Your mat, your faithful yoga mat knows how to welcome you with all the warmth every single time. You may have skipped your yoga practice for something else, but you know who’s always there to listen to your calm and lift you up? – your support system, your yoga mat. Must we say more about the importance of your yoga mat?
In this article, we will be highlighting some of the factors we want you to consider when buying your yoga mat. We genuinely believe that everyone is different and has different expectations from their yoga practice. Meaning the ultimate question, “what size yoga mat should I get” has no standard answer to it, as it solely depends on your personal preferences and values. It’s advised to think about what’s important to you, what you want to achieve from your yoga practice, and what your body is comfortable with.
Do you know what’s a great starting point to start your exploration? – Finding out what the standard size of yoga mats are all about.
What Is The Standard Size Of A Yoga Mat?
We always like to use the standard yoga mat size as a reference point. The length, width and thickness are all equally important. So, how wide is a yoga mat? A standard yoga mat has a width of 24 inches (60.96 cm) and a length of 68 inches (172.72 cm), with a thickness of 3mm on average.
Now let’s talk about how it is relevant. The standard size of a yoga mat is designed for someone who has a maximum height of 5ft 8”. So if you know your height, you already have an idea of the yoga mat dimensions you’ll need.
To summarize, there’s no perfect or ideal size. It all comes down to your height and your preferred padding and cushioning thickness.
To give you more direction with the standard thickness, 3.175mm is more common to find. They are an excellent choice for regular practitioners with solid core strength and flexibility. There are thicker mats, but they are more suitable for beginners, people with sensitive joints and subtle flow from pose to pose.
How Long Is a Yoga Mat Good For?
The first thing that should cross your mind is durability – when deciding what size yoga mat should I get? The durability of yoga mats purely depends on three factors. How frequently you are using your mat, how well you maintain it in terms of cleanliness, and of course, the quality of the mat itself. If you bought your mat for $10 to $20, it would last you for a maximum of a year until it starts to have a funny odor.
Some mats can last for five years, but the investment is much higher ($70-$80). The durability of all yoga mats also heavily depend on the material used to make them, in other words, the quality. Whichever mat you get, it is essential to clean them regularly. For example, we suggest a regular wipe after every session and a deeper clean once every month with water and soap. You can also find some DIY cleaning recipes to help you find easy cleaning solutions for your yoga mat.
If you want to derive actual numbers to determine the length and width of the mat, do the following! Try the following poses, and don’t forget to measure the exact distance between your toes and fingers.
- Downward-Facing Dog
- Corpse Pose or vigorous, flowing Ashtanga practices.
- The Four-Limbed Staff Pose.
Your face should not go over and out of the mat. That is the first red flag. In this case, you should opt for a mat that’s a few inches longer to fit your body comfortably. Next, we will go through some of the factors we live by, so keep reading.
This one is rather a prominent factor. Thickness is as essential as the length and width of the mat. We have already gone through the standard thickness of yoga mats, which is somewhere around 3 mm. But there are lightweight options in the market for better portability, which can have a thickness of only 1.5 mm.
There are mats with 4 mm to 5 mm thickness as well. They are designed for people who need that extra padding for their knee or back. We will explain the relevance of the yoga mat thickness guide further in detail, so sit tight.
The good news is, there is a wide range of yoga mats available made with different materials to serve your needs. You’ll find everything from natural materials like rubber and cotton to synthetic materials like latex, even with a combination of blends.
Basic Sticky Mat
They will stick to the floor, providing you with ample support. And that is exactly what you need when doing yoga. They are popular for the grippy feeling, helping you balance your body weight during standing poses.
Cotton and Hemp
They are thicker than standard mats, offering improved padding and cushioning. They are great at absorbing sweat and easy to clean as well. Honest tip: they are not the best for traction, and therefore can feel slippery on some surfaces.
Foam Yoga Mats
A beginner yogi’s first choice should be a foam yoga mat. Foam filling enhances security on the surface with it’s cushiony feeling. They are also suitable for yoga who suffer from joint pain, knees in particular. The feel of foam provides comfort while posing. Foam yoga mats are also known to be sweat resistant. They are lighter in weight and great for durability.
Natural Rubber Mats
The most basic, standard and oldest types of mats are rubber ones. They are an excellent choice even now. They are non-toxic to humans and also eco-friendly. You may also come across rubber mats with a blend of cork for increased grip.
Au-naturel. It is probably the most realistic option out there. They are sticky, eco-friendly, and known for their durability. What’s not to love about them?
