The Best Bed Yoga Routines For Seniors

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Senior citizens can receive significant benefits from doing these bed yoga routines which involve meditation, stretching, and specific movements designed to help improve their quality of life.

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Do you currently have a senior citizen living with you? You want them to be as healthy as possible. One of the best ways to improve their health and longevity is to introduce them to yoga. This ancient practice has been used for many centuries, and has been found to be therapeutic for people of all ages.

If you have a senior citizen that is not able to perform these out of bed, and there are certain types of yoga that can be performed in bed to provide them with maximum comfort.

What Exactly Is Bed Yoga?

Bed yoga, or bedtime yoga, can be defined in many ways. Essentially, it is yoga that is accomplished prior to going to sleep. If a senior citizen is able to stand or use a yoga mat without too much effort, they can practice these routines in the usual way.

On the other hand, if they are tired, and they would like to use their bed as a yoga mat, there are routines that can be done from a seated position. Overall, they are designed to be relaxing, helping them quiet their mind so they can get a good nights rest.

What Are The Benefits Of A Bedtime Yoga Routine?

There are so many benefits to practicing yoga. First of all, it can eliminate or at least reduce insomnia. The symptoms of insomnia mental instability. They are unable to quiet the mind long enough to have a restful sleep.

In addition to this, consistent yoga practice can lead to weight loss due to improving their sleep quality. Their energy levels in the morning will also be increased simply because they will be able to sleep restfully all night. It can promote relaxation, and help them calm their mind, which is what most yoga practitioners strive for by practicing the following routines.

RELATED: Wheelchair Yoga for the Elderly

Bed Yoga Routines & Poses

Here is an overview of those routines that the senior living with you will enjoy doing from their bed on a daily basis. So, check with their doctor first, then give a few of these a try.

Leg Up The Wall Yoga Routine

The first thing that they will need to do is lie on their back. They will then want to place their arms directly at their sides. The palms of their hand should be facing down. In most cases, their headboard will be against the wall. If they do not have one, this is actually of great benefit. You can help them raise their legs up on the wall. By doing so, they can keep their legs perpendicular to their body.

Be sure to keep them at least 2 feet from the wall so they will have room to lower their feet by bending their knees. The wall is only there to provide them with extra support in case they are not able to continue lifting their legs. This particular pose should be practiced for at least five minutes to complete the entire process.

The Reclined Butterfly Pose

This particular routine is also practiced on their back. They might need assistance with this routine. Someone will be in front of their legs. You will then push down on their knees laterally. This will allow them to stretch their leg muscles.

If they are strong enough, they can assist you by pushing back up. This will enable them to build their leg muscles as they are stretching, which can help them when moving about your home.

Some older adults may need a little assistance getting started or might prefer working with a partner.

Yoga Nidra

This is a routine that does not require any type of stretching or movement. In fact, it is a guided meditation that you can practice with them. It is designed for improving the quality of sleep, reducing stress, and can help them relax.

By lying down, you will have them focus on their breath. They should breathe deeply for several minutes. You can walk them through a guided meditation, such as focusing first on their feet, and then gradually up their body until they have relaxed everything.

You can then sit with them for a few minutes, and they should preferably have their head on the pillow. This type of yoga is very relaxing which may prompt them to fall asleep shortly after beginning this mental exercise.

RELATED: What Are The Best Yoga Apps for Seniors?

Practicing Morning Yoga

Another way that you can practice bed yoga is to do so in the morning. In fact, most people prefer to do their yoga early in the morning. Whether you are doing this on an air mattress that is on the floor, or the bed that the senior sleeps in, all of these routines can be accomplished without any problem. The softer the service that they have to work with, the better it will be for those that currently suffer with any form of joint pain.

There are many benefits to doing this yoga in the morning, especially when it comes to clearing your mind and looking forward to a brand-new day. From a physical perspective, it can increase strength, flexibility, and circulation throughout the body. There are certain routines that work best with seniors that would like to practice that yoga in the early morning hours.

Incorporate Pranayama With Stretching

Prior to getting dressed, the first thing that a senior citizen should do is sit in the lotus position. If they are not able to do to flexibility issues, they can simply set up with their back against a pillow on their headboard. They will want to stretch their legs initially. This can be done by achieving a butterfly pose or simply stretching forward trying to touch their toes.

Once they have done this for a few minutes, they will want to close their eyes and begin to do Pranayama. This is simply the name of the ancient breath technique that has been practice for well over a thousand years. It is a focus on inhaling, and then exhaling, focusing your mind on nothing but your breath.

This is different from meditation for the simple reason that you are focused on one particular thing. This is your breath, and by doing so, all of the thoughts that might be inhibiting to a senior citizen will not be present as they begin to relax.

RELATED: Tai Chi For Seniors

How To Improve Their Bed Yoga Session

There are several ways to improve their sessions whether they are doing this in the morning or the evening. First of all, they need to be dressed comfortably. Second, relaxing music should be played in the background, preferably without anyone singing. Third, the mood of the room should be relaxing. You may want to consider using essential oils, and at the very least, dimming the lights so that the room has a dreamlike appearance.

Then, you will want to do yoga with them, helping them with their exercises and their meditation. Once they become able to do this on their own, they will become addicted to the way that it makes them feel. Over the course of several weeks, they will see a definitive change in the way that they feel physically, and emotionally, by practicing yoga every day.

Wrapping Up

Yoga has been around for millennia and is now being practiced more and more in Western countries. This is partly because modern science has conclusively shown that it has positive benefits for those that practice it regularly. Whether they start out with simply meditating and focusing on their breath, or if they want to do exercises from their bed, they will gradually begin to improve.

By working with the seniors, you will see a dramatic shift in the way that they feel about themselves, their life, and noticed definitive changes in their physical abilities. By using these simple strategies, you will be able to help your senior citizen feel better by practicing that yoga on a regular schedule.


Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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