Natasha Rizopoulos

One of my favorite columns in Yoga Journal is Beginner’s Expert, written by Natasha Rizopoulos.  Natasha is a yoga teacher who has been teaching and training yoga teachers for many years.  In her column she talks about how practice safely while getting the most out of the practice.  She also created a DVD, the Yoga Journal Step by Step Home Practice.  I had the pleasure of talking with Natasha about yoga.

1.      When and how did you start yoga?

About 15 years ago.  A friend brought me to an asana class and I was instantly hooked … It was reminiscent of the best of my days as a ballet dancer, without some of the negative aspects that had caused me to stop dancing.

2.  Why did you become a teacher?

I wanted to share the thing I had become so passionate about so that others could experience the benefits that so immediately became apparent to me.  I wanted to help people so that they could get on a Yogic path and stay on it, in whatever incarnation, for the rest of their lives.

3.  What is your purpose and goal for your online column for Yoga Journal?

It relates to why I started teaching; as a new practitioner I became hurt quite quickly because I had a lot of enthusiasm but not much information or guidance.  My hope with the column is to share essential information about foundational postures so that students can find the fullest and safest expression of poses, and be able practice for years to come without injuring themselves.

4. Do you have any future plans?

I’ll continue to lead Teacher Trainings (currently I lead 2 a year in Boston) and write and travel.  In the immediate future I’m thinking about creating some podcasts so that people who can’t get to my classes can still practice with me, and down the road I hope to put it all together in a book, but at the moment that is a fairly distant dream …

5.  Do you have any advice for beginning yoga students?

Please, please go to Beginner classes!  Even if you are already quite fit or athletic you will be served by spending at least a little while in a Beginner setting, so that you can get the crucial information about breath and alignment that is often assumed, and therefore not articulated, in more advanced classes.  My great regret is that I didn’t go to Beginner classes when I was new to the mat … (I mistakenly thought they would be boring, when in fact the pace and wealth of information makes a good Beginner class a truly enriching and satisfying experience).  As a result, I had some unnecessary injuries and think I actually slowed down my progress because I didn’t really know what was going on and was always playing catch-up.  Although I rarely go to public classes these days, when I do my favorites are inevitably Beginner classes, because the tone in the room is so beautiful, and the gentle and measured pace allows me to move at the speed that I prefer and that I practice at home.

Visit Natasha at http://www.natasharizopoulos.com/ and http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/1593

One Response to “Natasha Rizopoulos”

  1. Bob Weisenberg
    August 18th, 2010 11:08

    Enjoyed this interview, Carrie.

    Thanks to Meredith for Tweeting it.

    Bob Weisenberg

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