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Yoga in Bed for All Ages


Yoga in Bed for All Ages

Start your day or

Prepare for sleep with

Calm relaxation and serenity

Lisa Shea

Content copyright © 2015 by

Lisa Shea / Minerva Webworks LLC

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

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Note: I am not a doctor. Please always consult with your medical doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. Always listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

This ebook should be free in all formats and on all systems. If you buy the paperback version, or get it from a system which is not currently free, all author’s proceeds are donated to battered women’s shelters.


So much of our lives is spent in bed. We stretch our way awake. We toss a bit before we fall asleep at night. For those who are ill or recovering, bed allows us to heal up. With its cushion and support, bed is the perfect place to gently stretch and nurture yourself!

This ebook is a short version of my full-length main book, which is also free. My full-length book lays out an hour-long routine meant for a traditional standing-sitting-lying combination. Many readers asked for a smaller book specifically tackling the challenges of having a yoga routine in bed.

Some readers use this as a way to gently wake up in the morning – to get the blood flowing and energy levels rising.

Some readers find this yoga routine is a great way to wind down after a stressful day. It allows the person to relax, release, and fall asleep more easily.

And some readers are bedridden for a variety of reasons. They can’t stand up but they still want to keep their body as healthy as they can. Gentle bed yoga is a perfect solution.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, there is a way to integrate yoga into your daily lifestyle. It might be that you can only do one or two of the exercises for various mobility reasons. That’s all right! Even one or two is better than nothing at all. Start slow, listen to your body, and every step helps!

This book provides a full bed routine. You can of course truncate it down to just a few poses, based on the time you have available.

If you have questions about the yoga, or suggestions about poses, please contact me! I’m quite open to feedback.


Note: I am not a doctor. Please always consult with your medical doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. Always listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

This ebook should be free in all formats and on all systems. If you buy the paperback version, or get it from a system which is not currently free, all author’s proceeds are donated to battered women’s shelters.


Setting the Stage

Bed yoga is great. You don’t need a mat. You don’t have to worry about carpet burn or cold floors. Your bed is already soft and padded! It provides the perfect cushion for your activities.

Here are a few suggestions to prepare for your bed yoga.

What to Wear

We all have different traditions when it comes to bed wear. Some love long flannel nightgowns. Some prefer light cotton tops and pants. Some adore sleeping naked.

A nightgown might be a bit tricky for bed yoga, but if you scrunch it up around your waist it shouldn’t be too bad. The rest of the standard options should all work quite fine.

Any outfit that lets you move your limbs with relative freedom should do the trick.

Schedules and Time

Is bed yoga better first thing in the morning or last thing at night?

It all depends on what your aim is.

If you find you’re sluggish in the morning and just can’t get yourself going, bed yoga can be the ideal transition to help you get started. Rather than relying on artificial stimulants or a bracing cold shower to jump-start your heart, let your body do the gentle stretches which are common in so many cultures. Even dogs and cats stretch when they wake up!

If you find you’re having trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning with worries or issues, bed yoga can be the perfect transition. It helps you calm and soothe. It helps your mind train to release worry and simply be.

The key is just to do it. Find the time that works well for your schedule and needs.

Advice for Healthy Yoga

Again, always talk with a doctor before starting a routine in order to can get advice on your specific medical situation.

Here are some concepts to keep in mind as you begin a new exercise routine, whether it is my yoga routine here or any other type of activity.

Slow and Steady

In general, no matter what type of exercise you do, avoid “bouncing” into a pose or stance. That bouncing type of motion can over-stretch a muscle. Move into each pose gently and smoothly.

Gentle Holds

Your limbs should not be locked straight and joints should not be over-bent. Keep a slight curve in your elbows. Be loose and relaxed. Be aware of how you are balanced. Put your weight over your knee, rather than forward of your knee to avoid any tilted strain on it.


Drink ample water to keep your body hydrated as you move. Keep a container of water at your side. A refillable safe-plastic bottle is a good idea, so you can use home-filtered water to drink and simply dish-wash the bottle when you need to. There are flavorings if you don’t like the taste of plain water.

