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.
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.
Jessica moved to Chicago in 2002 from Iowa to pursue an education in Dance. Jessica soon discovered that she no longer wanted to dance as a profession and pursued a career in Healthcare Management. After weekly travel and sitting at a desk all day, she discovered yoga as an outlet to manage the life of a busy traveling consultant.
With a desire to share the wonderful gift of yoga, Jessica began her training at Moksha Yoga Center in 2012 with Daren Friesen. Her studies included training with master teachers from around the world which include: Aadil Palkhivala, Tias Little, Rich Logan, Gabriel Halpern and Saul David Raye.
As a teacher, Jessica is devoted to the light within each student as she encourages her students to ignite their inner smile through love. Jessica provides a healthy and safe environment for students with a great focus on alignment (Hatha Yoga). Her classes are customized for the development of her students. Jessica’s classes are upbeat and energetic and her approach promotes students to love their life and their practice
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once upon a time, an 8-year-old named Katie Thomas walked into her family’s living room only to find her father, post-jog, doing some weird looking stretchy things. Perplexed, she asked him what the heck he was doing, to which he replied, “Yoga.” Katie thought to herself, “My dad is weird.”
Since then, Katie has changed her yogic tune. She took her first class in 2004, and has been hooked ever since.
Through warmth, humor, and a strong commitment to remaining down-to-earth and accessible, Katie creates a space where students can work toward finding their true selves. In her classes, you can expect to be led through asana, pranayama, and meditation, with a focus on finding the beautiful balance between strength and lightness, between stability and motion, between alignment and freedom. Katie has a background in improvisational theatre so her teaching style is infused with a sense of play and whimsy. She believes that setting sankalpas (intentions), then consistently nurturing them on and off the mat brings concrete, undeniable changes to our lives.
To this day, Katie loves her dad and all his weirdness. She hopes to continue to live happily ever after.
Katie started practicing yoga in 2003, in hopes of healing a chronic injury from her former life as a dancer. Through the practice and study of yoga, she continues to discover not only freedom from chronic pain, but healing on a deep emotional and spiritual level. From this perspective of personal transformation Katie is eager to share the gifts of a consistent, intelligent yoga practice with others.
Katie completed her yoga teacher training certification at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago, Illinois. She has completed more than 1000 hours of teacher training with master teachers from around the world, and finds tremendous joy in learning. She is grateful for her generous teachers and healers including Kim Wilcox, Tias Little, Erin Cowan, Gabriel Halpern, Lucien Caillouet and Daren Friesen. Katie holds an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA from Loyola University Chicago. She continues her studies in meditation, asana, pranayama, philosophy, and somatics. Katie has particular interest in restorative practices, pain management and therapeutic yoga, and inspiring mindful and joy filled lifestyles.
As a teacher, Katie aspires to create a safe space in which students can practice this transformational work with awareness, honesty, and integrity. Her classes are tailored for the growth of her students, and always include focus on healthy and safe alignment, connection with the breath, and the powerful use of heartfelt intention.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!