Yoga is a beautifully adaptable practice. It can be a vigorous and energetic flow that makes you sweat and build strength. Conversely, it can be a restorative and slow-paced practice that stretches deep into your muscles. It can simply be a practice of listening to your breath and drawing awareness and attention to your own center. The practice of yoga is so malleable that it can even be practiced in the comfort of your own bed. So, the next time that you’re dying for a wonderful yoga practice, but it’s cold or rainy out, and you’re having a lazy day and can’t seem to drag yourself out of your own bed, practice one or all of these 12 yoga postures that can be done without ever having to leave your sacred sleeping space. As an extra bonus, these postures are also restorative and relaxing and a great way to wind down after a long, stressful day to prepare you for a restful night. So put on your pajamas and crawl under the covers to practice this simple sequence (or choose your favorite postures) to relax and restore before bedtime.
This restorative backbend lengthens the whole back body and opens and expands your heart center. Start lying down on your stomach and walk your feet to be slightly wider than hip distance apart. Press the tops of your feet down into the mattress and then place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Roll your shoulders down the back and gently draw your shoulder blades toward each other to broaden through your heart. Imagine that your collarbones are smiling and spreading apart, creating space through your chest. Focus on elongating through the lower back. Take a moment to close your eyes here and surrender into the stretch, focusing on keeping your breath slow and consistent.
This deep forward fold stretches the whole back body. Start lying down on your back and squeeze your legs in toward each other hugging in to the midline of the body. As you inhale, reach your legs straight up toward the sky creating an L-shape between your legs and torso. From here, engage your abdominals and lift your hips high off of the bed drawing your hands onto your back and sliding them down the spine as far as you can toward your shoulders. From this shoulderstand position, relax your legs over your head toward the mattress behind you. If your feet do not reach the bed itself, you can prop them up onto pillows or a stack of blankets. You can keep your hands as they are supporting your back, or if it feels appropriate, you can release your hands and interlace your fingers behind your back. Focus on keeping length through the back of your neck and be cautious not to turn your head from side to side here, as your neck is in a vulnerable position. Try to lengthen your sitbones up toward the ceiling. Breathe into the stretch for as long as feels comfortable, and slowly release out the way that you came in.
This reclining posture is a subtle backbend through the spine as well as a deep stretch into the quadriceps, hips, and ankles. It also creates the deepest flexion of the knee joint, so always practice this posture with caution. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “stretch through the knee” and if you feel any pain around the knee joint, then simply skip this pose. Start sitting in a kneeling position. Lift your seat up off of your heels and open your feet wider than your hips. Keep your toes pointing straight back behind you and slowly relax your seat down between your ankles. If this feels too intense, you can prop up your seat by sitting onto a blanket or pillow. Again, if you feel any pain near the knee, then do not practice this posture. From here, if your hips are elevated on a prop then stay as you are. If your seat is connected with the bed and it feels appropriate, you can slowly begin to walk your hands behind you and relax your elbows toward the bed. You can stay here or, if it feels comfortable, you can release your whole back toward the bed. Keep your knees touching and drawing into the midline and your feet pointing straight back behind you. Relax your tailbone toward your knees to elongate the lower back. You can relax your arms wherever feels comfortable and breathe into all the openings. When you’re ready, release the pose reversing the steps you took to come into it.
This gentle backbend is perfect for stretching the upper back and opening the muscles of the chest. Start lying down on your back with your legs outstretched in front of you. Squeeze the legs in toward the midline and relax your palms facedown beside your hips. Hug in on the abdominals and press down against your elbows to lift your head and chest up off of the bed. Keep your chest puffing up toward the ceiling as you very slowly relax the crown of your head back down to the mattress. Try to keep minimal weight in the head to avoid crunching into your neck. Soften into your breath opening through your heart and, when you’re ready, gently press into your elbows lifting the crown of your head off of the bed and slowly relax back to lying down.
