During the first class he took in 2001, Morgan noticed that there was an intrinsic challenge to the practice of yoga. Not yet ready to shift his attention to practicing yoga full time, his path began as an on-again, off-again student. But as Morgan steadily increased his practice to two and three times a week, he realized that the more time he spent on the mat, the more yoga helped to focus his mind – and with this focus, he found he could accomplish the goals he set for himself. With his devotion to yoga, Morgan wanted to share the knowledge and joy that yoga had given him, so he began teaching in 2008. With his down-to-earth approach and sense of humor, Morgan makes the practice of yoga accessible to all students by sharing and exploring the gifts of breath and physical movement. Now practicing and teaching yoga on a daily basis, Morgan takes the lessons he learns on the mat and applies them to his life, proving that yoga is both an exercise of the mind and body as well as a way of life.
Natalie teaches Tantric Hatha Yoga. She firmly believes through a deeper connection with body, mind and spirit, yoga helps us to identify and overcome whatever is keeping us from living our best life. A path of deep healing is not an easy one. It can be painful and at times seem to move at a snails pace, but as Natalie has and continues to learn, it is so worth it. Yoga gives us the tools to cultivate new perspective and a sense of peace and serenity. Natalie believes regular practice of asana(physical practice), pranayama(breath work), and meditation(awareness without focus) helps to reveal and brighten the light that lives within each of us.
Recently, Natalie took a pilgrimage to India for the Kumbh Mela (a sacred gathering at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswathi rivers) with master teacher Rod Stryker and his teacher Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of the Himalayan Institute where she was initiated into the Tantric Sri Vidya lineage. Other teachers Natalie has been fortunate to study with are, Daren Friesen, Gabriel Halpern, Aadil Palkhivala, Tias Little, and Gary Kraftsow.
Natalie teaches mindful and inspired classes that are rooted in self-acceptance, gratitude and love. Natalie’s goal for each class is to create a space for her students to cultivate and realize their own intentions, and to connect with their light and the teacher within. Teaching brings Natalie joy, and she wants to share that joy with all people!
When Natalie isn’t teaching she is working as a massage therapist, taking walks, hanging out with cats, learning about Ayurveda, reading, and thinking about what to make for dinner.
Nicole’s passion for yoga began in 2003 while attending Indiana University. In her search for a new physical activity, she enrolled in a yoga class as an elective. Nicole was surprised to find a practice that gives not only physical fulfillment, but also mental and emotional calmness. The serenity from her first class was a sense she’ll never forget. She knew then that yoga would be part of her life forever and that she would, one day, teach this amazing practice to others.
In 2011, Nicole completed her 200-hour teacher training at Moksha Yoga Center. She is currently working to complete her 500-hour certification, and continues to educate herself by studying under inspirational teachers such as Kim Wilcox, Aadil Palkhivala, and Seane Corn.
Nicole’s mission as a yoga teacher is to share this wonderful practice of mind and body with as many people as she can, allowing yoga to positively affect others’ lives as it has her own. You can expect consistent personal attention in her breath-synchronized and alignment-based classes.
Nicole truly believes that yoga is for everyone. No matter your age, gender, shape, or size – whether you are healthy, strong, flexible, or none of the above – there is a class for you. Finding a teacher and class with which you resonate is the key to beginning and maintaining the appropriate yoga practice for YOU.
Live passionately, breathe, move, and be true.
Nina Gaglio has been practicing yoga for over a decade and teaching for four years. She is trained in traditional Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga, and has a background in Iyengar yoga. Nina completed Moksha Yoga Center’s, 200-hour Teacher Training Certification Program, in 2006. In addition to her yoga experience, extensive studies in both Eastern and Western philosophy and professional anatomy training, Nina is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She studied with groundbreaking pioneers in the field of nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is accredited by Columbia University’s Teacher’s College and by the American Association of Drugless practitioners. She continues to explore her knowledge in yoga and philosophy through regular trainings, seminars, workshops and self-study with master teachers. A number of influential teachers have had a profound impact on Nina’s teaching and life, including Aadil Palkhivala, founder of Purna yoga, Seane Corn, co-creator of the Off the Mat, Into the World programs Gary Kraftsow, Director and Senior Teacher at the American Viniyoga Institute. Nina is dedicated to cultivating the direct experience of physical, mental and spiritual freedom. She believes that yoga provides a practice for being present through life’s challenges, celebrations, victories and defeats. “When done with a graceful balance of alignment, effort, surrender and focus, yoga postures transcend their physical and health benefits to become metaphors for life and living.”
