500hr Teacher Training

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500 hour Advanced Certification Program approved by Yoga Alliance for teachers wishing to deepen their teaching, practice and understanding of yoga.



Thank you for your interest in Moksha Yoga Center’s Advanced 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 not only me, but also 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.


Yoga History & Philosophy
Understanding Union, Relationships & Opposites

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 deeper sources of knowledge in Indian culture, vedic history, and ancient manuscripts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the cosmology of Sankhya darshana.

Theory & Practice of Asana, Pranayama & Meditation
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 and deepen our understanding of 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.

Theory & 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. The psychology and ethics of the student/teacher relationship will also be explored. Improved teaching skills, including use of language, theme, and music will also be developed.

Theory & Practice of Sequencing
Progression of Movement in Time and Space

An intelligent and efficient movement from one place to the next through time is necessary to reach the ultimate goals of yoga. Topics will include class themes and rhythms, goal poses, mini-modules focusing on opening a specific area such as hips or shoulders, vinyasas and namaskars, yoga therapeutics, and use of music.

Theory & Practice of Adjustments
Instructing the Wisdom of the Body through Touch

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. How to properly adjust using visual (body language), verbal (voice), and kinesthetic (touch) tools is a key component of this training.

Theory & Practice of Ayurveda
Understanding the Knowledge of Life

Ayurveda is an ancient science based on living in harmony with nature. Topics such as lifestyle, daily routine, diet and nutrition will be explored. Esoteric concepts such as koshas, marmas, nadis, and chakras will be discussed.

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.

500hr Teacher Training is taught:

Wednesdays 10:00am - 4:00pm Daren Friesen

New 1 year program begins June 4th. Requirement: must have completed a 200hr teacher training.