Take Your Time

There’s no race. Go slowly, gently, smoothly, and listen to your body.

The Beginning

The beginning is always the settling stage of any exercise routine. You come into it with all sorts of thoughts bouncing through your head. You endure the typical “monkey mind” that all people everywhere have to cope with. The mind leaps from thought to thought with wild abandon. The yoga practice is, in part, about quieting and focusing that mind and training it to gather its energy.

If possible, sit cross-legged on the bed. If this isn’t possible, it’s fine to sit in another way or to lay down. Take a deep breath and set an intention for this session. It can be releasing stress, forgiving yourself, forgiving someone else, or whatever you wish. It can simply be joy.

Then we begin.

[]Bed Sun Salutation

You’ve probably heard of sun salutations – surya namaskara. In essence this is a sequence of poses that, in one form or another, is part of many yoga routines. It’s a good overall stretching routine that ensures most of your important body parts get ample focus and blood flow.

This bed version includes some of the same ideas, modified for doing them on a bed.

The aim in sun salutations is to do this all as a gentle flow, from one step to another. It’s fine at first to keep stopping and referring to these notes. Over time it’ll connect together, as you learn the routine.

Sky Reaching Pose

Sky Reaching Pose or hasta uttanasana is the start of the sun salutations. When done standing, it looks like the photo below. We’re going to do it sitting down.

Start with your hands resting at your sides.

Raise your hands out to each side – the right hand to the right, the left hand to the left. Continue to circle them up toward the sky. Touch the palms together above your head.

Bend slightly backwards. Stretch up.


If you can’t sit up, lay down and stretch your hands above your head. Press them gently down into the bed.

Forward Bend

From your stretching-to-the-sky pose, sweep your arms forward and let the palms separate. Stretch out your legs before you. Fold at the waist into a forward bend. This is how it looks standing, but you are doing this sitting. So in essence she’s simply rotated 90 degrees .

If you aren’t able to sit up, then simply stretch your arms toward your toes.

This is uttanasana.

Hands above Knees

This is an interesting pose. It has different names in different styles. Some call it standing half forward bend, or ardha uttanasana. Some call it “monkey pose” even though it’s nothing like the traditional monkey pose which is a full forward split.

Fold your knees so they are bent into a triangle. Lift up from the full forward bend and put your hands on your thighs just above your knees. Stretch your back out straight.

Look diagonally forward at the ground before your toes.

This image gives a sense of how this is done in normal sun salutations. You are approximating this pose while sitting.

If you can’t sit, see if you can bring your knees toward you.


Plank pose, or kumbhakasana, is an amazing pose that is known throughout the exercise and health world. It builds up strong core muscles that are important in daily life.

Lay on your stomach. Put your toes on the bed and then lift up with your arms. If you can’t hold full plank pose on your hands and toes, you can lower to your elbows as a modification.

Engage those core stomach muscles.

You can also lower your knees to the bed.

Remember, it’s fine to modify. Modify away, to suit your current level. Find an alternative that is safe and fits your health and fitness level. We are all different!


Cobra – bhujangasana – is another great spine-stretching pose. This also feels amazing to me. If it doesn’t yet for you, that’s fine. Give it time :).

From plank, press your hips down and stretch out your toes. Lift the crown of your head up toward the sky.

Look left and hold. Look straight and hold. Look right and hold. Look straight again and hold.

Stretch your head up.

Hand Rotation

Sit cross-legged on the bed. If you aren’t able to sit, lie on your back.

Keeping your thumbs touching, rotate your palms so they face away from you. Point your palms at the floor. Now rotate your palms down so they face you and your fingers are pointing at the floor. Rotate your wrists so the backs of your hands are touching and point your fingers at your chest. Now continue the rotation so your fingers are pointing at the sky.

Lift your hands toward the sky, allowing your elbows to come together briefly as you do. As your hands move up, and separate them.

