Yep, bed yoga is really a thing - 5 simple flows you can do from bed to boost energy and calm

It's time to swap your mat for your mattress.

Bed yoga: An up close shot of a woman with crossed legs practicing yoga in bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Maybe it’s the darker mornings, the ceaseless festive gatherings, the end-of-year fatigue, or all of the above — but searches for bed yoga (yes, really) are on the rise and if you ask us, this cosy art form is well worth a look in. 

Just like yoga for bloating, yoga for flexibility and morning yoga, bed yoga (which is the simple and oh-so-wholesome practice of doing yogic practice on your mattress) promises to boost your overall wellbeing, and in more ways than one. 

Interested in channelling some inner zen? Want to enjoy a deeper, more restful night's kip? Or are you keen on boosting your flexibility while beating the chill? Honestly, we hear you. But that's where practising your asanas (AKA your yoga poses) from your mattress can help you unlock all these wellness goals and without a block, yoga mat or resistance band in sight. 

Regardless of location, along with improving respiratory and cardiovascular function, in one 2016 study, researchers found that this much-loved mind-body workout can help lower your cortisol levels - which can be very beneficial for stress and anxiety. Of course, your cortisol levels naturally rise and fall over the day and night, but lower levels of this natural hormone can help you wind down gently after a busy day and fall asleep. 

To help you find your flow on your mattress, we spoke to a yoga expert and turned to research to find out the many benefits bed yoga can bring, so do keep scrolling. Plus, don’t miss our guides explaining the many different types of yoga, or if you're new here, discover our detailed-packed explainer on yoga for beginners

What is bed yoga?

As you might have already guessed, bed yoga is quite simply the action of swapping your usual mat for your mattress and doing yogic practice in bed. 

Zakiya Bishton, yoga teacher and founder of Mindwalk Yoga explains: “Yoga is an ancient well-being system from India that encompasses breath work, meditation, postures, self-study and much more. But one of the best things about yoga is the fact it doesn’t require a specific location or set-up, therefore yoga can be done everywhere and anywhere.” 

Fan of Vinyasa yoga? Prefer a seated stretch? Or is a restorative practice just before bed, using props like pillows to support your body, much more your thing? No matter your chosen style or time of yogic movement, other than focusing on your form, there are no hard and fast rules for mastering bed yoga. 

“We can all open our minds to what yoga is and where we can practise it,” Bishton tells us. “If a place feels suitable to you and brings you a sense of ease then you can practise there,” she adds. 

Is bed yoga actually effective?

In a nutshell: it really can be. “Whatever brings you a sense of ease and comfort is effective,” Bishton tells us. “Practising yoga from bed, especially in the winter months, can feel comforting, especially if you experience seasonal affective disorder and can feel low due to less sunlight.”

As is the case with any type of fitness — whether it’s strength training, Pilates or pole dancing — once you find a form of exercise you enjoy and are consistent in your practice, then you are well on your way to unlocking an effective wellbeing routine. 

Bishton concludes: “Effective yoga is a practice that brings you ease, that allows you to be present and journey through whatever is going on for you. If being in bed for a yoga practice is allowing this then it is effective.”

The benefits of bed yoga

The benefits of yoga are seemingly never-ending. From improving flexibility and mobility to increasing muscle strength and bolstering heart health, there’s a good reason why RunRepeat reports that 460,000 Brits are believed to practise this form of movement week in, week out.  

Wondering how to manage stress? Or do you suffer from anxiety or depression? According to research published in the International Journal of Yoga, yogic practices can reduce stress, anxiety and depression along with easing chronic pain and improving sleep patterns. Researchers behind the same study even went so far as to say that yoga is therefore able to ‘enhance overall wellbeing and quality of life’. Which is pretty impressive, right? 

And when it comes to bed yoga, the same mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits apply. But better yet, performing this cosy practice in the comfort of your bed can make reaping those rewards even more convenient and not to mention comfy. “Especially on cold, dark mornings, and to support you to relax into a deep sleep,” Bishton says. 

“One of my favourite practices to do from bed is Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation that is sometimes called a Yogic sleep,” Bishton adds. "It is a useful practice to let go of the day and drift off into a deeply relaxed state so you can fall into a deep sleep."

5 bed yoga flows to try tonight

Just like Ashtanga yogaHatha yoga or Iyengar yoga, you can make your bed yoga practice as long or as short as you'd like. You can also practise bed yoga at a time best suited to you. 

No matter your preferred time or style, we've compiled a list of the best bed yoga flows from a range of experts in the industry. All you need is some motivation to get going. Pyjamas optional.

1. 10-minute bedtime yoga

What? Ottawa-based yoga teacher, Kassandra Reinhardt (more informally known as Yoga with Kassandra) shares a soothing, meditation-focused Yin Yoga flow to do before you go to bed. 

Why? It's a gentle stretch sequence that focuses on relaxing the muscles in your body to help you wind down gently. 

How long for? 10 minutes. 

2. 12-minute yoga in bed

What? 500-hr certified yoga instructor Jessica Richburg helps you wake up gently and ease any aches and pains in areas and muscles with this flow that starts by bringing some awareness into your body. 

Why? "This quick, gentle flow is perfect to follow along to in the morning after waking up," Richburg says.

How long for? 12 minutes. 

3. 15-minute relaxing yoga in bed

What? Whether you want to find your flow in the morning or at night, this quick 15-minute practice from Richburg can help you stretch in no time. Expect to see lots of restorative favourites including child's pose, super satisfying side stretches and a deep butterfly pose. 

Why? "Sometimes 15 minutes is all you need to relax and feel good," Richburg says.

How long for? 15 minutes. 

4. 15-minute yoga in bed

What? Yogi Faith Hunter helps beginners and seasoned pros to 'soothe' their nervous system with this tranquil, soothing and relaxing yoga practice. Hunter doesn't do this practice from bed, but she does give you the choice to do so. 

Why? "If anxiety or stress has been keeping you awake, or if insomnia has become an unwelcome guest in your life, this gentle yoga sequence is designed just for you," Hunter says. 

How long for? 15 minutes. 

5. 25-minute yoga in bed

What? Richburg is back with this 25-minute flow that can help provide you with more energy during the day or a chance to unwind after a long 9-5. 

Why? "All of these postures are safe to practice on your bed and are intended for all levels," Richburg says. 

How long for? 15 minutes. 

Shop MC UK's go-to bed yoga essentials

Is it ok to do bed yoga?

According to our expert, it’s absolutely ok to practise yoga anywhere that feels right for you — and that might include your bed. “If you’ve never practised in bed before, a great starting point is a guided meditation or sound bath as you can simply lie down and receive a relaxing practice,” Zakiya Bishton, yoga teacher and founder of Mindwalk Yoga says. 

Rebecca Shepherd
Health Contributor

Rebecca, or Becks, is a freelance journalist with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She specialises in all things health and lifestyle and has written for a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist, the Evening Standard, Good Housekeeping, The Telegraph, Live Science, Tom's Guide and Fit&Well. Becks also writes copy for a number of brands and small businesses. 

When she's not weight training, tracking down the best gym leggings, reading a book or at her desk typing away, you'll find her in the kitchen perfecting a new recipe or bake.