This simple and restorative asana compresses the hip joint to round the lower back and stretch the muscles surrounding your spine. Begin by lying down on your back with your legs extended forward. Bend into the right knee and gently hug your leg in toward your chest. If it feels more comfortable, you can bend into the left knee and place your foot flat against the bed. You can interlace fingers around your shin, or take ahold of your wrists or your elbows or whatever feels comfortable. Try to draw the leg in closely but also focus on keeping your left hip reaching down toward the bed. Hold for a few deep breaths relaxing into the subtle stretch, and then gently release and switch sides.
This gentle twist through the spine helps to release the whole back body and the outer hips. Starting from the previous pose, with the right knee drawn into your chest, relax your right hand to the bed and hold the outer edge of the knee with your left hand. Inhale and draw the leg in close toward your chest, and exhale to move that leg across the body, relaxing your knee toward the left side of the bed. You can rest your knee onto a pillow to help support your weight if that feels more comfortable. Try to keep both of your shoulders planted flat against the mattress. Relax into the gentle twist and when you’re ready, release and work the opposite side.
This restorative stretch deeply relaxes the hips. Start sitting down on your bed and draw the soles of your feet to touch. Try to slide your heels in as close toward your seat as you can comfortably reach. From here, keep the same shape into your legs as you lie down onto your back. Try to allow the weight of your knees to melt down toward the bed. You can rest your hands wherever feels comfortable. If you’d like some extra support for the legs, you can place pillows or blankets underneath your knees to really allow you to release muscular control and just surrender into the opening of your hips.
This simple inversion relaxes the legs and the lower back. Move to the side of your bed that connects with a wall and sit with one hip up against the wall. Place your hands back behind you and lean your weight into your hands to slide your legs up the wall and relax your back to the bed. Walk you sit bones as close to the wall as you possibly can (ideally letting them touch against the wall). Allow the weight of your legs to surrender down toward the bed. Imagine drawing the head of your thigh bones back in toward the hip sockets. Rest your hands wherever feels comfortable and surrender into this restorative inversion.
This posture stretches through the back of the legs and relaxes the lower back. Start lying down on your back. Bend into your right knee and draw your leg in toward your chest. Here you have two options: you can either use your yogi toe lock (your first two fingers and thumb) and wrap them around your big toe or you can use a blanket, belt, or towel to wrap around the ball of your right foot. Whichever option you choose, work toward straightening and extending the leg as much as possible reaching the ball of your foot up toward the ceiling. Try to relax your shoulders down toward the bed, relax your lower back toward the bed, and gently draw your leg in toward your chest. Breath into the stretch and when you’re ready, release and work on the other leg.
Stretch the lower back and the outer hips with this reclining pigeon pose. Start lying down on your back with you knees bent and your feet flat against the bed about hip-distance apart. Lift your right foot off the floor and cross your ankle over the left knee to create a figure 4-shape into your legs. Flex the right foot hard to protect your knee joint. From here, lift your left foot off of the floor and draw your shin parallel to the bed. Interlace your fingers behind the left thigh and very gently draw the knees in toward your chest. Try to keep the spine elongated here, relaxing your shoulders and your tailbone down toward the bed.
Relax and stretch the back, hips, and hamstrings in this playful posture. Lie down on your back and draw your knees in toward your chest, hugging both legs in closely. Catch a hold of the pinky side of each foot with each hand. Keeping your knees bent deeply, reach the soles of your feet up toward the ceiling. Open the legs out wide and draw your knees in toward your armpits. Focus on lengthening the back body by relaxing your shoulders and softening your tailbone and lower back to reach the bed. If it feels nice, you can gently sway your hips from side to side massaging your lower back and sacrum against the bed. If you’d like, you can work toward straightening into one leg at a time or both together. Play around like a happy baby in this position to find what feels best in your body.
This list would not be complete without the ultimate do-in-your-bed yoga posture: savasana, or final relaxation, or corpse pose. Super simple and wonderfully restorative, this posture involves simply lying down on your back with your legs extended forward. Walk your feet to be slightly wider than hip-distance apart and allow your heels to turn in and your toes to flop out. Relax your arms down by your side with your palms facing up to the sky in surrender. Relax the weight of your body down against the bed. Close your eyes and soften your breath. Try to relax your mind and find a place of complete silence, stillness and surrender in this resting and meditative pose. If you happen to fall asleep, luckily for you, you’re already in bed. ;)