Paul’s yogic journey began in 2004 when he was encouraged to attend a class by a friend. This class put him on a path that would lead him to teacher Daren Friesen and Moksha Yoga Center, in Chicago, where he attained his 200 hr certification in the spring of 2007. There he was able to deepen his practice and begin his career in Yoga. Paul was a workshop manager at MYC for two years, gaining exposure to many of the worlds most influential teachers. It was during one of these workshops that Paul met master teacher Aadil Palkhivala and was first exposed to Purna Yoga. Inspired by Purna Yoga’s authentic and holistic approach to yoga, Paul went on to attend the College of Purna Yoga. He completed his 500 hr certification, in the fall of 2009, and is now an Affiliate Purna Yoga Instructor. Paul has also had the opportunity to study yoga in India. He traveled around southwest India for ten weeks, giving him a deeper understanding of yoga that goes way beyond mere asana. It was here that Paul gained an immense gratitude for all of life’s blessings and began to see how all life is Yoga. As yoga continues to reveal itself, bringing balance, clarity, and openness of heart into Paul’s life, he strives to weave these themes into his classes in a fun, nurturing, and challenging way.
Pierce is passionate to share the teachings of yoga as gifts that have been passed on to him. Starting his yogic path in 2004 with friends jump-started an interest in making a regular commitment to contentment and joy. Having a desire to spread and share this joy and inner-luminosity the yoga practice enables one to see within all beings, has been his daily inspiration and quest. Life is one of an evolving nature, and the study and application of yoga allows you to mature along with it interactively in a positive way as it progresses. Pierce took part in the 200 hour year-long Moksha yoga teacher training in Chicago with Daren Friesen in 2010, and started teaching shortly thereafter. The power of the continuous practice of teaching greatly informs his desire to delve deeper into his own practice. He is big on “teaching your experience,” versus teaching something you saw someone else do once. This has the greatest connection to the transmission of yoga. His classes most definitely involve a deep connection to the breath as a way to physically and mentally align the body and mind. From this point, the sadhaka (practitioner) is lead towards a focused self, with intention. Then you have the ability to decipher what best serves you in that moment…both on, and off the yoga mat. Expect a supportive environment of growth, introspection, and sthira/sukha in his class using the many elements of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), and meditation (continuous focus). Pierce has had the privilege of studying with and his teachings are informed by: Rich Logan, Kim Wilcox, Gabriel Halpern, Daren Friesen, Jim Bennitt, Aadil Palkhivala, Rod Stryker, Tias Little, Nicolai Bachman, and Gary Kraftsow.
Referred to as “Yogi Rae” by her dearest friends and students, Rachel is a Yoga Teacher in and around the Western Suburbs of Chicago. She received her certifications under the guidance of Swami Sarasvatyananda (Mary Samano) at The Temple of Kriya Yoga, Nikki Meyers of CITYOGA and Y12SR, and Lela Beem and Cassie Rodgers of the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga. Specializing in therapeutic based Hatha Yoga, Yoga for 12-Step Recovery, and Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga, Rachel’s focus is to encourage proper structural alignment while my students move deeper into a meditative state at their own pace. She uses a number of techniques to strengthen the body, tame the mind, and improve the spirit – each session being completely customized to meet her students needs. As the Beatles sing, “When you move beyond yourself, you may find peace of mind is waiting there,” Rachel aims to promote a sacred atmosphere for students to let go of their outside distractions and find peace within.
Rachel discovered yoga in 2005 as part of an Eastern Religions class she was taking as an undergraduate. Upon leaving her first yoga class, she immediately knew of the power of the practice. For Rachel, yoga has changed the way she views herself, her body, relationships, and the world around her. Yoga ignited a deep sense of compassion and acceptance in Rachel, and since that time she has been working towards her goal of sharing this power with others.
In both her professional job as a mind/body therapist and as a teacher of yoga, Rachel strives to create a space for healing and transformation. She believes that the true purpose of yoga is to provide insight into the patterns of the mind, and by recognizing and detaching from these patterns one can become more aligned with the Self, where divine knowledge exists.
Rachel’s classes allow students to look inward through asana, vinyasa (breath synchronized movement), pranayama, mudra, and meditation. Rachel guides her students toward facing their self-judgments with inspired sequences that foster a heart-mind connection. Intention setting, psychology, and yoga philosophy are weaved throughout her dynamic and challenging classes.