A cork yoga mat has an all natural base of rubber made from wood. The rubber on the surface of the mat is the highlight – as it has great stickability. They look luxurious and feel solid – making it good value for money. They are slightly heavier than foam and PVC – making it the ultimate base for the most difficult movements.
In this article, we will be discussing more materials to compare them with durability and sustainable living practice for you to make a perfect choice. Wait for it!
The texture is how you will feel on the mat. That is precisely why the texture is important. It dictates traction, which is a deciding factor in terms of grip, stickiness and your flow. It’s important to remember your movements on the mat. There has to be comfort and ease when you change your poses. The good news is, there’s a yoga mat texture for everyone – so suit yourself.
Here is a basic guideline for you for textures. If you value smoothness over everything, PVC is the one for you. And if your prime importance is anti-slippery mats, then avoid PVC mats. Rather opt for a rubber, cotton or jute based mat. They offer a better grip that can prevent slipping even during challenging balancing poses. To sum it up, there’s a yoga mat texture that fulfills everyone’s needs – so suit yourself.
Stickiness is hands down the most crucial component for yoga poses. You need a mat to support your movements. A sticky mat’s job is to stick to the floor and let you flow away without any worries and discomfort. PVC mats are known to be the best for this cause. They are slip-resistant. End of the day, it again depends on what you want. So without hesitating, put yourself first to choose the right yoga mat.
Just one tip to ensure your investment is worth it. Make sure you are cleaning your mat regularly, following the rules based on its material to secure the stickiness of the mat. Simple rule, look after it, it’ll look after you too.
Honestly, standard mats are great for all yoga routines, such as Hatha to a basic flowing Vinyasa. The thicker ones are suitable if you are concerned about an injury, so you need extra padding. To be more precise, they are used for restorative and Yin sessions. You will be spending more time lying on your back, so sitting down, so you’ll have a sense of comfort.
Thinner mats are also an option for yogis who enjoy balancing and standing positions. They will give you a more sturdy foundation for your body. In addition, they are slightly thinner than a standard mat, which is 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) in thickness.
Yes, we meant it when we said yoga mats meet everyone’s requirements. In addition, there are earth-friendly mats in the market targeted at yogis who are concerned about the environment and sustainability.
The eco-friendly mats are made using natural resources like rubber, cotton, jute, etc. Of course, you may have to compromise on the stickiness and grip if you purchase eco-friendly ones. But the good news is that the natural texture on these yoga mats offers excellent traction for your body.
Well, we all know the price in most cases decides the quality. For yoga mats, it is the same case. But we are not saying the more, the better.
The price of your yoga mat depends on which material you opt for. You have the freedom of choosing the most basic yoga mat that ranges from $10-$20, which are readily available in most stores.
You will find yoga mats for $7.00, but it’s essential to understand that you trust your body with your mat. A lousy quality mat that does not pass any of the crucial factors might end up leaving you an injury. Don’t be penny-wise; pound foolish. A good and reliable mat can range from $50 to $100. Some of the high-end mats come with perks, ticking all the right points, such as material, quality, durability, sustainability.
There are also premium quality branded yoga mats that are investment pieces that can cost up to $200.
Yoga Mat Materials and Durability
Materials used to make a yoga mat decide its quality and durability. Therefore, we always suggest paying extra attention to the materials when choosing a new mat.
Firstly, these materials are not biodegradable and not environmentally friendly. Some chemicals included are often hazardous and toxic to humans. The use of phthalates and polyvinyl chloride can cause hormonal imbalance, so it’s best to gather your knowledge before purchasing them.
Usually, the more affordable mats that range between $10-$20 are made from PVC. It is made from a plastic-based source known for its durability and excellent grip. They are also easily washable. However, these mats are non-absorbent, so there is a chance for them to become slippery if you sweat a lot. For your information, particularly for those with latex allergies, PVC is a wise choice, as it is completely latex-free.
TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
Mats made of TPE are a blend of plastic and rubber polymers. These are relatively more eco-friendly than PVC, and some are 100% recyclable. Durability is slightly less but still offers similar traction. As a result, they have recently become a popular choice for technology advancements. However, they need proper care; otherwise, they can break easily.
Eco-friendly mats are the least durable yet have become the most popular due to their sustainability. For yogis concerned about protecting our planet earth, environmentally friendly products always make it to the top of the list. Hence some manufacturers focus on making mats with innovative emission-free processes, leaving minimum impact on the environment.
There are mats made from 100% recyclable materials like rubber, cotton, jute, cork and woven grass. So if you are interested, you can look up some of these eco-friendly ones to match your beliefs.
