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.
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.
Blanca began her training at Moksha Yoga Center in 2003 at the young age of 18. It was her mother who first inspired her to to pursue the path of yoga and has supported her journey ever since. From that point on she has studied with master teachers Shiva Rea in Vinyasa flow, and aliginment based Iyengar from Aadil Pahkivala. Her recent study with Astanga teacher Kino Macgregor has sparked a passion for the astanga practice. She has dedicated her daily practice to this traditional form. Blanca has a degree in dance from Columbia College Chicago and also intensively trains the Brazilian martial art capoeira. It is no surprise to experience a blend of these beautiful practices within Blanca’s creative vinyasa flow classes. Her priority as a teacher is to offer a space where her students can deepen their practice, receive a balanced practice of pranyama, asana, and meditation and leave class with an overall feeling of ease and wellbeing.
Lance Hoagland has been a teacher of yoga for over 10 years, studying yoga with a variety of teachers and styles. Lance has completed his 200hr Teacher Training Certification with Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago, IL. Having spent 2 months practicing Astanga Yoga in India last year, he has been influenced by the teachings of Ansuara and Power/Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Lance has taught in Salt Lake City, Seattle, New York and Costa Rica. Lance is a certified AFAA personal training instructor and was the lead yoga instructor at the acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas before moving to Chicago.
Laura has been practicing yoga steadily since 1996, originally as a means to ’escape’ the chaos and flux of her personal life. Over the years, her yoga saw a transformation from the idea of ’checking out’ of daily life to one of ’checking in’ to one’s capacity for self-knowledge and centering. The base of her yoga experience lies in the Iyengar method, which establishes a keen awareness of proper alignment and posture in asana. However, her discovery of the art of yoga would begin when she stumbled upon Astanga, Vinyasa, and Universal Yoga - each of which emphasizes a progressive flow/sequence of asana to open to deeper possibilities. Through realization of the physical benefits of yoga, Laura eventually became intrigued with the science of yoga and started exploring the sacred texts, which provided a refreshing outlook on life and the interconnectedness of all beings. Those aspects are incorporated into her eclectic Vinyasa teaching style, which Laura describes as creative, compassionate, challenging, and inquisitive. “I like to lead a class with a balance of the physical and psychological, the spiritual and the perceptually real. My main focus as an instructor is to engage the mind in the moment, and encourage students to individualize the teachings, to remove any obstacles that keep them from feeling or enjoying their practice. It’s also not uncommon to develop a healthy sweat during a vigorous class!" Certified and formally trained through Moksha Yoga Center’s teacher training program, Laura has been instructing since 2001. Designing a lifestyle that nurtures expression, growth and creative endeavors has been crucial to her as a working artist and graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Laura was a founding member of TENbyTEN magazine, a Chicago-based arts and culture magazine that is independently published and the dwellingseries, which strives to provide alternative viewing experiences in unique settings for artists. She is also a vegan who manages a Whole Foods Market store, a job with the pace, stress, and responsibility that she claims provides ample opportunity to exercise the principals of yoga in a public forum. “I feel fortunate to be in a position to affect so many people (corporately and in the community) with my positivity, shoppers and employees alike, and I’ve learned a lot about human nature working in a grocery store for 10 years.” Laura’s favorite things Pose: Ekapada Rajakapotasana ~ King Pigeon Mudra - Sanmuki ~ Closing off the Senses Yoga Soundtrack ~ tablas or downtempo Influential Artists ~ Robert Rauschenberg and Antoni Tapies Treat ~ dark chocolate Let your Inner Light radiate upon others so that you may see your beauty reflected in the world.
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.
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.
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.
Born and raised in Flint, MI Amber is a world traveler, animal and music lover. She has overcome serious physical injuries, including fractured vertebrate, through her yoga practice. Amber has also experienced peace of mind from anxiety and PTSD through the practice. Amber’s class focuses on the subtle aspects of the practice by incorporating meditation, alignment, breath, and mindfulness in a vigorous class. She uses intention as direction with an emphasis on cultivating the student’s awareness of what they personally need from their practice. Through practice, Amber believes passionately that yoga reveals one’s true nature and purpose for being (dharma). With this awareness, the student opens up to experiencing the world in a more honest and joyful way.
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.”
