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Beginner's Expert: Natasha Rizopoulos

Beginner's Expert and Ashtanga teacher Natasha Rizopoulos coaches students on all aspects of a beginning practice.

Ashtanga yoga teacher Natasha Rizopoulos is the star of our Beginner's Step-by-Step video series. She is a senior teacher with Yoga Works and has studied with K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India.

Natasha loves teaching beginning students for the enthusiasm and earnestness they bring to class. "We all need to try and incorporate that early eagerness and receptivity to instruction into our practice, no matter how experienced we become," she says. "It's that 'beginner's mind' that allows us to learn and grow."

Natasha enjoys hearing from you. If you have a question for her, please submit a comment at the bottom of this page. You can read the archive of Natasha's expert advice below. Practice with Natasha's DVDs.

Morning Routine

Padmasana Preparation

Tackling Transition

Warrior Priorities

Savasana Solution

What's the Frequency, Natasha?

Inversion Inquiry

The Ticket for Taut Hamstrings

Home Practice 101

Camel Conundrum

Core Strength for Smooth Transitions

Cross-Training Compatibility

Fashion for Function

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chaturanga from Top to Toe

Mindfulness of the Mouth

Asana by Appointment

Determination vs. Intention

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Reader Comments

Dani D.

Namaste, Natasha. I am a returning beginner (meaning I was a beginner when I started & stopped four years ago) to my yoga practice as of 6 or 7 days ago.

I am very stiff & not as flexible but i attempt to do some poses (mostly twists & backbends) despite the fact they're uncomfortable. How do I avoid forcing my body into poses that my mind thinks I can do but my body doesn't? Also, what are some ways to tell when you're pushing your body too far before injuring yourself?


HI, i'm a 36 year male who started doing daily yoga a month ago in order to keep my weight at check (I recently lost a lot of weight but it started to increase again).

The problem I'm having is I' cant seem to make the single foot step forward from down dog to e,g a lounch pose without having to use a hand to get my feet the last 40 cm or so forward.

I find this very distracting from the routine and after doing this almost daily for weeks I don't see any improvement in this area while I'm getting noticeable looser/flexible in other areas.,

Are there certain specific poses or techniques to improve this?

Thanks (ps I'm non English so excuse my spelling etc)

Teresa V.B.

Hello Natasha: My friend and I have practiced yoga for 8 years, 3 days a week at 5AM on her back porch year-round. We live along the eastern coast in the central Florida region. Sometimes in the winter the temperature at 5AM can get down to freezing but usually the coldest mornings are in the mid-40's. Is it unhealthy for us to practice yoga in the cold weather despite layering our clothing to help keep out much of the cold?

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