When doing yoga, everyone wants to be relaxed and comfortable on their yoga mat for the ultimate experience. After all, that’s the prime goal of yoga! However, when you sit on a mat that is so thin that you can feel your ankles digging into the floor below, it’s hard to focus on your breathing.
Choosing the right yoga mat depends on a few factors, thickness being a major one. The thickness of your mat can affect your overall experience as it has an impact on your knees, joints, back, and hips. Once you have found the perfect mat thickness for you, you’ll be able to focus much easier on the poses and fully enjoy the experience.
Here’s a simple guide on the different thickness levels that you’ll come across when shopping for yoga gear online and their distinct advantages and disadvantages.
1/4″ or 6mm Yoga Mats
Mats featuring this thickness are the most popular ones in the industry. A great portion of high-quality yoga mats stays within the 1/4″ thickness because it is a level that has proved to be both durable and cushioning.
1/8″ or 3mm Yoga Mats
While these mats are not as thick as the 1/4″ ones, they still provide plenty of support and durability. They’re lighter and that makes them easier to be carried. Plus, they can also fit in just about any yoga mat bag. However, thinner mats will also wear and tear much faster and easier, which means you may have to replace this one a bit sooner.
1/16″ or 2mm Yoga Mats
These are probably the thinnest mats you’ll see yogis using in class. Due to their thin tick, they can be folded to fit in a travel bag, allowing you to take one with you wherever you need to. Although these mats offer great traction, they are not recommended for people with problematic knees. Most traveling yogis will use a thin mat on carpet or on the ground, so they are not dependent on them for their main source of support.
1/2″ or 12mm Yoga Mats
These are absolutely the thickest mats you can buy at any local or yoga gear online store. They are the most cushioned ones on the market and are ideal for pilates work. However, all that cushioning is not quite ideal for yoga as it is hard to find a balance for standing poses like the warrior or tree pose. These can also be pretty bulky.
Both 6mm and 3mm yoga mats are great options to attend a typical yoga class. They will provide you with a moderate degree of padding without being too thick and are suitable for most people. But if you plan to take outdoor yoga classes, a 6mm mat will provide you with a bit more comfort, especially if you are practicing yoga on a rocky or uneven surface. If you travel often, consider the 12mm mat as it is lighter to carry around.