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.
“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.
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.
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.
Kat holds her yoga teaching certification through Yogaview in Chicago. Knowing that all bodies and personal histories are different, her teaching philosophy is to give all participants opportunities to develop their practice in healthy ways. Encouraging and challenging, her yoga classes incorporate breathing and mind-focusing techniques into full-bodied hard work. Kat is certified in AcroYoga MTL by Eugene Poku and Jessica Goldberg. Montreal-style AcroYoga is a combination of Yoga, Acrobatics and Modern Dance. Whether working as a base, spotter, flyer or coach, Kat’s joy and continual process in Acroyoga is to balance challenge and safety while maintaining compassionate communication with all playmates. She and Joe Yonek have been acro partners since 2010. A working theatre professional with an MFA in acting from Ohio State, Kat creatively blends numerous techniques and disciplines into her classes, including pilates, dance (ballet, jazz, hip hop), martial arts (Tang Soo Do), and the Alexander Technique.