If you are wondering what size yoga mat is right for you, you are not alone. One of the most asked questions I get as a yoga instructor is what's the best mat and which size.
Picking a yoga mat can be super overwhelming. And there is no wonder! A quick internet search for "yoga mats" gives you a slew of mat companies and yoga brands saying they all have the perfect mat for you.
Your yoga mat becomes apart of your yogic journey and finding the right one is important. Having a good mat is the difference between having a good yoga class or a bad one. And the last thing you want to happen is to buy a mat, only to find your whole body doesn't fit on it when you lay down.
To help make finding the right size yoga mat easier for you, this post will guide you through the most important things to consider when it comes to mat size so that your next savasana is the best savasana.
Yoga mat thickness
Mat thickness is one of the biggest complaints I heard form students, second to hands slipping constantly. It is essential to find a mat that feels good under your body in a variety of positions.
A thin mat might feel fine for standing poses, but as soon as you go into a kneeling pose your knees will be screaming!
A standard mat thickness is around 3 mm which is about ⅛" thick. Which yoga friends, is not very thick.
I recommend a thickness of 5mm (3/16") for all yoga mats that you will be using in a studio or home practice. It's worth it to have those extra 2 mm of padding in poses where bony prominences or knees are involved.
5 mm is thin enough where you can still feel the ground underneath and won't challenge things like balance. It still might not be enough if you have very sensitive knees so be sure to check out "other things to consider" if you do.
Mat length is really important, because a standard mat is actually pretty short. Most standard yoga mats are 68" in length.
This length will work great for anyone under 5'5", but if you are 5'7" or above I would consider a mat around 71". Each company offers different lengths. If you find that the company offers 68" or 74" and you are 5'7" or taller I would go with the 74" for max comfort.
You want to have enough room to lay down and not have your heels or head hanging of one of the ends. It's the worst to lay down for supine poses and have to pick what end is going to have to hang off the mat on the hard floor.
If you are 5'7" that means you are 67 inches long, which means you only have 1 inch left to play with if you purchase a standard 68" mat.
Most companies also carry an extra long mat. This isn't necessary unless you are extra tall. Just follow the guide of thinking about your height in inches and making sure you have about 2 inches to play with above your height if possible.
Standard yoga mat width is 24 inches. This will work for most cases. If you feel like you would like some extra room on the sides keep in mind you can find mats that are extra wide, typically around 36".
What not to buy
I do want to take a moment to talk about what is NOT a yoga mat. In my years of teaching, it never fails for a new student at least once a month to bring a mat to class that is not a yoga mat.
Super thick mats like the above picture are Pilates mats, not yoga. They will slip all over the place and you will not be able to hold a downward dog without your hands sliding. Even if this is the only mat you own, don't bring it to yoga class. Just use one of the ones you can rent/borrow at the studio.
These mats tend to be shorter as well.
You could, if very desperate for padding due to special circumstances, place one of these mats under your yoga mat if it is short enough to fit safely under the yoga mat. It may slide some, but will really help if you have had something like a knee surgery.
Other things to consider
Here are a few other things to think about when deciding what size mat to go with.
Travel- If you are traveling with your mat and need to fold it up, consider a travel mat. These are ultra thin and not ideal for a regular practice, but perfect for on the go.
Space- Think about how much room you have to practice. You may be limited on space in your home or in your yoga studio, where most places have you sectioned off to a designated space.
Bulkiness- A super thick or long mat will be bulky and heavy to carry. Keep that in mind before you go crazy and think bigger is always better.
Injuries/Surgeries- Age, previous injuries and surgeries all can change the way it feels to be in weird positions on the ground. You may need extra cushion if you have sensitive joints/knees hips. Just remember it may be harder to balance with a thicker mat.
My favorite yoga mat recommendation
My favorite yoga mat is the Manduka Prolite. I am 5'7" and have the 71 inch mat and it is a comfortable mat for me.
The thickness is perfect and I do have some knee tenderness from previous injuries. Manduka offers a thicker mat if needed.
Another highly recommended brand my my fellow yoga instructor friends is Jade.
These mats are both on the pricey side, but will be worth price you pay. There is nothing like spending money on a yoga mat you can't use. I have been there and done that when it comes to grabbing the cute yoga mat at TJ Maxx, or even trying the expensive Lululemon mats, all to be disappointed.
A good yoga mat is an investment but will be well worth it when you realize you feel safe from not slipping and comfortable because you picked the right size mat.
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Leave me your thoughts or questions below! I would love to hear what mat you decide to go with.