How To Find The Right Size For Yourself
The right size depends on your height, postures, balance, and your practice location. For example, the surface texture should also be considered when choosing the right size.
As mentioned above, your needs should be prioritized. Have a clear understanding of your expectations and surroundings. For example, will you be traveling with your yoga mat? Are you buying one to treat an injury as part of your physiotherapy sessions? Are you a beginner? Or are you desperate to correct a difficult standing pose?
Lastly, how tall are you? Are you satisfied with the standard ones with a typical yoga mat size? If you are shorter than 6 feet (182 cm), it is safe to buy a standard-sized yoga mat. First, however, we will give you a breakdown of the ideal yoga mat size chart.
For Taller Yogis
So if you’re taller than 6 feet (182 cm), you will need to buy a longer and broader mat for your body to fit in comfortably. Yoga is about stretching and spreading your hands and legs. So make sure you are buying a yoga mat that allows your mind and body to perform the poses comfortably. Maybe look for something within 72 (182 cm) to 74 inches (188 cm) in length.
For The Standard Height Yogis
We have already mentioned how long a yoga mat is, but just for you – The standard mats range from 68 (172 cm) to 70 inches (177 cm), which are made for people with a height of 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm) or below. Having said that, if you consider yourself to be a plus-size yogi, pick a wider mat, please.
For sensitive joints
Yoga is a fantastic way to recover from joint pain and back injuries. It is common practice for physiotherapists, chiropractors to recommend yoga as a form of treatment. However, not just for medical purposes, anyone can face mild back pain, and yoga does a beautiful job of making you feel healthier and more robust. But, of course, with the help of the mat.
If you suffer from joint pain or back issues or have had surgeries recently, please choose a thicker mat. The question is, how thick should your yoga mat be for it to protect you? We recommend a 4mm to 5mm thickness, slightly more than standard ones. It will secure your muscles and bones and help you gain better momentum during your poses.
Warning: Thicker mats are not the best option for balancing positions, so please don’t overestimate the power of your mat. You can end up with bad injuries if you are not careful.
Yoga Poses and Mats
So you may have come across different patterns and textures on mats, they have a purpose. Yes some of them are just made prettier for the looks, but most of them have a deeper purpose than looks. The variety in materials derive your hand and feet movements for yoga poses. Texture on the mats also depends on the style of yoga you practice. Let’s give you a better idea:
Ashtanga Yoga – This is an aggressive style of yoga that requires a sticky mat. We recommend a cork mat that’s made of natural rubber, or TPE mats with their anti-slip property. Both are great even for super sweaty sessions.
Hatha Yoga – Hatha poses are more leaned towards beginners. Less rigorous, and covers many different classes that focus on physical postures. covers a wide range of classes that teach physical postures. For Hatha Yoga, regular foam mats are the best – as it gives you support to balance your poses as a beginner.
Bikram/Hot Yoga – Both are incessantly sweaty and similar styles of yoga. The room temperature for these classes are usually really hot – close to 100 degrees. So your hands and feet can feel very slippery, therefore you need to choose a mat that’s anti-slip like a natural rubber mat. We also recommend using a yoga towel to have better grip. Trust us when we say you’ll be sweating a ton.
Iyengar – This particular style is all about perfecting your alignment. It is a steady style but makes your core do the maximum work – so expect a lot of sweat from this one as well. Your heart rate will increase during Iyengar. This is a game of balance – so get a mat that supports you to stay balanced during poses. Stickability or foamy is not required in this case – but rather opt for a mat that is thinner allowing you to maintain your balance. Maybe ¼” or go thinner with ⅛” mats.
Restorative – Restorative style is known to be a much more gentle form of yoga. Probably the gentlest of all. You might want to get a comfortable mat to enhance your experience of restorative yoga. You’ll be lying down for most parts – so we suggest cotton mats. May as well nap it out after the session – don’t see why not!
Vinyasa – This is a modified version of Hatha Yoga. The only difference lies in the pace and flow of the poses. Vinyasa poses are much faster, and shift from one asana to another is more rapid in comparison to Hatha. Flow is key in this form of yoga. We recommend a mat that sticks well to the floor. You’d also want a smooth surface for your shifts – so again natural rubber is a great option for Vinyasa.
Let’s jump back to the original question. The answer to “What size yoga mat do I need” honestly lies within yourself. So, talk to yourself about what’s important, your comfort, your routine, your body and the space you practise on, and lastly, your affordability. All these factors will help you to determine your preferred size. We hope you are good to go now to grab yours. Happy shopping!