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Whether you are starting yoga or are already an experienced, practicing yogi, you probably are aware of the importance of finding the right yoga mat. Besides the obvious considerations of cost, brand, and size, the single most important difference is the thickness of your mat and this is also the most important consideration in terms of comfort, stability, and safety.

The Yoga Mat in Practice

The yoga mat forms the connection between your body and the ground which in a spiritual sense, is also one of the core principles guiding the yoga practice. Your connection with the earth is a necessary component to ground oneself while at the same time transcend the limitations of the mind and the physical realms, through the guided practice of various poses that stretch and expand your spiritual, physical and mental states. The yoga mat, therefore, is the foundation for your connection to the solid and static ground and has significance to your aim of finding yourself, stretching your body’s limitations and achieving a satisfying and awakening experience.

The Thickness of Your Yoga Mat

 

Putting the other considerations aside and focusing on the thickness of the yoga mat you choose can help to narrow down the numerous options and should give you a good sense of what will be best to help you achieve the goals of your yoga practice. Yoga mats should be thin enough to maintain a core connection with the earth but at the same time should be thick enough to give you a better ability to balance, eliminate discomfort, and prevent any possible injury. Standard yoga mats are available in a range of thicknesses but the most common and generally recommended boils down to one of two thicknesses: either a 3mm or 5mm mat thickness. It may not seem like much of a difference but the following is a breakdown of some of the main features of the 3mm and the 5mm mat.

1. The 3mm Mat

The 3mm mat is a very lightweight option and is very easy to carry around so is a good choice if you travel or attend yoga classes in a studio outside of your home. They come in various materials and typically have some kind of slip resistant coating to prevent sliding on the floor which is usually more common with thinner mats as opposed to thicker ones. The traction coatings also help to keep your body from slipping if you sweat or perspire during your session. The 3mm thickness is on the thinner side which will give you a solid connection to your base which can be good for maintaining balance and providing a fixed ground however, if you have sensitive joints or have had any kind of injury to your bones, this may not be the best option since you will be in closer contact with the ground and the 3mm mat does not provide too much cushion or absorbency from impact.

2. The 5mm Mat

The 5mm mat, in contrast, is considerably more cushiony even though a 2mm difference might not seem like a lot. The 5mm also comes in a variety of materials but thicker mats have less likelihood of sliding on the floor since the heavier weight means that it won’t move too much. Most mats have some sort of grip or traction though, which you will find is very useful if you sweat, but with the thicker 5mm mat, you may discover that it is quite a bit heavier if you will be carrying it around. Then 5mm should be a better option for anyone who experiences discomfort in their bones or joints because it will provide much more absorbency from impact and also will cushion your movements more during pose transitions. With the thicker mat, the reduced contact with the ground may make your solid connectionless pronounced but if comfort is a major consideration, then you might find the 5mm to be the most suitable for you.
As you can see, the thickness of your yoga mat is an important element in your yoga practice so it is essential to choose one that will suit your body, its needs, the style of yoga you will practice, the frequency of your yoga practice, and your specific comfort levels. Once you find the mat that is best for you, you will be in the right position to enjoy the many benefits of this inspirational and restorative discipline.

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