Choosing the Right Yoga Mat

Posted by Patricia Sims on

Which Yoga Mat is Right For You?

If you’re new to Yoga, shopping for your first yoga mat can be a little daunting.  With so many options like material, size and thickness, it can fell overwhelming.  This guide will cover each of these aspects and should help with your decision-making.

Thickness

Yoga mats can come in a range of thicknessess and are usually measured in the metric system of millimeters (mm).  If a yoga mat is too thin, certain poses may be hard on your knees and joints. If a mat is too thick, it may be difficult to maintain your balance and hold a pose. Here are three of the main yoga mat thickness levels at a glance:

  • Heavy Yoga Mat: Generally, a thick yoga mat, or heavy yoga mat will be 1/4"-5/16" or 6-8mm. Higher-end, premium mats will typically be 1/4" thick to offer the best comfort and support while also being open cell making them lighter than inexpensive mats with similar thickness. 
  • Standard Yoga Mat: Standard yoga mats are the most commonly used and are generally about 1/8” thick or 4-5mm. These offer a perfect combination of performance and portability. If you practice often, consider purchasing a standard thickness yoga mat because they provide enough cushioning for your knees, but are light and thin enough to carry to and from the studio on a regular basis.
  • Light Yoga Mat: If you're constantly on-the-go or are looking to practice Yoga when you travel, then light yoga mats are the perfect solution. Half as thick as a standard mat, 1/16" or 1-3mm yoga mats will fit in any yoga mat bag with room to spare and are often known as travel yoga matsas they are easy to fold as well as roll. Aside from portability, thin are an excellent option if you prefer the natural feel of touching the ground.

Size

A standard yoga mat is 24" x 68", but the length can sometimes vary (the width will almost always remain 24"). 72" and 74" are typical alternative lengths, but some yoga mats are as long as 84". While most yogis will fit on a standard-sized mat, taller yogis will need to experiment a little. Start off by trying to do a downward-facing dog pose on a standard yoga mat. As long as your hands and feet are securely on the mat, then the length is sufficient.


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