How to Choose a Yoga Mat

Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on August 17, 2022

For yogis both new and experienced, choosing the right yoga mat is vital to being able to perform yoga comfortably and efficiently — but how do you choose a yoga mat that is the right fit for you? How do you decide which is the best yoga mat for your lifestyle?

There are many types of yoga mats with varying thicknesses and sizes and it can seem daunting to make a choice, especially with so many options to choose from. With the following considerations in mind, you should be able to make the right choice with little to no issues. 

What Are the Different Types of Yoga Mats?

There are several different types of mats available on the market, each made with certain functionality in mind. From travel mats to cushion mats and exercise mats, it’s important to know about the different types of yoga mats so you can make an informed decision on which one would suit your lifestyle the best. These types of yoga mats include:

Travel Mats

Much like their name implies, travel mats are designed with travel in mind. These mats are easily packed up to be taken to the yoga studio, on vacations, and to overnight stays and retreats. They’re thin and lightweight and can be easily rolled up to put away or rolled out to start your yoga session. 

The downside to these mats is that they are less cushioned which may not provide you with enough support or grip. Still, they’re convenient if you plan on practicing yoga somewhere other than your home and need an easily transportable mat. 

Exercise Mats

Exercise mats and yoga mats are technically not the same things, but that doesn’t stop yogis from using exercise mats in place of yoga mats when they want more cushioning and extra protection. Exercise mats are a great choice for a variety of different exercises and yoga techniques including core training, strength training, and martial arts training. 

Cushion Mats

When it comes to cushioned yoga mats, there are a few different types to consider: 

  • Absorbent mats: Absorbent cushioned mats are the ideal, go-to yoga mat choice for many yogis and are generally what you would think of when you think of yoga mats. They are firmly cushioned, which makes them comfortable, and their top layer absorbs sweat and water which allows you to hold your grip during sweaty workouts. Unfortunately, these mats aren’t the easiest to clean and take a while to dry, but the pros outweigh the cons.
  • Nonabsorbent mats: Nonabsorbent mats are similar to their absorbent counterparts; except their top layer isn’t made of absorbent material which leaves you prone to slipping during sweaty workout sessions. However, these mats still provide you with firm cushioning to keep you comfortable while exercising.
  • Cork-topped firm mats: With cork-topped firm cushion mats, you can expect to get an adequate amount of firm cushioning much like the absorbent and nonabsorbent mats. The difference here, though, is that the cork-topped mat’s top layer is made from a thin layer of cork. Being made from cork makes it easier to clean, but a word of caution: when these mats are dry, they tend to be slippery. Still, if you’re working up a sweat, you can relax — cork-topped mats provide enough grip to keep damp hands from slipping.
  • Soft mats: Lastly, soft cushioned mats provide you with the most cushioning out of any of the abovementioned ones. Their top layers are nonabsorbent, easy to clean, and offer a quick dry. Thanks to their soft quality, these mats tend to be flexible and stretchy which may benefit those who like ground-based exercises. However, since they are soft and flexible, the stability of these mats isn’t the best, and their grip is nonexistent when placed on smooth surfaces.

What Are the Different Sizes of Yoga Mats and How Do I Choose One?

Yoga mats come in many different sizes, just as they come in many different types. As far as average yoga mat sizes go, 24 x 68 to 72 inches is the standard. This size will suit most yogis but there are some factors to consider that may warrant a larger-sized mat. 

For those who are around 5-feet-8 or 6-foot tall, a yoga mat that is 72 inches will be enough. However, for those who are taller than 6 feet, it would be wise to choose a mat that is longer than 72 inches so that your feet do not hang off the edge. Even if you’re just at the mark of 6 feet, it may be beneficial to your comfort level to opt for a mat that is greater than 72 inches in length. Not only will it provide you with more comfort but it will also give you extra room to practice yoga. 

Another variation in size is 24 x 84 inches. These mat sizes are great for those who are tall or just want the extra room. 

In terms of width, 24 inches is the standard but some mats are 28 and 38 inches. So, if you’re asking about yoga mat sizes and what I need, rest assured there’s a mat size for pretty much everyone. Use your physical dimensions to help you in picking the right one for you and remember to choose one that is bigger than you if you want optimal comfort. 

What Are Other Considerations for Choosing Yoga Mats?

Choosing the right yoga mat doesn’t come down to just type and size. It also comes down to the thickness of the mat and where to purchase them. 

Typically, the thickness of mats ranges from 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm. The thicker the mat, the better it will protect you from getting injured. However, thicker mats will make it more difficult to perform balanced poses than thinner ones. So, it’s recommended that beginners opt for 6mm to 8mm thickness while more advanced yogis should select thinner ones.

As for where to buy yoga mats, you can find them in general retail stores such as Walmart and Target, sporting goods stores such as DICK'S Sporting Goods, or online retailers such as Amazon. 

Regardless of which type, size, or thickness of mat you choose, it’s important to have a yoga mat when practicing yoga. It will help in protecting your body from injuries, improve your balance, and maintain your body’s temperature.

Show Sources


Consumer Reports: “We Tested 19 Yoga Mats. Here's What We Found.”

YogaBear: “What Size Yoga Mat Do I Need? Tips To Choose The Right Size.”

Yogauthority: “What Size of Yoga Mat Do I Need?”

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