Being in Bed or Recovering from an Illness

You might be practicing yoga in bed after an operation, after a serious illness or as a long term aspect of your life. Firstly it is important to be guided by your doctor, physiotherapists and any other medical staff. Once exercising from bed is advised you can adapt yoga poses to join in. The NHS has some good exercises for when you are in bed. You can use these to adapt yoga poses. 

Yoga can help by:

  • Increasing movement and energy levels
  • Strengthening your breathing
  • Strengthening your body and muscles
  • Reducing stress and increasing feelings of wellbeing and acceptance


  • Work with medical advice for your condition
  • Do the arms of poses
  • Move your spine whilst lying (provided medical advice supports this)
  • In ‘standing poses’ mimic the pose (ie. lift one leg instead of stepping forwards, when we are sitting with knees wide take your knees wide whilst reclining,  when we bend our knees you bend yours) so that even when lying you can increase your range of movement
  • If you are recovering from an illness you need to work very gently as your energy is needed for healing primarily


  • Do anything that means you might fall out of bed
  • Adapt a pose and create discomfort or confusion, find a way to enjoy the pose even if it looks quite different
  • Poses exercise caution with: To be truthful this is all poses. You are in bed for a reason, do not do too much or anything too difficult for you
  • Do not do anything where you need to move onto your tummy if this is not comfortable
  • Poses to avoid: anything that takes your out of bed if you are recommended to stay there