Yoga is a wonderful gentle exercise technique that has grown in popularity over the years. Did you know that there is no one way to experience the benefit of your yoga practice? You don’t need a yoga mat or even a studio to have a wonderful yoga practice.
In fact, you can even do yoga in bed. Yoga in bed is a great way to wind down for a great night’s sleep or get energized for your day before your feet even hit the floor. Yoga in bed does have some dos and don’ts, we will give you 11 great things to do and 5 things not to do.
Bed yoga has some amazing benefits and is an easy practice for beginner yogis or a great addition to a more experienced practice as well. However, when practicing yoga in bed, keep your safety in mind. We are going to talk about poses that are safe to do in bed and the best time to do them along with poses that would be dangerous for the surface of the bed.
Why Bed Yoga?
Bed yoga may sound weird to some people that are just starting their yoga practice but those that have some experience with this exercise can proclaim the benefits of yoga in your bed. Bed yoga is beneficial in a few key ways along with the usual benefits of bedtime yoga on a mat.
The importance of starting your day off on the right foot really can not be stressed enough. Beginning the day in a rush or by reaching for your nearest technology is really not the best way. A dark cloud can be spread over your day before it even begins and your thoughts and intentions can become muddled.
Allowing a few moments to take some deep breaths, do a few asanas (poses), and set your clear path for the day will make a huge difference as you welcome a new sunrise. Every day has challenges and a few minutes of yoga won’t change that, but it can help change the way you respond to those challenges.
There are poses that are not good to do in the morning because they are too relaxing and would be counterproductive as you are trying to start your day. Always make sure you know what the purpose of a particular pose is before practicing it.
In a technology-driven world, insomnia runs wild. A lack of enough sleep or the absence of quality sleep because the mind is constantly stimulated from the opening of our eyes to the closing of our eyes, infringes on quality of life. Taking a few minutes when laying in bed to do some very intentional asanas can help clear your mind and calm your body.
Your mind and body need a chance to unwind from a busy and saturated day before you drift off to sleep. Being kind to yourself, even for just 10 minutes a day, can change the trajectory of your days if you are consistent.
Top 11 Poses You Can Safely Do in Bed
There are certain poses that are safe to practice on a bed surface. Due to the softness of the bed, poses that involve balance are not safe, all poses should be done while sitting, kneeling, or laying down.
There are also poses that should not be done at bedtime because the energizing nature of the pose will awaken your mind and body instead of relaxing it. Knowing what you need from your body is the first step in putting together a bed yoga flow.
The half frog pose is a great pose to do in bed to promote relaxation and restful sleep. It is a very simple pose to do, in fact, there are some people that actually sleep this way and don’t even know that they are doing yoga.
To do this pose you need to begin by laying on your stomach. You can lay your head on a pillow or flat on the bed, it is up to you. Bring your hands up under the pillow or your face with your elbows bent and facing out. The last step is to bend your right leg and pull your thigh towards your right elbow.
This should give you a gentle relaxing stretch. Don’t push too far. Stay here for as many breaths as you would like and then switch legs. If you are still awake then you can move on to a different pose from this list.
This pose is typically used to end any yoga flow and is the ultimate relaxing pose. You can choose to do this asana at any time during your bedtime yoga routine but you may just fall asleep.
Laying on your back with your arms at your side and your legs extended, completely relax. Allow your feet to layover facing out, relax your shoulders, neck, and shoulders. Go through each muscle group one by one and intentionally relax them. Even your face should be relaxed.
Keep your breath slow and even, promoting further relaxation. If you place this asana at the end of your practice we would be surprised if you were still awake even just a few minutes later.
One of the most common and popular poses is the child’s pose. This is a resting pose that you can take at any time during your yoga flow, whether on the mat or in your bed. Opening your hips and getting a light body stretch while relaxing is a perfect way to end your day.
When doing this pose in bed, you can use a pillow or not, it is your practice. Either way, you do this asana will be very beneficial so try both and see which one you like.
For a traditional child’s pose with no pillow, come up on your hands and knees and slowly push your hips back so your upper thighs lay on top of your heals. You can extend your arms in front, spreading the fingers for more of a stretch in your upper back. Or your arms can lay at your sides with your hands by your feet.
Your head can be laid to either side or your face can be down. Find what works best for you in this pose.
To add a pillow, tuck it under your torso and wrap your arms around the pillow, like a hug. Turn your head and face either side. Breathing deeply, let your whole body relax.
Legs Up The Wall
Many of us are on our feet all day long with barely a moment to rest or sit down. If that is something that you deal with then this pose will be a great benefit to you. Legs up the wall pose will help you release all of the tension in your legs and result in a more restful sleep.
This pose is not just good for relaxing your tension, it is also great for people that find it very hard to shut their minds off. Meditation does not come easy for some but this pose can help. Some find it helpful when trying to clear their minds at the end of the day.
