mat for yogis who love all kinds of movement.

The 2kg (4.4lbs) mat is made from 100% Recycled PVB and has a closed cell design that keeps sweat and other moisture out. Moreover, it’s stain resistant and easy to clean with a damp cloth, so it will stay smelling fresh even in the most strenuous hot yoga sessions.

Gaiam Essentials 10mm Extra Thick Yoga Mat

Gaiam’s 10mm (2/5 inch) mat is one of the thickest yoga mats. Because of its thickness, it can be used for other fitness activities besides yoga. Plus, it’s ideal if you often practice on a hard or uneven surface.

Despite its thickness, this mat is surprisingly lightweight, weighing just 1.4 kg (3.1 pounds). Therefore, many yogis love using it for outdoor practices. It also comes with an easy cinch strap, making it effortless to secure and sling over your shoulder.

Although it’s an extra thick yoga mat, it gives decent stability thanks to its dual-sided, textured ridges that help increase traction and reduce slippage. It is made from Nitrile Butadiene rubber foam and comes in 9 color choices.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

The renowned Manduka PRO is seen in yoga studios worldwide and loved by yogis everywhere. At 6mm thick, it has the ideal yoga mat thickness for home or studio use, protecting the most sensitive joints while giving superior stability.

The Manduka PRO yoga mat is high-performance and ultra-supportive. It is also one of the most durable, thicker yoga mats, built to last a lifetime. In addition, Manduka PRO mats are crafted in Germany from certified PVC and are free from harmful substances.

It features a closed-cell design to prevent moisture and bacteria from getting inside the mat. This makes cleaning easy after your yoga practice as you simply wipe it with a damp cloth. This design also prevents four smells from occurring.

The downside of the Manduka PRO is that it is heavy, weighing 3.4kg (7.5 pounds). Thus this is not a mat you would want to carry from place to place.

Best Average Thickness Yoga Mats

Want a versatile yoga mat that can be used for multiple yoga styles and environments. Consider one of these standard thickness mats.

Lululemon The Mat 5mm

You can’t go wrong with the Lululemon reversible 5mm “The Mat” for both cushioning and grip. Its natural rubber base gives eco-friendliness to the planet and more cushioning for your body. Using it with the bottom side up is ideal for practices with lots of kneeling or seated poses.

Meanwhile, the top layer gives excellent grip and moisture absorption, perfect for flowing through sun salutations and challenging standing and balancing poses. It’s also easy to clean with a damp cloth as it has antimicrobial treatments to prevent mold and mildew.

It weighs 2.38kg (5.24 lbs), so it’s light enough to carry around whether you’re going to the local studio or outdoor yoga classes. Plus, with over 10 designs and colors, your next mat will be high-quality and super stylish.

JadeYoga Harmony(™) Yoga Mat

The Jade Harmony mat is 4.7mm (3/16 inches) thick and gives the perfect combination of grip and comfort. It is made from natural open-cell rubber, which offers better cushioning than synthetic rubber mats, making it easier to hold poses and maintain balance.

The Jade Harmony mat is just as good for the planet as for you as it is made from 100% plant-based natural materials and has no PVC, phthalates, or heavy metals. As Jade also gives back by planting a tree for every yoga mat sold, this is one of the best eco-friendly mats.

The moderately thick mat weighs 2kg and comes in 12 color options. It is highly durable, and most yogis find it lasts them many years and withstands everyday wear and tear. There are also three length options; 68-inch, 71-inch, and extra-long 74-inch. All are 24 inches wide.

Liforme Original Yoga Mat

The Liforme 4.2mm rubber mat features the best yoga mat thickness for every type of yoga. It gives enough comfort and support for restorative yoga. Yet, its ground-breaking “GripForMe” material gives unparalleled grip and stability in vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga.

Another unique selling point of this popular yoga mat is the “AlignForMe” system, which helps you find foot placement and prevent injuries. It is also environmentally friendly as its made from eco-polyurethane and rubber and is biodegradable.

