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.
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.
Yoga For All Beings is a yoga studio located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Yoga For All Beings offers a variety of classes including: vinyasa, vin-yin, beginners yoga, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. Our studio occupies a large, open loft space on the 3rd floor at 508 N Hoyne Ave, across the street from the vegan cafe, Upton’s Breakroom. With numerous windows providing natural light and exposed brick walls, Yoga For All Beings is often called a “hidden gem” by students. It’s not just about our look, but about what we do inside of the yoga walls that really matters. All YFAB teachers are not just well- trained and certified instructors, but they’re wonderful human beings who are eager to create the best experience possible for their students. We understand that not all beings are built the same and that every individual body is different, requiring different adaptations for certain poses. We’ve got tons of props at the studio, including bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps and sandbags. At Yoga For All Beings, we believe that anyone can practice yoga. With infinite possibilities there’s so much that you can do on a yoga mat, whether you’re wanting to take things up a notch or down a notch. Child’s pose is always there for you, no matter what anyone on the mat next to you might be doing. Yoga For All Beings is a judgment-free zone… we welcome you with open arms, happy hearts and smiling faces. For new students, please take advantage of our intro special: $20/1 week of unlimited yoga.
I’m proud to say I’m the oldest teacher on the Moksha staff. Years of intense play: sports, dance, horseback riding, skiing and triathlons - not to mention parenting! - have kept me fit, but life itself takes its toll no matter how hard you work at defying age. My firm belief, however, is that if there is a fountain of youth, it’s yoga. I’ve taught since 2000, and have seen how yoga is truly limitless in its ability to keep us in compassionate touch with our bodies, our selves. I did my initial training with Ana Forrest, then Daren Friesen, and many other master teachers. My style is so eclectic I hesitate to label myself, but the closest would be vinyasa flow. Core strength, reverence for the breath, respecting one’s natural range of motion, and always seeking for the sense of flow are essential to my style. I love language and music and incorporate Sanskrit and poetry into my classes. Being a psychotherapist, I value the addition of yoga to my healer’s toolkit.
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.
Mia Park teaches Tantra Hatha in the Moksha Yoga 500 Hour Teacher Training and is a certified ParaYoga Level I instructor, 500E-RYT, and Rest and Renew restorative yoga teacher. In addition to having over 1,000 hours of teacher training, Mia received the Usha Yoga Foundation Scholarship and is becoming a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT). Mia is passionate about sharing how the power of yoga transforms us by revealing our highest self and how the right yoga practice helps us live peacefully and vibrantly. Mia found yoga while teaching cardio kick boxing in 2002. Yoga offered her the perfect weave of physical health with internal peace that she needed to balance her active life style of playing in rock bands and professionally acting. Mia draws on her creative life style to bring a warm, joyful attitude to this ancient science of self evolution. Mia trains extensively and broadly in yoga. She recently spent a month in India, studying the tantric lineage of Sri Vidya with her main teacher, Rod Stryker, and his teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. Mia also studies the Desikchar tradition with Gary Kraftsow and Chase Bossart. In the Iyengar/alignment tradition, Mia studied with Aadil Palkhivala, Gabrielle Halpern and Barbara Benagh. Mia has learned Anusara practices from Geri Bleier and Mitchell Bleier and practiced Ayurveda at Arogyaniketana Ayurveda Ashram in Hariharapura, India. She’s also studied with Dr. Robert Svoboda. Nicholai Bachman is another Ayureda teacher she studies with and learns sanskrit from. She has learned when to apply appropriate force in yoga from Ana Forrest, when to soften from Swami Shankardev, when to laugh from Dharma Mittra and Mark Whitwell, and when to deeply trust her number one teacher: her highest self.
It was in Belgrade, Serbia, Gordanas home country, where she took her first yoga class. It was 1996 when she went to a dance studio to take yoga class wondering what yoga was. The book inspired her to search for the meaning of the word yoga and, her curiosity led to a three-year journey of Hatha Yoga. After this sequence of her life, she lost practice and for many years she had no thoughts of yoga. One day the circumstances of her life led her to move to the US. Desire for yoga was awakening again and, Moksha Yoga Center became her home. She practiced with different teachers there and, one of them, Jim Bennitt inspired her to continue deeper exploration of yoga through Teacher Training. In 2010, she completed Teacher Training program under the guidance of Daren Friesen. After taking workshops with master teachers like Tias Little, Aadil Palkivala, Rod Stryker, she was led to Ashtanga practice Mysore style one morning. In the silence of self-practice and Todds patient guidance, Gordana found her true practice. Daily practice was teaching her how to synchronize mind and body, overcome habits, relax within discipline, learn how to be open and fearless and find sacredness in everyday life. She discovered something that was always available, inexhaustible and impossible to posses.
In 2011 meeting Richard Freeman and reading his book The Morror of Yoga was the reaffirming moment when she decided to work towards teaching Ashtanga practice.
Gordana has been teaching since 2010 and, she feels she is just beginning. She has practiced Ashtanga for three years and, in 2013 she traveled to Thailand, India and Nepal drawn to search for the roots of yoga, meditation and Buddhism. She spent 7 weeks practicing with R. Sharath Jois in Mysore India, which helped her to reach a deeper integration of the practice. In Nepal she studied Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and Buddhist philosophy.
Gordana continues her daily practice with Todd Boman who teaches her courage, dedication, discipline and trust every day with his own example. As a teacher she aspires to inspire and guide students to go deeper within and search for more balance and depth in both yoga and life. She is interested in reaching harmony in body and enabling energy to flow freely through all channels, joints, muscles and organs. She is interested in reaching levels of oneself that otherwise one could never reach and feel who/what we are instead of who/what we think we should be. With practice, Gordana challenges both herself and her students to rethink what asana is about and potentially work on marrying asana and meditation to reach a deeper practice where it could be possible to meet stillness in movement and experience flow in stillness.
Joe’s journey inward began as early as when he was eight or nine and started to learn methods in self hypnosis to draw himself inside and explore his inner world. Since that time he has traveled extensively studying with teachers of vastly varying esoteric traditions experiencing their practices and exploring their practical applications in his personal practice and his daily life.
In 2002 Joe began practicing yoga as a moving extension of his meditation practice.
In 2011 he became a certified Hatha and Vinyasa yoga teacher as well as certified to teach the Montreal Style of AcroYoga. Joe’s mission in the classes that he teaches is to help students cultivate a sense of joy and playfulness in their practice. He believes that there will always be new challenges to face and to overcome, but joy comes from the process of exploring those areas where you do have success and allowing them to lead you to discovering success in ways that you didn’t know where available to you.
In addition to teaching both Hatha/Vinyasa and AcroYogaMTL Joe also actively practices and provides sessions in Thai Bodywork and Shamanic subtle body energy healing.
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.