The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Yoga Mat Size
Selecting the right size of yoga mat is dependent on two main factors…
First, how tall are you? If you have ever tried laying down in Shavasana with your heels hanging off the end of the mat, or worse yet - your head off the mat, then you know how bothersome this can be.
Second, how much padding do you want? If you have ever tried a “travel” yoga mat then you know first hand how hard the floor can suddenly feel when doing yoga.
Let’s explore five common questions you’ll face when selecting a yoga mat. This way when you’re researching your next purchase you’ll be better ready to make a decision.
It’s best to start at the beginning with what a “normal” size looks like...
What's The Standard Size Of A Yoga Mat?
The standard size of a yoga mat is 68 inches long and 24 inches wide.
The normal thickness of a yoga mat is 4-5 mm. That’s about 3/16ths of an inch.
How does that translate to your height is the real question here. A standard 68 inch mat should be okay for someone who is five foot eight inches right?
It’s not always that simple though…
This is where a lot of first-time yoga mat buyers go wrong in the process. First, we consider how tall we are. Then as long as we are not taller than the yoga mat we think, “This will work!” So we buy the mat and regret our decision later.
Or worse yet, perhaps you’re almost six feet tall and the clerk tells you, “it’s just the standard size so you’ll be fine.”
Let’s talk more about finding what’s best for your height.
What Is The Best Size For A Yoga Mat?
What is the best size for a yoga mat?
It’s best to have at least 3 inches of wiggle room.
This means that if you are five foot five inches inches, you’ll be okay with a “standard” mat size of 68 inches because you’ll have those extra 3 inches when you’re laying down.
If you are are just a little bit taller at five and a half feet then it’s probably best to just get a mat that is 72 inches long. That’s typically the next size up from 68”.
Sadly, there is no exact science behind this because it’s all about preference.
After teaching classes for 1000’s of hours you start to hear dozens of students make comments about their mats. “It’s too short for my long legs.” Or, “It doesn’t hold my hands when I sweat,” and lots more...
The one thing I have never heard a student say is, “I think my mat is too long.” Lots of yoga students wish they had bought a longer mat, but very few wish their mat was shorter.
So, what is the best yoga mat size?
- If you are 5’5” go with a standard 68” mat
- If you are between 5’6” and 6’ you should be okay with a 72” mat.
- If you are over 6’ then consider going with a 80” to 84” mat
Just keep in mind the really long 84” inch mats can be a bit awkward to fit into public yoga classes that are packed. If your local studio is typically at capacity for each class then you’ll probably get a few strange looks as you flop down your humongous mat taking up more space than you are normally allotted.
What Is Standard Yoga Mat Size In mm?
Most yoga mats are 4 to 6 millimeters, or about 3/16 of an inch thick.
While it’s important to consider the length of your yoga mat, it’s almost more important to keep in mind the thickness. This is because you need the appropriate amount of cushion when you do yoga.
Unlike length - the rule of, “The more the better!” doesn’t apply here. Super thick mats (which aren’t really yoga mats) are best for gym workouts. For most people the standard yoga mat thickness of 4-6 mm will work just fine.
Is A 4mm Or A 6mm Mat Better?
4mm mats are favored by people who don’t need much padding when practicing yoga. A thinner mat typically lends itself to doing standing and balancing poses better. 6mm mats are preferred by people who like a bit more cushion as it lends itself to seated poses better.
Age is also a common factor for choosing thickness in a yoga mat. As our joints wear down with age we tend to lean towards thicker mats like a 6mm size. These mats make the whole process of getting up and down a bit less taxing on our bodies.
There is also something to be said for buying a thicker mat because it’s a bit more durable and will last longer.
How long is a yoga mat good for?
You can expect it to last about 9 to 12 months before it begins to smell funny. That is if you bought a cheaper $10 to $20 mat.
More expensive mats will typically last much longer. Even upward of 5 years depending on how often you use them.
All of this typically depends on the materials that are used.
What Are The Best Materials For A Mat?
What are the best materials for a mat?
The best materials are typically different sorts of rubber.
Without going into too much detail, you’ll generally want to avoid mats made with PVC. This material is not ecologically friendly. Furthermore, some of the chemicals used to make PVC mats can be toxic to humans.
If you’ve seen yoga mats priced between $10 and $20 then you can almost be assured it’s made from PVC.
Instead, aim for your mats to have materials such as:
- Natural rubber from rubber trees
Most all of the above materials will be relatively non toxic and still have a good feel/grip to them when doing yoga.
Conclusion & Examples
When choosing a yoga mat you’ll want to keep in mind your height and how much padding you’ll need.
Let’s assume you are 5’7”, 32 years old, and in overall good health. You’ll most likely want a yoga mat that meets these standards:
- 68” long
- At least 4mm of padding
- Not made of PVC
If you are 5’10”, 67 years old, and have mild issues with your knees then look for this:
- 72” long
- At least 6mm of padding
- Not made of PVC
As stated above if you are much taller than 6” you’ll want to entertain mats that are up to 80” long. This way you won’t feel confined by a smaller mat.
I hope this guide has helped provide you with some information on the various sizes of yoga mats and how to find the best one for you.
What’s your experience with finding a good mat? Let us know below!