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.
Angie shares the gifts of yoga through creative, challenging and accessible vinyasa flow. Her teaching style is heavily influenced by her primary teachers Alyson D’Souza, Daren Friesen, Sara Strother and Danielle Dickinson.
As a very fortunate 15 year old, Angie was required to take a yoga course to fulfill a physical education requirement – little did she know that this requirement would quickly become a lifelong practice that cultivated fitness for her in body, mind and spirit.
Ten years later, in early 2012, Angie had an epiphany: she held the key to her own happiness and yoga was that key. She felt the call to teach others how to unlock happiness through their own yoga practice. She completed her 200hr teacher training with Daren Friesen at Moksha Yoga Center and continues to study at Moksha. She has been honored to study with master teachers Sadie Nardini, Kathryn Budig, Jason Crandell, Tias Little, Aadil Palkhivala and Seane Corn.
Through intelligent sequencing, each of Angie’s classes aims to honor a specific intention – like opening the heart or opening the hamstrings. Angie’s classes focus on utilizing the physical tools we are given by yoga asana – movement and breath – to unlock the mental and spiritual gifts that the yoga tradition offers. No matter the initial intention of a class, the outcome is always the same – you leave feeling stronger, lighter and happier!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After developing her personal practice for eight years, Jessica received her 200 hour and 500 hour Yoga Certifications through Moksha Yoga Center in 2011 and 2012. She has studied with over 30 renowed master teachers and blends their teachings into an electic yet unifed style. As a medical student and neuroscientist, Jessica also draws on her extensive training in anatomoy, physiology, kinesology, and psychology to take students deeper into their bodies and the subtle relams of their minds.
Lyndsae Rinio was introduced to yoga in early childhood by her mother, and has continued independent practice throughout her life. She was once scolded by her first grade teacher for doing shoulderstand during recess. Her formal studies began in 2000 at the public library in her home state of Alaska. As a trained dancer, she built her yoga practice on her knowledge of movement and anatomy, as well as her long-standing interest in meditation. After relocating to Chicago, she served as manager of Nature Yoga Sanctuary until 2008.
Lyndsae has been fortunate to study with several instructors who have shaped her approach to teaching, including Tias Little, Quinn Kearney, Paul Weitz, and Nadine Lollino. Her classes offer a blend of hatha and vinyasa flow, with an emphasis on intelligent muscular and skeletal alignment. She is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level, and also holds certification in teaching yoga for cancer recovery.
As a cancer survivor herself, Lyndsae found yoga to be an invaluable part of her recovery process. This has fueled her deep interest in yoga’s therapeutic ability to shape and rehabilitate the body and mind. Lyndsae believes that a yoga practice is an exercise in self-observation. She encourages her students to find the integrity of each pose within their own body, rather than some external ideal.
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.
“When firmly established in integrity, all riches present themselves freely.”
Kristin began doing yoga while living and working in southern Spain. She was helping to start a company and was very stressed. A friend of hers recommended a yoga class to her saying, “if you do yoga consistently and over time, it will change your life.” As her practice grew she began to feel and see the affects in her daily life and in her relationships, and began to feel the transformation of yoga. She says, “In yoga, we connect to our inner light, essence, or soul, and learn that the answers to our questions cannot be found outside of ourselves. We turn inside to find that we hold the answers inside of us.” Kristin is a certified yoga teacher and completed her teacher training program through Moksha Yoga. She teaches vinyasa, a type of yoga which synchronizes breath to movement resulting in a dynamic and flowing class. In class, Kristin aspires to help her students in discovering and living the consistent transformation that is yoga. Her classes are vinyasa-inspired with a focus on pranayama. As a teacher she is inspired by Iyengar principals of alignment, the physical challenges of Astanga, and the balancing principals and breath techniques of Tantra. Expect to move through a challenging class, and leave feeling balanced and refreshed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”