Rachel’s thirst for yogic knowledge led her to complete over 700 hours during Moksha’s Teacher Training program. She thanks Daren Friesen, Rich Logan, Aadil Palkhivala, Ashley Turner, and Gabriel Halpern for continuously inspiring her practice and teachings.
Raquel is inspired, challenged, ignited and balanced by yoga, and is honored to teach such a sublime practice. She started on the path of yoga in 2007 while in studying Journalism at Columbia College when she discovered the subject of an assignment was also a yoga instructor. Her first downdog led to countless others, and in 2012, Raquel completed her 200-hr certification at Moksha Yoga. She leads creative and playful classes with modifications that allow students to create and own their practice.
When she’s not teaching, Raquel is working toward a holistic health coach certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She remains passionately curious about yoga, nutrition, and whatever else might catch her attention, and continues her studies to better serve her students. A proud lifelong Chicagoan, Raquel also loves running, writing fiction, growing food and cooking with it, magical-realists, and mid-morning dark chocolate.
Rich Logan has traveled the world, studying and teaching massage therapy and Yoga. He has been on faculty at the Chicago School of Massage therapy and The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Rich has also been a guest speaker on Western massage techniques at the Auyurvedic College in Mysore, India. A student of Yoga for over 11 years and meditation practitioner since his teens, Rich incorporates his knowledge of anatomy and physiology with a unique understanding of spirituality in the modern world. Rich has studied at the prestigious Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Madras, India with TKV Desikachar presiding. Rich’s significant teachers have been Kim Shwartz, Tias Little, Aadil Palkhivala, Gabriel Halpern and Anna Forrest. Rich has also assisted Tias Little in workshops as well as his Esalen retreat in 08. He currently interns at the Yoga Circle under the tutelage of the enigmatic and brilliant Gabriel Halpern in the Iyengar tradition. A word from Rich on what to expect in his class: "I teach as best I can to the level of the student. We hold poses longer than most average classes. I tend to focus on standing poses in my level 1-2 classes. My level 2-3 class is more oriented to movement and getting into some challenging advanced work. All my classes incorporate some theme whether Spiritual Mental or Physical. I encourage students to do their own deeper work, i.e. emotional energetic. In the end I want you to find out what works best for you, but be open to the suggestions that come your way.”
Serena Brommel wholeheartedly believes that a consistent, passionate, aligned yoga practice has the power to transform your life. She is honored to guide you in this process of self-exploration.
Serena came to yoga after chronic pain, illness, and anxiety left her feeling helpless and frustrated. Finding conventional medicine lacking solutions for her particular situation, she began to explore alternative and integrative therapies, eventually leading her to yoga. Beginning as a skeptic, Serena became a believer when she could feel the effects of the practice for herself. With a committed practice, she developed a more loving and understanding relationship with her body and mind, ultimately allowing healing, balancing, strengthening, and opening to occur over time. On a deeper level, she developed the ability to quiet her mind enough to connect with her own intuition, which has wisely guided her in countless ways throughout her life. Astounded by the power of this practice, she felt driven to study yoga intensely.
This passion led Serena to enroll in Moksha’s rigorous teacher training program, where she trained for more than 800 hours in yoga asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath work), meditation, anatomy and physiology, therapeutics, yoga nidra (guided deep relaxation), and yogic philosophy. She has had the fortune of studying with master teachers from all over the world, including Aadil Palkhivala, Gary Kraftsow, Tias Little, Kino MacGregor, Leeann Carey, Nicolai Bachman, Ashley Turner, and Gabriel Halpern. She is tremendously grateful for the expert guidance, wisdom, and support of Kim Wilcox, Amber Cook, Erin Cowan, and especially Daren Friesen along the way. Serena considers herself a lifelong student of yoga and continues to study extensively to keep her classes intelligent, fresh, and inspired.
In Serena’s classes, expect to unite your movement with your breath (vinyasa) while learning the subtle mechanics and alignment of the yoga postures. She will guide you in meditation and pranayama, interweaving yogic philosophy throughout class. You will also learn to formulate and work with a heartfelt intention (sankalpa) in service of your own individual purpose (dharma). Serena hopes that you will leave class feeling refreshed, inspired, and a little more united with the wisest part of yourself, your greatest teacher and guide.
PaintedYoga™. The idea of combining yoga and painting first came one summer, while I was watching my boys paint with their fingers on huge blank watercolor papers. As toddlers, they had fun stepping all over the painted papers – a pure expression of their creativity. In my heart, I know it’s now time to bring the idea to life and share this wonderful experience to rest of the world.
