You may think you know how thick a yoga mat is. It's true that most yoga mats are relatively thin, but there are actually several different thicknesses available. If you're experiencing pain with your regular yoga mat, it might be time to look into something thicker.
What are the advantages of a thicker yoga mat?
The primary advantage of a thick or extra thick yoga mat is comfort. A thicker, well-cushioned mat is likely to be more comfortable and a bit easier on your joints. Your knees, elbows, and other points of contact will thank you for investing in a thicker mat. Those with existing injuries or bad knees will be particularly grateful for a more cushioned base of practice.
What are some things to consider in a thick yoga mat?
While a thicker mat is more comfortable, there are a few challenges to consider. A more cushioned mat might make balance a bit more difficult. However, those who are relatively new to yoga would probably benefit from a thicker mat because the early phases of yoga focus more on what is called gentle or restorative yoga that has less concentration on balance and pose. For those who are just beginning to practice yoga poses, the reduced balance that can occur with thick mats can be overcome by thicker mats that offer higher impact absorption. Many thick yoga mats may have less grip to the floor. For this reason, it's a good idea to consider whether or not the mat has any added texture. Many thick mats do have a non-slip raised pattern.
What other features should you look for when shopping for a yoga mat?
Thickness is just one feature to think about when buying a new yoga mat. Considering whether the mat has a smooth texture or has some stickiness or traction is an important consideration. A slick and smooth mat is not ideal for most yoga. You may want to consider the material the mat is made from, especially if you're more eco-friendly or if you have any allergies. Many yoga mats come with bonus features like carrying straps so you might want to shop for a mat with this convenient feature. Last but not least is style. It's always nice to have a yoga mat that you enjoy looking at. Luckily, there are many great options featuring a variety of colors and patterns.
What yoga mat thicknesses are available?
These are the typical thicknesses you'll see when shopping for a yoga mat:
Standard thickness mats - 1/8 inches
Thin or travel mats - 1/16 inches
Thick or extra thick mats - Anything over 1/8 inches, with many thick mats landing in the thickness range of 2/5 inches to 1/2 inches