Moksha Teacher Training & In-Depth Studies



Thank you for your interest in Moksha Yoga Center's 2012 Teacher Training & In-Depth Studies Program, one of the most respected in the region and the country. This program is a foundation for the study of the ancient art and science of yoga rooted in its classical form. The fundamentals and key elements and techniques of asana, pranayama, and teaching skills will be explored. The program is designed to give you a wide variety of topics, class settings, and experiences. It involves classes with a variety of local and national teachers. We are committed to giving you the best learning experience possible. We hope you will enjoy the program and find your life and practice transformed.

Daren Friesen is the founder and director of Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago, the largest yoga studio in the Midwest with 40 teachers and 5000 students. Daren has been an avid student of yoga since starting his practice in 1989 shortly after finishing college in Los Angeles, just as the emergence of yoga sprouted into popular culture (i.e. Madonna on Oprah doing a sun salute). Having moved to Chicago in 1995 due to a job transfer and not finding much of the vinyasa flow that he loved in L.A., he left his corporate life (i.e. coat/tie/wingtips) shortly thereafer to study yoga, practice, and travel. Wanting to reach deeper into the roots of vinyasa (i.e. tristhana), Daren traveled to India for 9 months on 2 trips in 1998/1999 studying at the Astanga Yoga Research Institute (Laksmipuram) with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Now having traveled to India on 9 occasions and spending over 30 months in the country studying yoga, ayurveda, sanskrit, and sutras, Daren has a deep understanding of the culture in which yoga originated.

One of the most influential teachers in his pursuit of the knowledge of yoga (jnana yoga) is Acharya Dr. Shankara Narayana Jois of Mysore, South India. Practicing Sri Vidwan K. Pattabhi's Astanga Yoga and then sitting in the presence of Acharya on the same day to receive the teachings of Patanjali's 8 Limbed Path was truly a transformational experience. Having explored yoga's roots and depths, he returned to Chicago to open Moksha Yoga Center in 1999 with the intention of offering yoga to a Western audience but in its traditional and authentic form with its roots deeply nourished by the Vedas. The Sanskrit word, Moksha, means freedom. Coming from the vedas and yoga darshana, moksha is one of the most important goals in one's life. Our shala ultimately strives for this goal. In service of this offering, Moksha hosts a variety of local and national teachers renowned for the depth of their experience. The teachings are imparted in a vareity of settings - classes, workshops, trainings, and kirtans. Daren majored in International Relations at the University of Southern California and participated in student goverment and as an officer in his fraternity. His interests include water sports (scuba, waterskiing, snorkeling), snowboarding, ayurveda, travel, international politics and Eastern cultures, philosophies, and religions.

About the Course

Yoga History & Philosophy
Understanding Union, Relationships & Opposites
What is yoga? This ancient system of health and well-being, reveals a path to develop and expand our fullest potential in body, mind, and spirit. We will look at sources such as Indian culture, vedic history, and ancient manuscripts such as the yoga sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika which reveal the ancient classification of yoga. We will also study Patanjali eight-fold path known as ashtanga yoga forming the basis of classical yoga, known as yoga darshana.

Theory & Practice of Asana
Taking a Position of Steadiness and Comfort
The yoga sutras refer to asana as the integration of sthira (steadiness) and sukha (comfort). This important sutra will guide us as we look into the deeper aspects of asana, including alignment, adjustments, and variations. We will explore energetic techniques such as bandhas, dristi, kriyas, mudras, and chakras in order to expand our awareness and understanding of the subtle movement of prana through asana. Arranging our study of asana groups is in itself a unique sequence or vinyasa: sun salutations (surya namaskara), standing and balancing poses, abdominal strengtheners (hara), forward folds (paschimo) and backbends (purvo), twists (parivritta), inversions (viparita), and savasana.

Theory & Practice of Pranayama
Regulating The Current of Life-Force Energy
Conscious breathing requires sensitivity to properly direct life energy (prana), which makes all physical, mental, and spiritual life possible. It is the subtle thread that connects us with universal consciousness. Pranayama is a way of using the breath to receive, generate, distribute, and store this vital energy. We will explore Ujjayi (victory breath), nadi shodhanam (alternating nostril), kappalabhati (breath of fire), sitali (cooling breath), and viloma (against the grain).

Theory and Practice of Teaching
Conveying the Essence of Yoga
The art of teaching is a yoga in itself, requiring sensitivity, compassion, and practice. A teacher must encourage and inspire, being sensitive to the needs of both the individual and the group.

Experiential Learning
Finding Wisdom & Understanding Within
Understanding from within requires the student to not only expand inner awareness and trust of intuition, but also to gain practical experience in the art and science of yoga in a variety of situations and venues.

"I can't believe it’s almost over, it has already been an incredible journey for me.  You have taught me SO much and I have gained a much deeper appreciation, love and understanding of yoga.   You have somehow managed to take an incredible amount of information and made it simple to understand and easy to 'digest' - thank you.   The decision to leave my corporate job and enroll in this training is one of the best decisions I've ever made."  Shanti ~ Katie McKenna