To do this pose you simply need a wall. You can do this lying in your bed or on the floor however if you can do this in your bed, we recommend it to promote sleep.
Lay on your back and move up to a wall with your hip very close, if not touching the wall. Then lift your legs up and rest your heels up the wall. If you have hip tightness that makes this pose uncomfortable for you then place a pillow under your hips to offer more comfort while you relax.
Seated Forward Fold
This pose is very common and can be done by any experience level and to any degree of stretch. While the goal is to reach for your toes to help release the tension in your lower back and hips, you don’t have to touch your toes to get the benefits of this pose.
To do this asana, sit on your bed with your legs and feet in front of you. Point your toes towards the ceiling (feet flexed). Stretch your arms up over your head while taking a deep breath and then fold forward on the exhale. Let your hands land where they can, knees, shins, or toes. It doesn’t matter.
If you have tightness in the backs of your thighs then bending your knees slightly will allow relief. Don’t push too hard and hurt yourself. This pose is relaxing and restorative so it is important to be kind to your body.
The key to maximum relaxing with this pose is to focus on the exhale.
Forward fold is a pose that can be done any time of the day. If you need a minute to relax and focus, even at work, you can do this pose. Just find a place to sit on the floor and take a few breaths in a forward fold.
Seated Side Twist
Seated side twist, also known as the seated spinal twist or the half lord of the fish pose, can help you release stress and tension from your spine. Doing this will help you unwind and relax. It may seem like a very hard pose or might look uncomfortable, but do this pose once and you will be hooked.
This pose allows you to go as deep as you want. If you want just a light stretch then don’t twist as far or if you can’t twist that deep then that is fine too. Either way, the benefit is still great.
Start on your hands and knees, bring your right knee forward between your hands. Cross the left knee behind the right and sit back. Your knees should be stacked on top of each other. If this is too much you can extend your left leg out in front of you.
Take your arms up over your head as you inhale, exhale and take the left elbow and hook it on the right knee placing the left-hand palm down behind your left hip. Twist as deeply as you like on each exhale. Hold this for a few breaths and then switch sides for an even stretch. As you do this asana feel the tension just leave your body and relax your mind for a restful sleep.
Reclining Goddess Pose
Another great pose to do in your bed before you drift off to sleep is the reclining goddess pose. Unwinding your mind and body before trying to go to sleep is essential to getting the quality sleep that your body needs to function at its best.
This pose is so relaxing that it might compete with child’s pose for the title of favorite bedtime pose.
Lay on your back to begin this pose. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Extend your arms gently out to the side. If your hips are very tight and this pose is uncomfortable, you can put pillows or rolled-up towels under your knees to relieve the discomfort.
Breathe deeply and hold this pose for as long as you would like, but don’t be surprised if you fall asleep.
Wind Relieving Pose
Gas pains and bloating can keep you awake or uncomfortable and unable to relax for a good night of rest. The wind relieving pose can help you reduce that bloating and discomfort allowing you to sleep peacefully.
Lay on your back, you can support your head with a pillow or just lay down flat, draw your right leg up to your chest and hug your knee. Take a few breaths here with your eyes closed breathing deeply.
You can hold this pose as long as you would like to. When you release your right knee, straighten your leg and repeat the pose with your left knee. The leg that is not drawn up should be straight out with your toes pointed up.
This pose is relaxing but it can be done in the morning or the evening. Really anytime is an appropriate time of day to complete this asana.
Pigeon pose can be slightly difficult when you first start trying this asana, but you will get the hang of it and soon pigeon will be one of your favorite poses. Because of the revitalizing nature of this pose, you will see the greatest benefits by practicing this asana in the morning before you get out of bed.
This intense leg stretch is perfect for opening up your hips and releasing the stress and tension that can build up over time. To settle into this pose, start on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee forward and rest the outside of your leg on the bed. Once you have done this, extend your left leg back and stretch your chest forward while extending the crown of the head forward.
This may be a little bit uncomfortable the first few times you try this pose but focus on your breathing, deep inhales followed by deep exhales.
Hold this for a few breaths and when you are ready slowly come back to all fours and repeat this pose with the left leg in front. This is a great way to start a day.
Happy baby is one of our personal favorites when it comes to yoga asanas. This pose is best done in the morning or midday. It can be done at night but be aware that it is physically stimulating so it isn’t the best time of day to do it. It is best to do when you need to be mentally and physically prepared for a very busy day.
Lay flat on your back and fold your knees into your chest. Reach your right arm to your right foot on the pinkie toe side. Do the same thing with the left side at the same time. Pull your feet to the side. Like a happy baby that has just found both of their feet.
