Alie has studied yoga and meditation for almost 20 years and has been teaching for more than 13. Alie’s passion for yoga has led her to Bali, Thailand, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Greece, and across the United States studying with the world’s foremost teachers and eccentrics.
Jennifer has been practicing yoga since 2000, and is passionate about sharing the practice of yoga with others. Yoga has played an integral role in the unfolding of Jennifer’s path, the one constant along her journey through careers in finance and consulting, graduate studies in business administration, travel around the world, and the leap to self-employment as a professional actor, voice artist, and life coach.
After years of being a student of yoga, people began asking her to teach them, so she enrolled in the Teacher Training and In-Depth Studies program with Daren Friesen at Moksha Yoga. Jennifer knows in her heart that teaching yoga is a part of her dharma of service in the world, and she continues to be inspired by studying with master teachers including Aadil Palkhivala, Sara Ivanhoe, and Alie McManus. Jennifer also loves Bhakti Yoga and eagerly participates in all the mantra, kirtan, and chanting experiences that she can. In 2012 Jennifer founded Yoga for Triathletes, which offers specialty yoga classes to help triathletes balance the body and focus the mind to create an edge for intense training and racing.
In Jennifer’s classes, students will find a mindful practice that is grounded in breathing and intention. The practice flows through artfully sequenced asana, pranayama and meditation to clear the distractions of the mind and energetic blockages in the body creating space to discover the peace and wisdom that is naturally within us all.
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.”
Mary Kay passionately believes that yoga is for everyone…all ages and body types, and that we all must just “start where we are”, every day, and every moment. She approaches yoga as a process of self-discovery, acceptance, and transformation that builds strength, stability and flexibility in the body, the mind and the spirit. Focusing on alignment and the breath, Mary Kay helps students attune to the intelligence in their own bodies, feeling and gaining awareness of what is right for them at any given moment…both on and off the mat. Believing that yoga should be practiced with a sense of play and deep enjoyment, Mary Kay helps her students keep a smile in their hearts as they discover what is possible.
Mary Kay is a Moksha Yoga trained and Yoga Alliance certified teacher at the 200- hour level, and almost through her 500-hour certification. Mary Kay is grateful for the teachers who have influenced her approach to practice and teaching, particularly Daren Friesen, Aadil Palkhivala, Tias Little, Gabriel Halpern, Rich Logan, and Kim Wilcox. Mary Kay has interned under the direction of Gabriel Halpern at the Yoga Circle, working one-on-one with students addressing specific healing goals. Mary Kay also practices Vipassana meditation. Mary Kay is a graduate of Northwestern University, and holds a Masters in Design from the Institute of Design at IIT. Mary Kay is an artist/designer, mother, and grandmother, who credits her yoga practice for her excellent health, and the unbounded creative energy that fuels her very blessed life.
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.
Rich Logan has traveled the world, studying and teaching massage therapy and Yoga. He has been on faculty at the Chicago School of Massage therapy and The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Rich has also been a guest speaker on Western massage techniques at the Auyurvedic College in Mysore, India. A student of Yoga for over 11 years and meditation practitioner since his teens, Rich incorporates his knowledge of anatomy and physiology with a unique understanding of spirituality in the modern world. Rich has studied at the prestigious Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Madras, India with TKV Desikachar presiding. Rich’s significant teachers have been Kim Shwartz, Tias Little, Aadil Palkhivala, Gabriel Halpern and Anna Forrest. Rich has also assisted Tias Little in workshops as well as his Esalen retreat in 08. He currently interns at the Yoga Circle under the tutelage of the enigmatic and brilliant Gabriel Halpern in the Iyengar tradition. A word from Rich on what to expect in his class: "I teach as best I can to the level of the student. We hold poses longer than most average classes. I tend to focus on standing poses in my level 1-2 classes. My level 2-3 class is more oriented to movement and getting into some challenging advanced work. All my classes incorporate some theme whether Spiritual Mental or Physical. I encourage students to do their own deeper work, i.e. emotional energetic. In the end I want you to find out what works best for you, but be open to the suggestions that come your way.”