Kathie has been studying and practicing yoga since 1997 and has completed teacher training. She completed teacher training courses with Moksha Yoga Center, Ana Forrest and Tim Miller and has also studied with a variety of master yoga teachers. Kathie is drawn to yoga because it purifies and integrates body, mind, and spirit. In her classes, she draws on her studies with master teachers, emphasizing a flowing series of strengthening poses and breathing to open the mind and body. Kathie also studies Thai Yoga Therapy and is a health care attorney by profession.
David Nathan is a fourth generation Chicago native. A lifelong Chicago sports fan, he is not unaccustomed to suffering (dukha). Yoga practice helps David remove the veils of identification, misunderstanding, and habitual reactionary patterns in his relationships that cause pain and suffering. On a physical level, David came to Yoga after years of tennis left stiffness and pain in his shoulders and knees, and feet, and hips, and back, etc. Yoga practice helps David maintain his good health and build and sustain energy throughout his day. David teaches yoga in the Viniyoga tradition. Viniyoga is a holistic and integrated practice using yogic tools to gain optimal wellness on all levels of the human system: the physical body; physiological body; mental body; emotional body; and spiritual body. Viniyoga asserts that Yoga, including postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), chanting, meditation (dhyana), and personal ritual, are individual tools to be used to help one affect personal transformation and growth, according to one’s needs, interests, and goals. David will lead you on a personal exploration and journey of Self using Sadhana (Practice) to help deepen your self-awareness and to help you ground yourself in the present moment. You will leave David’ class feeling more grounded, comfortable, and confident in your body, with your energy calm, relaxed, but alert. As David’s teacher Gary Kraftsow explains, “We practice to deepen our self-awareness, establish ourselves in the present, set a direction for our future and actualize our full potential.” A graduate and student of Daren Friesen’s of the Moksha Yoga Center teacher training program, David completed an advanced 500 hour teacher training with Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), www.viniyoga.com David continues to study with Gary Kraftsow and is studying to become a Certified Viniyoga Therapist with AVI. A word from David about what to expect in his classes: “Viniyoga’s key insight is that the practices of Yoga are adapted to the individual, rather than adapting the individual to the practice. We will make certain choices in adapting postures, breathing exercises, sound and mantra, and concentration exercises to affect change on all levels of your system. There are four key differences in a Viniyoga asana (postures) practice: 1. Use of adaptation of postures to create specific structural and energetic effects; 2. Emphasis on the breath as a medium to measure and affect change in your system; 3. Use of different patterns of repetition and stay in postures to achieve different effects; and 4. Employing an art and science of specific sequencing to have different effects on the mind/body. Expect to have your mind as well as your body challenged!"
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.
Allison English found yoga as a teenager while recovering from serious sports injuries – she stayed with it through a dizzying array of life’s experiences, transitions, and traumas. As her Spirit Path would have it, she was exposed to Forrest Yoga first and fell in love with this methodology of practicing, teaching and healing – that was over 15 years ago and she hasn’t looked back! Allison is trained in anthropology and romance linguistics, along with chemistry and mathematics, but she began teaching yoga 10 years ago at the gentle nudge of her first teacher who saw a spark in her for guiding and inspiring others. She found her life’s passion in becoming a healer through the practices of Forrest Yoga, and has since studied many forms of yoga, hands on healing, anatomy, and energy medicine. Allison is a certified Forrest Yoga Teacher and travels the world as one of Ana Forrest’s assistant teachers and business consultants, leading her own retreats, conference sessions, teacher training, and workshops along the way. In her classes you will find a clear focus on setting personal healing intents, strengthening connections to your core, deepening the flow of your breath consciously, and playing with the power of practice to transform you. She is a healer who draws on energy work, ceremony, expert hands on assists, humor, and clear sequencing to help her students embody Spirit. Every practice with Allison is unique and tailored to all levels of students.
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.
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.
