How Thick Should a Yoga Mat Be
Yoga is a mind and body workout that aims to unify the physical body and the spirit to attain enlightenment and a higher level of focus. It has become popular in western culture in recent years and now, the practice is also considered as an exercise to gain health benefits. Yoga is a combination of meditation, breathing techniques, and poses. These poses and movements vary and sometimes made better by using tools such as yoga blocks, yoga wheels, exercise balls, ropes, and yoga mats.
Using a yoga mat during a yoga exercise as it protects and serves as a cushion especially when the yoga poses are on the ground. It prevents direct contact of the body to the ground or grass when yoga is done outside of a studio. It also prevents the body from slipping during a yoga pose when the body is sweaty, it allows the body to maintain balance and coordination by providing extra grip. The mat can also represent your sense of space and keeps the energy focused.
The most yoga studio has yoga mats available to be borrowed or rented. If you are just starting or trying out yoga, then you can opt to borrow or rent from the studio. Although, it will be a good investment to buy your own yoga mat, as this will also be important especially for hygienic purposes. There are different types of yoga mats in the market and there are also a lot of things to consider when buying one. One of these factors is how thick the yoga mat should be.
Things to Consider When Finding the Right Thickness of Your Yoga Mat
Yoga mats can be as thin as 1.59 mm up to 6.35 mm thick. A standard yoga mat is 3.18 mm thick. To find out how thick the yoga mat should be, it is important to consider the weight, body tolerance, and the style of yoga used for practicing.
1. Weight of the Yoga Mat
A thicker yoga mat will be heavier compared to a thinner yoga mat. A 6.35 mm thick yoga mat can weigh up to 3.18 kilos. The lighter the yoga mat is, the easier it is to carry it or to bring it during travel or when bringing it home, to the yoga studio, or generally outside. Many manufacturers sell lightweight yoga mats with slings or bags to make it easier to be carried and to be stored.
2. Body Tolerance
The thickness of the yoga mat also contributes to the comfort of the body when practicing yoga. Many yoga poses are performed with the bones of our body getting in contact with the floor or ground and sometimes requires holding the pose for a couple of seconds to minutes. This will be uncomfortable for people with joint problems. But this can be avoided by using a thicker yoga mat and giving better support and more cushion to the knees, elbows, joints, hips, and the back.
3. Level and Style of Yoga
The type of yoga that will be practiced is important to identify how thick the yoga mat should be. The types of yoga mats vary depending on the yoga style. A thicker yoga mat that will provide cushion and comfort is preferred when doing a restorative type of yoga or Yin classes where most of the time spent will be by sitting or lying down. A thinner yoga mat is preferred for poses that require standing and balancing. A yoga mat with standard thickness is great for any style of yoga.
The level of skill should also be considered when choosing the thickness of the yoga mat, a beginner would tend to have easier poses compared to those who have intermediate skills. The higher the level is, the more difficult the poses can be and it is important that the yoga mat can provide comfort as the difficulty also increases.
Thick Yoga Mat: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Provide better support and cushion to the joints, knees, heels, head, and other body parts.
- Lessen the soreness of the legs and ankles when sitting during a long period of time.
- Give extra padding for outdoor yoga.
- Are great to use in gentle yoga, restorative yoga, and Yin.
- Bulky and are heavier.
- May not be a stable surface when doing poses, so it can make standing poses or balancing poses harder.
- The connection to the earth will be less with a less direct connection to the ground.
- Drying thick yoga mats may take longer than thin yoga mats.
Thin Yoga Mat: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Provide a sturdier foundation for balancing during yoga poses.
- Tend to dry faster compared to thicker yoga mats. This is good, especially when washing the yoga mat or when doing yoga poses that make the body sweat more.
- Lighter compared to thicker yoga mats.
- Easier to roll up to fit the storage or luggage.
- Provide more connection to the earth.
- Thin yoga mats are bad for people with joint problems.
- If yoga is done outside on the ground and there are pebbles or sand, it can be felt more with thin yoga mats.
With the advantages and disadvantages laid out, it would be easier to choose the right yoga mat thickness. Although there are still a lot of things to consider. The easiest option would be for choosing the standard 3.18 mm yoga mat compared to a thinner or a thicker yoga mat, especially for beginners. Choosing the other two thickness may be considered if other factors are also checked.
The thickness of the yoga mat is important as it will determine your comfort while doing yoga exercises. The yoga mat should be able to provide help in doing difficult exercises. In whatever style of yoga or position you are currently learning; it is important that it is done while the body and mind are relaxed to be able to get the full benefits of this practice.