Make a big vertical circle with your two hands, your right hand going right, your left hand going left. Each one traces half the circle. Then bring them back to meet at your chest.


Gathering In

Bring your hands to your chest. Place the palms together.

Press your hands out away from you, to the front. Swing each hand to its side, making a big horizontal half-circle. So the right hand moves outstretched to your right and the left hand moves outstretched to your left. They stay parallel to the floor.

When both hands are fully out at either side, reverse and swing both hands in front of you to meet at the full extension before you.

Draw that in to you.


Go back to the beginning of the Sun Salutation and start again. See if you can go a little deeper into your bends the second time through.

You are now done with the Sun Salutation portion of the routine. Rest and tune in with your body for a moment.

How does your body feel?

Always check in with your body. Avoid labels like “good” or “bad” – simply listen.

Pay attention.


Sitting Section

This section of the routine is all done from a seated or kneeling position. If you aren’t able to do those things, find ways to modify the poses. It is always fine to adjust a pose to match your body’s current levels, whatever that might be.

Tucked Squat

Squat down so that your knees are bent and your rear end is a few inches from the bed. You can wrap your hands around your knees if that helps.


Give thought to the lower part of your spine. You might feel as if it is lengthening and stretching here. We tend not to think about this area of our body, and it’s a fairly important one. Often called the “tail bone,” this area is made up of the sacrum and coccyx.

Hold the tucked squat for thirty seconds, giving attentive thought to this lower region of your spine. How is it feeling? Do you get a gentle stretching sensation?

This next image is a public-domain image from Gray’s Anatomy, written in 1858. It’s a wonderful idea to get a sense of how your spine works. Your spine is so critical to your daily health! While much of your spine involves vertebrae that can move and stretch relative to each other, the sacrum and coccyx are fused. They are connected pieces of bone. But they still have muscles and ligaments around them that can stretch and bend. It’s good to take care of these muscles and ensure they work to their best ability.


Sit cross-legged. If you can’t quite cross your legs, that’s fine. Just sit however you can. If you can’t sit at all, lying down is fine.

Reach your hands high into the sky over your head. Studies show that the arms-above-the-head pose is a “power pose.” It can raise your mood and build confidence!

Hold for thirty seconds. Breathe in. Think of a strength you have. Focus on that strength.

Half Lord of the Fishes

I love this pose. Love love love this pose. It feels so nice to gently twist my spine like this. Again, if it doesn’t feel good for you right now, that’s fine! You have something to look forward to. For me, this has the same level of pleasure as having a good masseuse find that sweet spot in your aching back muscle and pressing into it. And it’s free.

Half Lord of the Fishes is known as ardha matsyendrasana.

Start by sitting with both legs straight in front of you. Give your right leg a slight bend to the left. You can also leave that right leg straight, if that’s easier for you. Bring the left foot toward you and cross it over your right knee.

Bend your right arm at the elbow and point your right hand toward the sky. Put your right elbow against the outside of your left knee.

Now sweep your left arm forward, left, and back, to put it behind you. Follow this arm with your gaze, looking behind you.

Sit up tall, stretching the crown of your head toward the sky.

I know this looks a little complicated but it makes sense when you give it a try. Your spine just feels SO nice being stretched like this.

Hold for thirty seconds.

Repeat on the other side. Since this pose is a bit tricky, I’ll list the steps again, with a fresh photo in the opposite configuration.

So start by tucking your left leg to the right if you wish, or you can leave it straight. Bring your right leg over to rest your right foot near your left knee. Raise your left fingers toward the sky, bend the left arm at the elbow, and place the left elbow outside the right knee.

Sweep the right arm forward, right, and back, so it is behind you on the mat. Follow this arm with your gaze, looking behind you.

Raise up. Breathe.

If you can’t sit, you can approximate this by twisting your legs to one side and your arm to the other.

Cat and Cow

Another classic pairing of poses. Cat pose is marjariasana while cow pose is bitilasana.

Get on your hands and knees, facing the front of the mat.