Take some deep breaths and rock side to side, gently massaging your lower back. Hold this pose for as long as you would like and do it for as many times as you would like.
Fish pose is an incredibly energizing pose. Make sure you do not do this pose when you are trying to wind down for bed. This asana is a great way to greet the day before even stepping out of bed. Take just a few moments when you wake up to say hello to the sunrise before saying hello to the business of your day.
Laying in bed, after your alarm has gone off, bring your hands under your hips. Lift your chest and shoulders up. You should be propped up on your forearms. Lay your head back and point your toes. Hold this for a few breaths and release.
For maximum benefit and energy, do this two or three times.
5 Poses Not to Do
The poses we have talked about are great to do in bed either in the morning or when you are going to sleep. They are safe for people of any experience level to do and as long as you listen to your body, you won’t get injured. They are also all seated or lying down positions so you won’t fall off of the bed.
There are, however, poses that should not be done while on a bed, mostly for safety reasons. Even though safety is a top reason, the poses we are showing below are not the best for getting ready to sleep. Some of the poses are good for waking up, but they should be done standing on the floor.
Tree pose is great for practicing balance and strengthening your core muscles. We personally love this pose and practice it daily but we do not recommend doing it on an unstable surface such as a mattress.
Because it is very common for even experienced yogis to fall out of this pose, it is likely that you would fall out of the pose and off of the bed. Keep your safety in mind and be kind to your body when doing any yoga practice.
To safely do this pose, stand at the top of your yoga mat, ground through the left leg and slowly lift your right foot up and rest it above or below your knee (never on your knee). Bring your hands together and raise them above your head. If you fall out of the pose then just come back into it. Stay for a few breaths and then switch sides.
This may be the single most recognizable yoga asana. Even people that have never practiced yoga know what this pose is. This is a great asana to do any time of the day because it is a resting pose, but it is not recommended to do on a bed. The chances that you will fall off the bed and injure yourself is extremely likely.
When safely executing this pose, always stand on the ground. Start in plank pose with arms shoulder-width apart and legs hip-width apart. Lifting your hips up, push back evenly through your hands and arms while rotating the backs of your thighs up to the ceiling.
Your heels don’t have to touch the ground but they do need to reach down. You can hold this pose as long as you want but don’t forget to breathe deeply. To come out of this pose you can go back to plank or step in between your hands and slowly stand up.
This pose is an absolute staple for the practice of yoga, but definitely don’t do this pose on a bed or mattress.
Warrior 1 is another pose that requires balance, some core strength, and being in a standing position. This pose is a full-body workout in once stance and has many benefits. You can even work into a type of standing twist.
However, not only is this not a relaxing pose that is recommended before bedtime, but it also requires a solid surface to ground your feet to. Attempting this pose on an unstable surface such as a mattress would almost certainly cause injury.
When safely attempting this pose make sure you are standing on the floor. Starting in downward facing dog, lift your right leg up and then bend your knee into your chest. Step your right foot between your hands and bend your right knee. Pivot your back straight left foot to a 45 degree angle. With your torso facing forward, lift up with your hands above your head.
Hold this pose for a few breaths. When you are ready, start over and switch legs. Repeat this pose a few times for maximum results and benefits. It is better to practice this pose in the morning or midday.
This pose is amazing for total body strength building and is appropriate for yogis of any level.
Triangle is a pose you can work into from warrior 1 or 2 easily. Since it is another standing pose, it is not recommended to practice in a bed. This is a great pose to stretch your hamstrings and side body while building total-body strength and balance.
When you are in Warrior 1 position, move your back foot a little bit in and straighten your front knee. Straighten your arms out to the sides (parallel to your mat), reach with your front arm, hinge at the waist and bend forward with your back arm reaching towards the sky.
Hold this for a few breaths and then switch sides for a complete stretch.
The triangle asana is a great mid-day pose to help work out the stresses and kinks in your body from sitting at a desk chair or standing for long periods.
Warrior 2 is a variation of warrior one and is easy to come into from triangle pose. This pose is another full-body standing asana that will strengthen many parts of your body.
Because of the standing nature of this pose and the need for balance and strong grounding through your feet, it is not recommended that you do this pose anywhere but the ground. This is a great pose that is appropriate for all experience levels.
To safely do this pose stand firmly on the ground. Start from triangle pose for the easiest transition. When starting from triangle pose, walking your back foot back and out to a 45 degree angle. With your front toes facing straight forward, bend your knee and extend your arms to the side (parallel to the mat). Pelvis is directly over your natural torso. Turn your gaze to look over the top of your extended hand.
Stay here for a few breaths, start over, and switch sides for a complete body stretch and workout.
This is another pose that is great either in the morning or mid-day to release tension and work out the kinks from sitting or standing too long. But please remember to keep your safety in mind and always practice this pose on the ground and not on the bed.