Merging my passions for both art and yoga, I started Painted Yoga™ to inspire creativity and encourage others to express and rediscover themselves through art and the practice of yoga. One of a kind canvas paintings are created using the body and the practice of yoga as art media.
I have been practicing yoga for eight years and also a martial artist. After getting injured in Tae kwon do, yoga helped me to recover emotionally and physically. I then decided to become a yoga teacher to share the healing and physical benefits of yoga to others. My classes are a lively mix of balance, strength and flexibility, focusing on alignment and breathing.
Thank you. Remember, there’s always an artist inside of us. Art and Yoga don’t have to be perfect, that’s why it’s called a ‘practice’.
Founder and Creator
Stephanie has studied the practices of yoga, health, and spirituality her entire life. Thanks to her mother, she was exposed to many different ways of taking care of the body and mind, and given the tools to overcome struggle and pain at a deep level. Stephanie believes in the goodness of people, the healing power of nature, and the importance of dreams. Her classes can be intense and challenging, yet always safe and mindful. She sees each student as a unique and beautiful expression of the divine, and welcomes anyone who simply wants to feel better and connect more to themselves and the life they desire to live. Stephanie has been teaching yoga since 2004, and has had the pleasure of teaching all over Chicago, Southern IL, and for Wanderlust Festival in California and Chicago. She is now expanding her horizons and teaching internationally as well. Music is a large part of Stephanie’s life, and she loves to blend her musical passions with yoga. You can find her around town, at Bhakti Fest, or other festivals singing kirtan, electronic music, doing sound healings, or simply singing to you in Savasana. With intense training in many styles of yoga, including Anusara and Acro, Stephanie’s classes are heart felt and dynamic, drawing from many years of study and practice. She thinks of yoga as her spiritual work, and hopes to help cultivate more beauty in the world through yoga and music. Join Stephanie in private and group classes throughout the city, or at monthly sound healings held throughout the Chicagoland area with her sister, Sarah.
Todd Boman took his first yoga class in 2001, on the recommendation of a friend, after moving to Chicago to pursue a fast-paced career in visual design. After some time, Todd discovered Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga was a physically demanding practice that he had not initially bargained for given his initial yoga experiences, which focused on relaxation. The challenge of the practice, however, was something that inspired him and became an aspect of yoga that he gravitated toward. In 2005, he traveled to Mysore, India, the home of Ashtanga Yoga, and practiced at the K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute with Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati. While practicing in the West, he felt confused and overwhelmed by all the options and information that was available about yoga. However, the veil lifted when he came to Mysore; he felt the authenticity of the practice and he knew he found true yoga. The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system links a series of postures together through conscious breath and points of focus. Guruji emphasized three main points for practice: Vinyasa, which is the system that links movements to breath; Tristhana, which are the three points of attention during the practice including the posture, the breathing, and the gazing points; Lastly, in the Yoga Shastra, it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but that light is shrouded by six poisons: desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga is practiced with dedication and enthusiasm over a long period of time the heat that is generated will burn away these poisons revealing the light of our inner nature. After annual stays at the KPJAYI and with Sharath’s blessing in 2008, Todd began teaching Ashtanga Yoga in traditional Mysore style, where the individual student learns directly from the teacher, rather than teaching to a larger group of students. Learning in this manner benefits the student in that it is possible for one to gain independence and confidence in their practice as and that becomes personal when it is transmitted from guru to student and committed to memory. In the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga, one can turn inward, gain insight, and become proficient in its methods, thereby reaping the many benefits the practice brings. For this to be accomplished, a slow, steady and dedicated approach is best. During his stay in Mysore in 2010, Todd had the privilege to assist Sharath teaching in the shala. His direct experience learning, not only asana but also the Ashtanga teaching method with its hands on adjustments has firmly grounded Todd as a student and teacher. Todd received his Level 2 Authorization which will allow him to teach the Primary and Intermediate Series. Todd is honored to share his direct experience of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore with the community of students in Chicago, contributing to what is a happier and healthier community of practitioners.
Tristan found himself on wits end. Struggling to find solace in life’s pleasures he spent his time drinking, fighting, and isolating himself from others in a numbed state that he preferred to his waking emotional pain. His deep seeded darkness found elucidation via the route of a college town Yoga studio. Amara Yoga & Arts in Urbana Illinois found its way into Tristan’s heart and left a life changing mark on his soul. This Yoga community brought light onto his dark troubles with existence. The warming smiles of teachers and students alike cast him out of his lonely reclusive spell and
welcomed him into the uniting community of Yoga. Yoga as union brought him up from dank cellar dwellings of a life not lived to an ascending quest for complete oneness with himself and the universe. Moving away from numbness,
he allowed felt sensations to re-enter and bring the joy of life with them. Knowing now that not everything felt is pain, he allows himself to feel and love life again. He didn’t, and still doesn’t, completely understand that
blissful feeling that washes over during the final resting pose of class. Yet this unawareness no longer scares Tristan from trying, but rather opens him up to more questions of what else is there to learn.
