If you are new to yoga and shopping around for your first yoga mat, you might have discovered that yoga mats come in different sizes and thicknesses!
Needless to say, this can make buying the right yoga mat confusing.
And size and thickness are not even the only factors to consider, as texture and material are also important to take into account.
But let’s keep things simple. How thick should a yoga mat be?
The short answer is that it depends on how thick you want or need the yoga mat to be.
Thick yoga mats have their benefits, but so do thin yoga mats.
And to find the best thickness for you, make sure to keep reading.
How Thick Are Yoga Mats?
Yoga mats come in different thicknesses. And which one you choose is a matter of preference, functionality, and purpose.
In general, most yoga mats range from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in thickness – sometimes thicker. But the most popular, or widely used, yoga mat thickness is 1/8 inch thick.
Travel yoga mats are also popular and can be as thin as 1/16 inch in thickness.
So, where do preference, functionality, and purpose come in?
Some yogis just prefer thick yoga mats for softness and comfort, while others prefer thin yoga mats for a more tactile feel.
As for functionality, thinner yoga mats are simply going to be ideal for carrying around and taking on trips.
Purpose matters as well, as if you plan on practising advanced arm-balancing yoga poses, it goes without saying that you’ll want a thicker yoga mat for safety!
What Are Yoga Mats Made From?
Just the different yoga mat thicknesses, yoga mats come in different materials.
Again, this is worth considering, as this can determine the thickness, texture, breathability, durability, and portability of the yoga mat.
If you want to use an eco-friendly yoga mat, this is another reason to be aware of the yoga mat you’re buying!
Most yoga mats are made from polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC.
Other common yoga mat materials are thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and polymer environmental resin (PER).
Those aren’t the only yoga mat materials you’ll find on the market, however. Other materials include natural rubber, synthetic rubber, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), jute, and even cork.
The Benefits Of Thin Yoga Mats
Now that you know the most common thicknesses and materials of yoga mats let’s run through the benefits of thin yoga mats – yoga mats that are 1/8 inch thick or less.
These include being:
- More portable
- More storable
- More tactile
- More breathable/cool
- More versatile
Thin yoga mats are ideal for portability and storability; they can be easily rolled up and carried, making them great sidekicks for the travelling yogi.
Thin yoga mats are also more tactile, making them the preferred choice for yoga enthusiasts who like greater contact with the ground (a harder surface) for yoga poses that require balance and control.
And since thin yoga mats, including 1/8 thick yoga mats, are generally more popular, this can provide a bigger range of materials, colors, and price options to choose from.
There are downsides to thin yoga mats, however, and these include reduced comfort and safety.
The Benefits Of Thick Yoga Mats
We can’t talk about the benefits of thin yoga mats without going over the benefits of thick yoga mats – yoga mats that are more than 1/8 inch thick.
These include being:
- More comfortable (soft)
- More stable
- More insulated (warmer to use)
It should go without saying that thick yoga mats are going to be softer and, therefore more comfortable.
This can be ideal for people who are prone to knee pain or elbow pain when performing certain yoga poses.
Thicker yoga mats are also safer, in general, providing more shock absorption if you were to fall or tumble – for example, while practising arm-balancing poses such as crow pose or headstand.
Despite that, thick yoga mats have downsides, such as reduced portability and storability due to heaviness and the increased difficulty of rolling them up.
Should You Buy A Thin Or Thick Yoga Mat?
So, which should you buy – a thin or thick yoga mat?
If you are largely on the fence and want to get the best of both worlds, it’s worth opting for a yoga mat that’s 1/8 inch in thickness.
This is the most popular thickness of yoga mat, providing a mixture of comfort and stability.
If, however, you travel around a lot or want a yoga mat that will be easy to carry to and from yoga class, you might want to choose a thinner yoga mat (less than 1/8 inch in thickness).
These are easier to roll up and lighter to carry around.
On the other hand, if you prefer comfort or want a safer yoga mat for practising advanced yoga poses (such as arm-balancing yoga poses), it will probably be better to opt for a thicker yoga mat (more than 1/8 inch in thickness).
Best Yoga Mat Brands
Lastly, to help you choose the right yoga mat for you (one that will last longer and provide the best yoga experience), here are some of the best yoga mat brands on the market right now – the brands that are worth investing in!
- Alo Yoga
Of course, by investing in a trusted yoga mat brand, you can expect better quality and, therefore, better durability, stability, and performance.
Summarizing the above, how thick your yoga mat should depend on preference, portability, and the yoga poses you will be doing.
Thin yoga mats that are less than 1/8 inch thick are more portable and tactile, while thick yoga mats that are more than 1/8 inch thick are more comfortable and safe.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to meet in the middle and get a 1/8 inch yoga mat, which is widely considered the most popular thickness.