As a natural rubber mat, it is not super light, weighing 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds). There are six colors to choose from, all of which retain vibrancy even after several years of use.

Best Travel Yoga Mats

Are you looking for a thin mat that is light, doesn’t take up much space, and is easy to travel with? If so, here are our top three travel mats.

Lululemon The (Un) Mat

The Lululemon Un Mat is super lightweight and easy to travel with, allowing you to practice everywhere and anywhere. At just 1.5 mm thickness, this barely there mat can be used on soft surfaces or as a topper for a thicker mat on hard surfaces.

Because it weighs just 1.05kg (2.32 lbs), it makes an ideal yoga mat for frequent travelers who don’t have much space or weight to spare in their luggage.

Another awesome thing about this mat is that it is reversible. So the bottom gives more cushioning while the top is smooth and grippy.

The base is made from sustainably sourced and FSC™-certified natural rubber with a textured grip ideal for low-sweat practices. Meanwhile, the innovative high-grip top layer wicks up moisture, so it is fab for sweaty practices. It also features an antimicrobial additive to prevent mold and mildew buildup.

JadeYoga – Voyager(™) Yoga Mat

The Jade Voyager yoga mat is a popular choice among yoga-loving digital nomads and traveling yoga teachers, as the mat folds up to the size of a yoga block.

It is just 1.6mm thick (1/16 inches) and weighs a featherlight 680 grams(1.5 pounds), making it one of the lightest yoga mats ever. Whether you add it to your checked baggage or carry-on, it will take up almost no space or weight.

It’s not just the size that makes this mat a fab choice. It is made from eco-friendly natural rubber with an open-cell design, significantly reducing slipping. Many yogis like to use it as a travel mat while away and a topper to their thicker mat at home.

Yoga Design Lab Travel Yoga Mat

This super thin mat by Yoga Design Lab is just 1.5mm thick, serving as a 2-in-1 yoga mat and towel. It is ideal for sweaty practices like Bikram yoga as its ultra-absorbent microfiber top layer gives superior sweat management.

Interestingly, as it is made for sweaty practices, the sweatier you are, the better your grip. To increase stickiness, you can wet your hands before practice. Because of the yoga mat thickness, you can machine wash it on a gentle cycle and hang it dry. However, it is best to hand-clean it with a cloth to preserve its life.

The travel yoga mat comprises a natural rubber base layer bonded to a recycled PET microfiber top layer made using 15 plastic bottles. Thus, this is a fab choice if you’re looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly travel mat.

What About Yoga Towels?

A yoga towel topper is a super handy item, whether it’s to wick up your sweat, reduce slipping, or add additional thickness. They are incredibly lightweight and fold up tiny, making them a fab component for your travel yoga mat. Plus, if you’re using a thin mat and need extra cushioning for your knees, you can fold the towel like a blanket for extra padding.

Yoga towels come in a few different sizes. Most towels specifically designed for yoga, like The Towel by Lululemon, are made of microfibre fabric, so they are quick-drying. You can also choose between many stylish patterns and multiple colors.

Final Thoughts On How Thick Should A Yoga Mat Be?

As you can see, the ideal mat thickness entirely depends on your yoga practice. A thinner mat may be best if you do lots of fast-paced, dynamic yoga that makes you sweat. However, if you’re a lover of yin yoga, you will likely find a thicker yoga mat more comfortable.

If you’re after a new yoga mat, the mats featured in this guide are all premium quality and rated highly by other yogis.

About Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke is a certified and experienced yoga & meditation instructor. She has been practicing meditation since 2014 and teaching since 2018. Gemma specializes in yoga and mindfulness for emotional wellbeing, and she has taught in Thailand, Cambodia, and the UK. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with meditation to inspire others to live more mindfully, becoming happier, healthier, and calmer. Follow me: Instagram | LinkedIn

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