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.
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.
Janine has been practicing yoga since 2006 and completed Moksha Yoga Center’s 200-hour Teacher Training Certification Program in the spring of 2013. She came to yoga seeking personal healing and transformation and with diligent and passionate practice, gained deep awareness, acceptance and transformation. She desires to nourish an empowering experience for all of her students, so that they too may restore and make the changes they seek in their lives; ultimately progressing towards their best life.
She personally believes that high quality instruction is essential to meeting the needs of all of her yoga students. She takes the time to create intelligently sequenced asanas; transforming awareness from the physical to energetic. Her classes ask students to bring awareness within and find peace through intention, honesty and action – students should expect to be challenged within a warm, intelligent and supportive environment. Because she values excellent teaching, she has studied and practiced with some of most brilliant instructors Chicago and the world has to offer: Daren Friesen, Gabriel Haplern, Rich Logan, Kim Wilcox, Alie McManus and Amber Cook; along with visiting Master Teachers: Aadil Palkhivala, Saul David Raye, Kino Macgregor and Ashley Turner.
“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.
In 1996, Erin was living in New York City, pursuing a career in theatre and film, racing all over, hoping to be “in the right place, at the right time.” After a couple sleepless years, her health suffered, the joy within her drained, and she was simply no longer herself. Eventually, a fortunate twist of fate led her to Dharma Mittra’s yoga studio. There, at last, she took a deep breath and learned to sit. Soon, she was attending class regularly, developing her own practice, and once again feeling alive in her own skin. As her practice continued and deepened, she was eventually brought back home - to herself and the Midwest. Since her first class years ago, Erin knew that she would be a lifetime student and dreamed one day of teaching. In 2004, she completed the Moksha Teacher Training Program and has since found two teachers who continue to inspire her practice, her teaching, and her life – Aadil Palkhivala and Tias Little. Her studies with Tias Little have taken her to the Upaya Zen Center, nestled in the mountains of Santa Fe, NM, where she completed Prajna Yoga’s 200hr training and will pursue the 500hr level. In September 2009, Erin looks forward to her fourth week-long Purna Yoga training with Aadil Palkhivala at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. As a teacher, Erin aspires to give her students the gift she has received from her teachers, the guidance to turn inward and connect with one’s own inner light and joy, not only to enhance the life of the student, but the world we all share.
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.
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!"
Lindsay started practicing yoga sporadically in 2005 as a way to manage chronic pain. While yoga did help her back then on a physical level, it eventually changed the course of her entire life. In 2011 when her job relocated her from New Jersey to Chicago, her chronic pain escalated to debilitating levels. This not-so-subtle warning from her body finally woke her up. Lindsay quit her corporate job and took charge of her life. By starting a stronger yoga practice and lifestyle, she began to eliminate and reverse the physical damage to her body caused by stress and fibromyalgia. She went from wrist braces to arm balances – from medication to meditation.
To date, Lindsay has completed over 1000 hours of teacher training, including the completion of two 200-hour programs at the American Yoga Academy in New Jersey and at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. Additionally, she studied with Judith Hanson Lasater to become a certified a Relax and Renew© Restorative Yoga Teacher. Finally, as the owner of Dharma Inspired Business Coaching (www.dharmainspired.com), Lindsay helps other yoga teachers to succeed as entrepreneurs.
In Lindsay’s classes expect a strong, slow, and mindful flow. Her teachings are greatly influenced by traditional hatha yoga, vinyasa flow, viniyoga, and restorative styles of yoga. She challenges students to focus on alignment while relaxing the mind, to strengthen their bodies while flowing with the breath, and to let go while remaining grounded. She knows first hand of yoga’s ability to transform lives and hopes that through yoga, she can help facilitate transformation in the lives of her students.
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.
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.