Tristan took his first Ashtanga Vinyasa class in Urbana, leaving the room drenched in sweat he was left to wonder ’what was that?’ and ’where can I get more of it?’. After graduating college Tristan found his way into the
Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago and in search of another Amara-esque Yoga studio. Moksha Yoga Center was and is that place to fill the void of his loved first Yoga studio back in central Illinois. Tristan practices a flowing yet aligned Vinyasa style of Yoga in hopes of finding the middle ground between BKS Iyengar’s alignment style and Sri Pattabi Jois’s Ashtanga Vinyasa. Through a life with devotion, knowledge, action, and meditation Tristan seeks to unite these ways to find a unifying Yoga for all.
Tristan relishes every opportunity he gets to study under and work with Daren Friesen and Gabriel Halpern here in Chicago. Other masterful teachers he has found the pleasure to study under and work with have been: Aadil Palkhivala, Tias Little, Nicolai Bachman, and Kino MacGregor. Outside of Yoga Tristan enjoys reading a great book, watching a moving film, and spending time with loved ones.
Vicki has an undoubted conviction that everyone needs yoga in their lives. She has been fascinated with and devoted to yoga her whole life and really came to realize it in her first class in 2001. Since then she has practiced at home, gyms, studios, beaches and abroad. In 2006, she completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification at It’s Yoga in San Francisco and has been teaching classes all over Chicago since. Some of the most powerfully influential and inspirational teachers she has practiced with include Seane Corn, Tias and Surya Little, Aadil Palkhivala, Jim Bennitt, Brenna Geehan, Scott Harig, Larry Schultz and many other local teachers. Her practice and classes focus on strength, grace, and detoxifying the body while synchronizing mind with movement, breath, and energy. She emphasizes finding comfort in your body and your mind and developing a more acute awareness of your Self and everything in life. Vicki hopes to share her understanding of yoga while continuing to learn and experience it for herself.
Wade first encountered the power of yoga in the late 90’s while traveling around the world. Since then, it has become his passion to discover alternative techniques for furthering growth of mind and spirit and for healing the body. He has been teaching since 2000 and is certified in Ashtanga/Vinyasa yoga, which still serves as the foundation of his practice and teachings, though over time he found that he connected more deeply with the unification of the breath and the creative unfolding of the asanas in Vinyasa Flow. He also holds certifications in Thai massage, Intuitive massage, Touch for Health, and is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher via the Yoga Alliance. Wade has studied with master teachers in Asia, India and the U.S. and is always excited to share his new discoveries with his students. Wade’s classes offer a unique fusion of styles derived from his travels and from the inspirations of great teachers like Dharma Mittra and Rusty Wells. His meditation and Advaita studies in India with Ramesh Balsekar and in the U.S with Dorje Kelsang have enhanced his intuitive nature and enriched him as a teacher. Seva is also an important part of his practice, he is a board member of Peoples Connection NGO and he organizes charitable events and classes for those in need throughout the year. Wade strives to find innovative ways to keep his students and community motivated and connected, and whether through teaching a class, workshop, retreat or a teacher training, the inspiration he receives from his students is what keeps his love for yoga alive.
Zoey VanDuren has had a passion for movement and creativity ever since she took her first ballet class at the age of three. In her studies, she has continued to pursue the understanding of movement, alignment, and health through as many mediums as possible. While obtaining her BFA in dance at the University of North Texas, Zoey took her first yoga class and was instantly hooked. It was through yoga that she first accessed the connection between mind, body, and spirit that continues to motivate her in all that she does.
After studying under many different teachers and investigating numerous styles, Zoey found her yoga-home at Moksha and completed the 200hr training program with Daren Friesen in 2009. Among many of the wonderful teachers she has had a chance to study with, those who inspire her most are Kim Wilcox, Rich Logan, Todd Boman, Tias Little and Bryan Kest.
In Zoey’s classes you can expect to find dynamic flow paired with an intent focus on alignment. Interweaving the power of breath and intention, Zoey asks her students to release themselves from the constant fluctuations and judgments of the mind, and to connect with the true self in the present moment.