Let your belly sag down, as if you were a cow with heavy udders full of healthy milk for your calf. Raise your rear in the air. Look forward.


Now arch your back as if you were a stretching cat. Let your head fall down. Breathe.

Repeat this cycle ten times.

If you’re unable to hold up like this, simply try raising and lowering your belly.

Extended Child Pose

Extended child pose or utthita is a pose of rest. You can definitely use a rest right now!

Let your rear settle back onto your heels. Stretch your hands, palm-down, in front of you. Settle fully down so your chest is close to the bed.

Press your cheek or forehead against the bed, whichever is most comfortable for you.

Hold for thirty seconds.

This is the first time that you have a real pause in the routine. At this point you’re fairly deep into it and hopefully your mind has stilled a bit. But this is often a spot where monkey-mind begins its activity and starts hopping around.

Breathe. Let the thoughts go. Avoid giving attention to them. Be aware of them, and release them. Don’t try to drive them away – that rarely works. Simply acknowledge them and go back to your breath. In. Out.

Rolling Cat – Cow

From extended child pose, shift your weight forward so you are on your forearms. Then up to all fours in cow pose, with your belly sagging. Without stopping, arch up into cat pose. Again, without stopping, ease your rear back onto your heels and stretch in extended child pose.

Roll up to your forearms. Lift up into cow. Arch up into cat. Settle back onto your heels and stretch.

Continue this sequence for ten rounds. This is a moving sequence where you transition from pose to pose without holding. It’s a spinal lubrication. Think of your spine curving down, then curving up, then stretching.

End by resting in extended child pose for another thirty seconds.

You are now done with the seated portion of the routine and are closing in on the end! Now you will be doing laying-down poses.

Laying Down Section

By now your body should feel fairly nice. At least it does once your body gets used to these moves :).

You are at the restful part of the routine, where you’re down on the bed fully. These poses are mostly about stretching.

Hurdler’s Stretch

It’s important to be cautious when doing a hurdler’s stretch. This is a wonderful stretch as long as you’re gentle with your knees.

Bend your right knee back and gently stretch your left leg forward. Lower yourself toward your left toes. It’s fine if you only go a little way. Avoid locking your left leg straight. This is about a gentle stretch.

Breathe. Hold.

Then lean back toward the head of your bed. Your aim is eventually to be able to lay flat on your back – but again, don’t rush. Don’t strain. Just let your body gently stretch out.

Repeat on the opposite side, with the right leg forward.

Reclining Spinal Twist

The reclining spinal twist is another pose that I absolutely adore. Some call it reclined Lord of the Fishes (supta matsyendrasana) as it is fairly close to that pose. Which I also love :).

Lay flat on your back. Bring your right foot up to sit alongside your left knee. Then fold your right knee to the left, so it points to the left.

Put your arms straight out to either side – the right arm going right, the left arm going left. Put your left hand on your right knee.

Now look to the right, along your arm. Press both shoulders down into the ground.


This feels so good!

Now reverse it, so your left knee is bent and you are looking out along your outstretched left arm.


In this combination photo set of me, called a “multiplicity” photo, the laying spinal twist is the one in the bottom right corner. It shows the second orientation, with my left knee bent and to the right, and my left arm outstretched to the left.

Reclining Goddess Pose

Reclining goddess pose is also known as reclined bound angle pose, or supta baddha konasana. This is a great hip opener pose.

Lay flat on your back. Bring the heels of your feet up near your pelvis so the soles are flat on the mat and the knees are pointing to the sky. Now put the soles of your feet together and let your knees splay out to either side – your right knee to the right and your left knee to the left.

Bring your arms up over your head, stretched out above you on the bed. Twine your fingers. Bring your fingers toward your head so your elbows also splay out – right elbow to the right, left elbow to the left.


Dead Bug Pose

Dead bug pose or ananda balasana is a lot of fun. It encourages you to wiggle!

Lay flat on your back. Lift your legs up and point your soles of your feet at the ceiling. Then lift your arms up and point your fingertips at the ceiling.




Make clockwise circles with your hands and feet. Reverse.

