Daren Friesen is the director and founder of Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago which is the largest yoga center in the Midwest. An enthusiastic student and passionate teacher, his challenging style of vinyasa flow incorporates asana, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, and kriyas. Having studied with renowned teachers in the states and masters and gurus in India, Daren encourages students to use traditional elements and techniques to overcome the pull of opposites (duality) and to develop one-pointed attention. Through one-pointed attention, one discovers the keys to accessing true health and vitality. Daren’s classes offer provocative insights and opportunities for personal growth through his unique blend of a classical yet innovative approach to practice.
Alexia was 5 years old when she found a yoga book in her grandfather’s library. She loved playing around with the postures she saw in the photos. She would walk around the house on her knees in lotus posture while her dad scolded, “you’re gonna get hurt.” She never saw the book again but the inspiration remained in the back of her mind. Seventeen years later Alexia realized that she couldn’t deny her hunger to learn the practice of yoga: she left Guatemala, her home country, and moved to Chicago to start her teacher training. Alexia’s teacher and greatest influence is Kino Macgregor, one of the few certified Ashtanga teachers in the country. Kino’s inspiration helped Alexia discover that her heart is in the Ashtanga yoga practice. Alexia practices everyday under the guidance of Todd Boman, who supports her practice and teaches her faith and dedication with his own shining example. She has apprenticed with Todd for the past four years in the mysore classes and continues to assist him. Alexia has found a daily practice to be profoundly transformative, calming, and awakening to self-knowledge. It is these benefits that have given her tremendous faith in yoga and passion for the practice. As a teacher, Alexia inspires students to persevere, with enthusiasm, and discover what gifts their practice holds for them.
George’s passion for yoga finds root in inspiring others and making people feel good within their comfort levels. One must do a combination of things to be happy in life, and he believes yoga is one of them.
George’s class is a body and mind practice, which consists of asana (physical practice), pranayama (breath-work) and meditation. In every class, modifications will be offered to suit each student’s level and to ensure that everyone leaves practice feeling light and refreshed.
George has been studying yoga since 2005, and in 2011 he completed Moksha’s Teacher Training under the guidance of Daren Friesen. George continues his study of yoga through personal practice in addition to regularly attending workshops and trainings throughout Chicago. George is inspired by the teachings of Jim Bennitt, Saul David Raye, Richard Freeman, Gary Kraftsow and many others.
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.
Gabriel Halpern holds a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Health Psychology, and was trained at the Iyengar Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and Pune, India. Gabriel has practiced since 1970 and gives workshops nationally. He is the founder and director of the Yoga Circle in Chicago, IL since 1985. For over twenty years he was a core performance faculty member at De Paul University’s Theater Department. In 2011, he was awarded the Elder/Mentor of the Year by the Mankind Project. Just this July, his Yoga Circle was voted the “best traditional hatha studio” by Chicago magazine. Owing to the direct influence of BKS Iyengar and over 4 decades of continuous study Gabriel’s teaching is all that is yoga: zeal in practice, science, art form, lifestyle, and mystical mentoring.
Katie started practicing yoga in 2003, in hopes of healing a chronic injury from her former life as a dancer. Through the practice and study of yoga, she continues to discover not only freedom from chronic pain, but healing on a deep emotional and spiritual level. From this perspective of personal transformation Katie is eager to share the gifts of a consistent, intelligent yoga practice with others.
Katie completed her yoga teacher training certification at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago, Illinois. She has completed more than 1000 hours of teacher training with master teachers from around the world, and finds tremendous joy in learning. She is grateful for her generous teachers and healers including Kim Wilcox, Tias Little, Erin Cowan, Gabriel Halpern, Lucien Caillouet and Daren Friesen. Katie holds an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA from Loyola University Chicago. She continues her studies in meditation, asana, pranayama, philosophy, and somatics. Katie has particular interest in restorative practices, pain management and therapeutic yoga, and inspiring mindful and joy filled lifestyles.
As a teacher, Katie aspires to create a safe space in which students can practice this transformational work with awareness, honesty, and integrity. Her classes are tailored for the growth of her students, and always include focus on healthy and safe alignment, connection with the breath, and the powerful use of heartfelt intention.
Rooted in classical yoga as described in the ancient Vedic texts, Moksha Yoga Center provides an interdisciplinary approach that includes physical postures, meditation, breathwork and more. Featuring three locations that offer classes seven days a week, we invite you to practice and experiment with multiple styles taught by skilled and intuitive instructors. Revitalize with asana, and dig deeper through our workshops with world-renowned master teachers, expert lectures whose topics range from ayurveda to classical Indian art, and our internationally recognized 200- and 500-hr teacher trainings. While you’re here, enjoy bodywork, a fully-stocked yoga boutique, and a tight-knit community to explore and expand your personal practice.
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.
Julie grew up in Moline, Illinois, and found dancing and creative writing to be her passion at a young age. After discovering a love and flair for teaching high energy dance and fitness classes, she graduated from Illinois State with a major in Exercise Science. Upon graduating and moving to Chicago, Julie has worked as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, feeling blessed to inspire people to be healthy and happy. She once assisted a client in losing 40 pounds in 12 weeks, positively changing the woman’s life forever.
After popping into Moksha for a change of scenery and taking her first yoga class with Amber Cook, Julie knew she wanted to explore the world of yoga.
She enrolled in the Moksha teacher training program to build upon her fitness resume, not knowing it would transform her life and career intentions. She has now traded her pompoms for sun salutations and was blessed to travel to India for a month with a couple beloved friends from her teacher training group. Julie is loving teaching yoga, leading challenging physical classes but also has found a love in connecting with students. She has found a special home as the resident yoga instructor at Arts of Life, where she teaches yoga to adults with disabilities. The light and love that radiates from these dear yogis has been a powerful influence in Julie’s yoga path.
Come to Julie’s vinyasa class prepared to sweat and smile as you mindfully move with grace and power. Expect interesting flows blended with intense restorative stretches that will leave your body feeling fulfilled and open.