I have been a student of yoga for 17 years and a teacher for 12. I fell in love with yoga as a psychology/pre-med student, when I realized by the knot in my stomach that med school was not for me! I was passionate about the miraculous human body but was much more interested in the art of health than disease. I found myself in an ashram in India and the mountains of Nepal instead of the library! Along my journey, I have had the honor of studying with a variety of master teachers in disciplines ranging from Ashtanga to Iyengar Yoga, all of whom have contributed to my comprehensive style of teaching: Physically balancing a blend of dynamic movement with longer holds in a progressive breath-centered sequence; Energetically balancing the doing - the action and intention in each pose, with the allowing - the surrender, relaxation, and acceptance in each pose. For each class, I choose specific alignment principles and intentionally weave them throughout the practice in slow, mindful meditation. All of my classes focus deeply on alignment and breath. Because the practice of yoga asks us to listen within and pay attention to what arises, I do not play music. To me, the practice of yoga is the practice of living life and living in our TRUE reality! It is a never-ending journey of self-discovery and awareness. Yoga teaches us to become quiet, relaxed, and available to listen. It teaches us to become our own witness. Of everything- not just the pretty stuff! With presence, focus and deep inward concentration, we learn to distinguish between the chatter and fear of our ego mind and the truth of our heart, or intuitive mind. Our intuition is our heart aligning us with our dharma, or, our Soul’s true purpose for being. When we practice listening, we get to know ourselves authentically and learn that all the answers really are within us! And now ONLY right action in all aspect of our life is possible! Through the practice of yoga, I have learned to see with a more expansive perspective. I have learned that there is no right or wrong. There is only the process and the practice, and the willingness and desire to explore and grow. For the past 6 years, I have been apprenticing under the brilliant Gabriel Halpern, of the Iyengar Tradition, at the Yoga Circle in Chicago (which I absolutely LOVE!!).
I also very much resonate with the teachings of Para Yoga taught by Rod Stryker. I have learned through studying different styles of yoga that while approaches may vary, the intention is the same – to provide the practitioner with a tool to become more conscious, free and loving in spirit, and joyful in life!
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.
Lindsey has been a dedicated yoga student since 1990 and is a certified yoga teacher. She has taken teacher trainings in yoga for both adults and children, as well as yoga for injuries and pregnancy. Lindsey holds a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Northwestern University. She taught pre-school as well as counseled abused women and children. Lindsey practiced law for eight years and also has certifications in nutrition, anatomy and meditation. Lindsey continuously educates herself, so she can better serve her students. She is devoted to her yoga practice. She practices regularly and studies with yoga masters from around the world. While the list of teachers is too numerous to delineate here, the following styles have had a significant influence on her: Power yoga, Astanga yoga, Forrest yoga, Anusara yoga, Jivamukti yoga, Universal yoga, Yogic Arts, Kwando and Dance. Lindsey’s classes reflect her sincere appreciation, understanding, and passion for all aspects of Yoga. In each class, she blends her training and thirteen-plus years of experience into a creative, challenging, and soulful vinyasa flow. She takes her students on a journey through every part of the body, exploring the workings of their minds and their connection to spirit. She inspires her students to become self-aware - mentally, physically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually - and teaches them how to use the practice to move energy and balance themselves in any way they need. Lindsey seeks wisdom in action, so she constantly reinforces the principals of alignment and offers variation in each pose so students of all levels can feel safe and get what they need. She makes up a new class each time and uses the classes to teach her students how yoga is a state of mind and being, not a measure of flexibility. Lindsey cherishes teaching yoga and embraces the opportunity to help people on their journey. She sincerely thanks her teachers, students, family, and friends for supporting and inspiring her on her own journey. Currently, Lindsey teaches group and private classes for people of all ages, gives corporate wellness seminars and provides nutritional counseling.
Betty Olson (500hr CYT) began her journey as a dancer/choreographer and it did not take her long before she was determined to find a deeper understanding in the movement. Her path led her to Chicago from Kansas City in 2001 obtaining a MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Columbia College Chicago. Upon graduation she found a lot of joy working in an in-patient psychiatric unit bringing movement, meditation and body awareness to the patients. Devoting her time to understand movement Betty enrolled in Moksha’s exceptional Teacher Training program under the guidance of Daren Friesen and was certified in the fall of 2010. She continues to further her studies through workshops with Master Teachers, such as Tias Little, Ashley Turner and Leeann Carey. Betty’s classes focus on the individual, brining awareness to the mind-body connection. Through vinyasa, breath-syncronized movement, she supports the student’s individuality and helps facilitate growth with non-judgment. Betty donates her time by teaching a yoga class to help sponsor the Ride for AIDS Chicago. She believes in supporting her community and does a fundraiser yearly. Betty did her first ride with RFAC in 2010 and is excited about the next ride and fundraiser in July 2012.
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.