Do scissoring motions with your arms and legs.

Press your heels toward the sky. Then press your toes.

Swing your limbs around.

Release and enjoy.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose or setu bandha sarvangasana is our last main pose we’ll be doing. It’s also one of my favorites.

Lay flat on your back. Fold your knees so the knees are pointing at the ceiling and your feet are near your rear. Lift up your hips so you have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Bring your hands together beneath your back and intertwine your fingers. Your hands should be about beneath your rear end.

Wriggle your shoulder blades so they’re more beneath you to support you. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your shoulder blades and your feet. There should not be weight or pressure on your neck.

Your knees should not splay out to the side, nor should they touch. There should be about a half-foot of space between them. Imagine you are holding a soft foam block in between them.

Hold position.

In this image, she doesn’t have her hands clasped beneath her yet.


After thirty seconds, release your hands and move them back to your side. Then slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae, lower yourself down. This just feels so amazingly good! Take your time.

One at a time, stretch out your legs. Then lay your arms on either side of you.



It is now time for savasana.


We are now at the final stage of the yoga session.

Time to relax and breathe in serenity!


Normally I call poses by their English names, rather than their Sanskrit names, but in this case with the name being “corpse pose” I would rather call it savasana :). That sounds more soothing and relaxing to me.

Simply lay there. Relaxed. Your feet out. Your arms at your side. Your eyes closed.

If you tend to get cold, have a blanket or towel to drape over you. This portion of the routine should be calm, relaxing, and quiet.

If thoughts flit into your mind, let them go. Avoid giving them attention. Breathe in.

Breathe out.



If you tend to fall asleep here, and you don’t wish to, set a timer before you begin for ten minutes.

This savasana provides a much-needed rest after a good stretching routine. It also offers a gentle introduction into meditation.

Lotus Position

Blink yourself aware from savasana. Roll over to your side, then up to sitting cross legged. You can do full lotus position, or padmasana, if you wish, where the feet are up on top of the thighs. Do whatever feels right for you.

Raise yourself up by the crown of your head, sitting tall.

Imagine there is a golden halo hovering over your head. Gently trace it with the crown of your head clockwise five times.

Then trace it counter-clockwise five times.

Now imagine there is a beautiful orange floating in front of your nose. Trace with your nose clockwise five times, starting at its north pole, then circling down to its south pole and back up.

Then trace it counter-clockwise five times.


If you’re unable to sit up, you can still approximate the head motions.


Bring your hands together at your chest.

Think of all the blessings you have. All the things in life to be grateful for. All those you love.

Then say “Namaste.” This means in essence “I reverentially acknowledge you.” It is a statement of appreciation.


Going Forward

Yoga, like meditation, often creates a myriad of confusing expectations in the mind of a beginner. Maybe they expect monk-on-a-mountaintop serenity at the end of a first session. Maybe they expect the answers to the world’s problems to flower in their mind in a kaleidoscope of blossoms.

Probably the one truism is that whatever you go into it expecting, it probably won’t be that :). So, with that being said, here are a few thoughts.

Yoga should not hurt. Always listen to your body. If something is hurting, that’s a sign that you pressed your current capabilities a little too hard. Ease up a bit. Be gentle with yourself. Always listen to what your body is saying and respect it. You can do a little more the next day, and the next. There is no race. Build your capabilities over time and you’ll be amazed how far you get.

Yoga’s aim is gentle acceptance. Release any stress about “doing it perfectly” and aim for “doing it the best I can today.” Don’t judge yourself against experts on YouTube who have been doing this for years. Simply aim to have your own body be a little better than it was yesterday. Think of each session as a curious exploration of where your body is today. Aim for “that’s interesting!” rather than “Jeez, why can’t I do that?” Breathe deeply. Praise yourself for your efforts.

The first few times that you do yoga it will probably feel awkward and perhaps uncomfortable. You are doing things your body hasn’t done before. You are stepping out of your comfort zone. That is all right! That is wonderful. It builds strength in your body, your brain, your lungs, your circulatory system, and many other aspects of you. It helps buffer you against stress and even shore up your immune system.

