Perfect Yoga Exercise for Beginners

Beginner Yoga Exercises

If you are new to yoga and looking for good exercises and poses in order to start your practice, I certainly recommend the poses detailed in the following article – Basic Yoga Poses for Beginners.  One of the great things about yoga is the wide range of exercises and positions that it offers, so in addition to the poses given in that article, there are many other great beginner’s yoga exercises as well and in this guide I am going to detail one of my favorite for you.

This particular exercise is called Yoga Rowing and it is part of another great beginner’s yoga set called the Morning Wake-Up Series | Yoga Poses for Beginners.  In fact it is the first exercise of that set and it is very often the first exercise I begin my yoga routine with as well.

One of the great things about this exercise is that it is an easy motion which can be done by yogis of all levels and of all ages.  In addition, this exercise is wonderful to warm-up with and it has the dual advantage of being a strengthening and stretching exercise.  If you are a beginner or out of shape and looking to get back into fitness then Yoga Rowing is a perfect place to start.

As with all yoga exercises, breathing is a key component of this movement as well so be sure to pay special attention to that aspect.  Also, as you might be doing this exercise first, be sure to start off gently and them extend the range of the movement as you feel you muscles starting to warm-up.

More Yoga Exercises and Poses:

In addition to the 2 beginner yoga sets I pointed out above, you will also will find plenty of yoga poses and exercises in the following 2 free online galleries. There you will find both, starter yoga exercises and poses, as well as more advanced one. Free Hatha Yoga Galleries and Free Kundalini Yoga Exercises.

For Yoga and Meditation Certification Program Students:

For teachers graduating from the Online Yoga Teacher’s Training and Certification Program or Online Meditation Certification Program, Yoga Rowing is a great exercise to do early in your class and my students have always loved this exercise.  Also, as this is a relatively easy movement to do, all students are generally able to participate. I use it in both my yoga classes and meditation classes as it really is a great way to get a stretch and get the energy moving.

Yoga Exercise for Beginners | Yoga Rowing

Below please find details of how to practice Beginner’s Yoga Rowing, along with illustrations, step-by-step instructions, benefits and practice tips.

Yoga Rowing Illustrations

Beginners Yoga Exercises - Yoga Rowing Back

Illustration #1: Back Position


Beginners Yoga Exercises - Yoga Rowing Front

Illustrations #2: Front Position

A. How to Beginner’s Yoga Rowing Exercise:

  • To begin, sit on the floor with your legs together or slightly apart and your knees straight.  Also, extend your arms straight out and have your fingers straight and your thumbs pointing up.  As with other Kundalini Yoga exercises your eyes are closed.  If this makes you uncomfortable, you can also do this exercise with your eyes open and looking straight ahead.
  • Now begin the motion, by leaning back 30 degrees or so as I have shown in Illustration #1 above.  Inhale deeply as you lean back.
  • Next in a smooth motion rock forward coming towards your toes. This is shown in Illustration #2.  It is ok if you knees bend slightly as you come forward.  Beginners should be careful not to stretch too far.  Just forward enough to get a gentle stretch of the hamstrings and lower back.  Exhale as you come forward.
  • Now inhaling again and rock back.  And continue the motion back and forth at a moderate pace.  Lose yourself to the rhythm.
  • Soon you should start to feel this exercise working on your abs and you should also feel it in your shoulders.  This means it is starting to work, keep going :-).

B. How Long To Do This For:

  • Beginners might not be able to do more than 15 or 30 seconds and that is perfectly ok.  Just take a break and start again.  Try to build up to 1 minute and from there build up to 3 minutes.  If you really love this exercise, feel free to keep going for even longer.  There are no bad affects and it will just make you stronger and fitter :-).

C. Beginner Yoga Rowing Benefits:

  • Good for stretching the hamstrings and calves.
  • Builds core strength and helps tone and firm the stomach.
  • Develops your shoulders and strengthens the deltoid muscle group.
  • Helps stretch the lower back.
  • Opens up the solar plexus and frees the body.
  • Improves respiration and gets the energy going.

D. Practice Tips for Beginners:

  • Often some parts of your body are not as strong as others, so if you find your shoulders tiring before your abs, you can lower your arms, while continuing to do the exercise.  If the abs are tiring you can limit the motion and continue on.
  • Once you finish the exercise a great addition is to reach forward and grab your toes while keeping your knees straight.  If you can’t reach your toes, grab your legs as far down as you can.  Then inhale completely, hold your breath and apply root lock.  Then exhale and inhale again and apply root lock.  Do this 3 times.  It is a great finish to this wonderful exercise.
  • Don’t forget to do the breathing along with the motion.

PS: If you enjoy this exercise or any other exercise on Mastery of Meditation and Yoga, please do share them with your friends. I appreciate your support.

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10 replies
  1. Swami
    Swami says:

    Earlier I taught Yoga is a bad idea. But after doing it and continuing for 6-7 months now. I feel I was wrong early. Yoga had brought change in body and I dont feel that I’m 69 any more. My leg and back pain has gone. I also gained weight which was need after my kidney stone surgery happened. Today I’m physically and mentally fit that is because of yoga.

  2. BarryMethodYoga
    BarryMethodYoga says:

    In our studio, we are a big advocate for props for our beginner students. Since our studio is both a rehab and fitness facility I’ve had an opportunity to develop a very effective program called the Barry Method which promises perfect alignment every time. I am sure you can agree that the first impression is the lasting impression and if a yoga students position their body is an inaccurate alignment they will repeat this position indefinitely until corrected. Poor alignments lead to pain and injuries.

    When I meet a new client who is interested in attending my yoga classes I first encourage them to participate in our Barry Method program and learn how to develop perfect alignment the first time and every time thereafter.
    Bad habits are hard to break. Barry Method establishes good habits and a happy body.

  3. Sunil Ekbote
    Sunil Ekbote says:

    I am 40 yrs old. I had suffered polio at the age of 4 for my left lower limb. However in the last 3 years i have been experiencing pain in the left lower back and knee. The doctor after examining the XRay has said it is Post Polio Syndrome i.e weakening of muscles later to polio attack after 35 yrs.
    Has advised lighter exercises and physio therapy. Request yoga experts to advise whether yoga would be helpful in this case and what form of yoga is best (ashtanga, bikram etc). Also advise what asanas to be done.

  4. Treating Scoliosis
    Treating Scoliosis says:

    Yoga is great for the body and the mind. Many people that suffer from back pain and scoliosis find it beneficial. Of course, if you have a condition like scoliosis it’s best to consult with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.

  5. Chris Pine
    Chris Pine says:

    Yeah, that pose does a nice job of stretching the hamstrings.

    The hamstrings have always seemed to be one of my most stubbornly tight areas, so I’m always grateful to learn new ways to stretch it.

    All the chair-sitting really takes its toll on our bodies.


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