Finding Balance in your Practice: Looking at a 3mm vs 5mm Yoga Mat
Whether you’re just starting your yoga practice, or are a seasoned yogi, having the right mat for your needs is important for balance and grip.
A yoga mat’s thickness can affect your yoga experience, so having the right thickness could mean a better session for you in the long run. For me, it comes down to two thicknesses: 3mm vs 5mm yoga mat.
In my experience having a thicker mat means less pressure on the knees, hands, and feet when going through poses. Regardless of what you want your yoga experience to feel like, a yoga mat should support you in your practice and not cause any trouble.
What is Your Yoga Practice Like?
Before diving into a mat thickness, look at how often you practice. Unless I’m going to a class, I’m pretty relaxed in my home routine, which means I don’t need a heavy-duty mat to run through 20 minutes of gentle yoga.
Also, think about what type of yoga you’re practicing. Do you need something that won’t move around a lot?
Learn more: 8 Simple Tips on Keeping Your Yoga Mat Sticky
If so, a thinner mat could work better for your needs. Yogi’s who are comfortable with extra cushion and the possible instability that can bring, go for a 5mm!
Your joints may thank you.
How a 3mm Mat Compares to a 5mm Yoga Mat:
At a Glance
Here’s an overview of what each mat thickness can provide for you.
3mm and recommendations yoga mat
This mat claims to be made with “superior traction over standard PVC mats,” and is 60% lighter.
The mat can be used in either dry or wet setting and is made from nontoxic, latex, PVC, and is chloride free.
Lululemon’s mats are often reviewed as the best for all around yogis, whether a 3mm or 5mm mat.
This mat comes in eight colors and is made out of polyurethane. The brand claims the mat can be used for the whole spectrum, from Hot to Hatha.
This product is Crown Sporting Goods lightest and most portable yoga mat.
The mat provides enough padding to support you during your practice but also lets you feel the floor beneath you too.
5mm and recommendations yoga mats
Gaiam offers 15 different color schemes for this extra-thick lightweight mat.
The texture is non-slip for more traction when running through poses, and is 6P free (free of phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, and DNOP
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly reversible mat, AVIVA has your back.
The mat is made out of TPE foam with embossed center markings to help you align your body when stretching. The mat is also made out of hypoallergenic material.
This mat is suitable for all yoga adventures and comes in two sizes, regular and XL. Suga manufactures mats in the United States out of 100% recycled wetsuits.
This mat was designed with a little more cushion for hips knees, and floor poses. It’s made out of natural rubber to give yogis cushion and grip in low-sweat classes.
The mat also contains an antimicrobial additive to prevent bacterial, mold, and fungi from growing.
Where Are You Practicing Yoga?
You should ask yourself this question when making the decision between a 3mm and 5mm yoga mat.
If you’re stretching on hardwood floors, a thicker mat may be the better option to balance the hard and soft. On the other hand, a 5mm mat will offer a softer base during poses.
However, if your yoga space is practicing on a carpet, having too thick of a mat could create instability during Warrior II, which could make things uncomfortable. Carpet goers may want to stick with a 3mm for better purchase.
Getting a Grip
The thickness of a mat can also aid in your grip. Good grip on a mat offers more confidence and stability for yogis, so you always want something with a bit of grab although it’s up to you to decide how much
1. Grip on a 5mm yoga mat
Thicker mats have more grip, but the pattern will make a difference too. Feel the mat’s grip pattern; is it sticky enough to keep you in place?
Do you like how it feels? It’s one thing to have an extra grip-y mat, but if you don’t like how it feels on your feet or hands then you won’t ever use it.
2. Grip on a 3mm yoga mat
Thinner mats need to have good purchase unless you want to be sliding around when you transition from Downward Dog.
You want a mat that basically feels sticky like it wants to grab on to you and keep you still.
Mat Weight vs Mat Portability
Having a thicker mat may be more of a hassle to tote. A 5mm mat will accommodate your joints during a yoga session, but after, when you need to pack it up it will be heavier than a 3mm mat.
How you carry your mat can help you accommodate a 5mm mat if you’re taking that route.
1. Weighing in on mat material
Some brands offer a variety of mats made out of different resources in various thicknesses. This is where you want to consider what your yoga practice is like before committing to a material.
Do you sweat a lot during a session? I do and need something that provides enough grip to prevent my hands from sliding all over the place. So, I opt for closed-cell mats. Look for a 3mm or 5mm that’s designed with grip in mind.
Something closed-cell, non-slip, and made with a hygienic texture that will hold your hand in Child’s Pose. The closed-cell structure wicks away liquid, like sweat, to maintain a grip on your mat. Closed-cell mats are easy to clean.
If you’re not too worried about sticking to your mat, opt for an open-cell material mat structure. This style of mat works by functioning alongside your body’s natural oils to improve the mat’s grasp as you use it more.
Some Tips When Looking for a Mat
Yoga brands matter to some yogis, and if you have a specific brand in mind start looking through its options first. Consider how much you want to spend before you start looking, having a number in mind will help limit your search.
It may be tempting to purchase a mat online since it’s so easy if this is your plan make sure you have the option of a free return. You don’t want to order something online just to receive it and discover that you don’t like the mat’s feel.
Decision Time: Picking the Best Choice for Your Yoga Needs
Keep in mind, that the best mat for you is one that you won’t notice while you practice your yoga routine.
Having the right mat, whether that’s a 3mm vs 5mm yoga mat, should support you when you practice yoga, but if you’re working with a mat that isn’t right for your needs it could be distracting you from making progress in yoga poses.
Don’t worry if you feel like you need something thicker than a 5mm, or thinner than a 3mm, there’s something out there for everyone’s yoga practice. You’ll find what you need!
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