As you get used to the routine, most people come to think of it as comforting and familiar. The poses will feel good physically. It’ll be amazingly wonderful to settle into that spinal twist. Your muscles will sigh with joy as you reach for the sky.

Your brain will ease, too. Stresses will melt away as you settle into the familiar, comfortable poses. You’ll forget, for a while, about whatever is pressuring you. Your focus will be the snuggly blanket of motion which you are enveloped in.

It will be like a virtual vacation that can be summoned at any time, in any location. It will be a high-end spa treatment which is wholly free and helps both your body and spirit.

For the beginner, hang in there. All of the benefits are within reach – and they’re not that far away.


We all have so much to be grateful for. We can read and write. Most of us have somewhere warm to sleep at night and food to eat during the day. There are so many people out there who do not have what we have. They could only dream of having the blessings we sometimes take for granted.

Yoga helps us reach this awareness. It helps us reduce stress by realizing just how much we already have. It helps us forgive by helping us see our place in this larger universe we inhabit.

Day by day, yoga helps our health increase, our stress levels decrease, and our ability to help others grow.

Take it one day at a time, and feel free to contact me with questions!


Thank you for reading this Yoga in Bed for All Ages book! I hope you found some new tools which can help you in your stress relief efforts.

If you enjoyed this book, please leave feedback!

You can also post Goodreads and any other systems you use. Together we can help make a difference! The book should be free in nearly all locations. For those where I could not set it to free for some reason, all proceeds of this book benefit battered women’s shelters.

If you have a tip I didn’t cover, please let me know! Together we can help each other conquer stress.

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To Christine, my yoga instructor for many years, whose gentle serenity and warm nature has always impressed me.

To Kripalu, with their amazing staff and supportive environment.

To Elizabeth, Helen, Yvonne, Pamela, Samuel, and Marion who offered specific tips on how to improve this.

To the Boston Writer’s Group, who supports me in all my projects.

To my boyfriend, who encourages me in all of my dreams.

Most of all, to my loyal fans on GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other systems who encourage me. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm!

About the Author

Lisa Shea began her career as a programmer for a number of high-challenge biotech and software companies. After years in the high-pressure industry she decided she wanted to use her skills to help others. She wanted to create a learning environment where those who often have few outlets – stay-at-home moms, those caring for elderly parents, or parents of children with special needs – could reach their dreams and goals.

Through her website BellaOnline.com Lisa strives every day to help every editor and visitor achieve whatever they set out to do.

Please visit BellaOnline.com and see what sites we have open. If one is of interest to you, we’d love to help with training, support, and an encouraging community, so you can reach your dreams!

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Yoga in Bed for All Ages

Some of us need help waking up. Others have trouble falling asleep. Yet others are bedridden and wish to gently exercise each day. Yoga in Bed for All Ages is the perfect solution. These poses are specifically designed to be done in a bed. There are both sitting and lying down poses. For those who cannot sit up, alternative suggestions are provided. Study after study finds that yoga helps with lower back pain, depression, energy levels, balance, post-traumatic stress, focus, sleep, and much more. Whether you need to reset after a busy day or wish to have more joy in your daily life, yoga can help. It nurtures your body and embraces your soul. Join us to take that first step forward into a healthier, happier you. Namaste. This book Yoga in Bed for All Ages is intended to be free on all systems, to help those who are in need of support find a step toward a more contented life. If the system you are currently on requires a charge to download, all author's proceeds will benefit battered women's shelters. This book is a companion piece to my other two free books - one on full-length yoga routines and the other on a quick ten-minute yoga routine. Each provides a different avenue for including yoga in your daily life. Feel free to contact Lisa if you have any questions about her routine - she's happy to help!

  • ISBN: 9781310808296
  • Author: Lisa Shea
  • Published: 2015-12-25 21:35:17
  • Words: 5220
Yoga in Bed for All Ages Yoga in Bed for All Ages