500hr Teacher Training
in South India
Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga Alliance 500hr Registry Certified
The 500hr Foundation Teacher Training, presented by Moksha Yoga Center, is a unique and inspired curriculum that will lead you on an ardent journey into the classical and authentic roots of yoga. We firmly believe in the power and strength of knowledge and find it our task to blend the principles of theory and practice together throughout the course. Over the 3 week intensive, we will delve into yoga’s ancient past and unravel many questions concerning the art and science of this age-old system. From asana to pranayama to philosophy, this program aims to be inclusive and the information presented is made accessible for all levels of students wishing to deepen their own practice and the path of teaching.
Bringing together traditional and contemporary theory, the heart of the program lies in offering a rather large scope of yoga as a whole. Our program is guided by a strong faith in the power of the blending of ancient and modern. You will be challenge as an educator and practitioner, presented with a wide variety of topics, yogic styles and techniques, as well as worldviews and perspectives. Many students find their lives and teaching transformed and enlivened by their experiences in the training program and this is our hope for all who join.
“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.” ~Katie M.
Each instructor and staff member at Moksha Yoga is dedicated to helping you find harmony and balance between your mind, body and spirit. Our environment brings joy to the senses and welcomes all who seek rejuvenation and inspiration. Whether your retreat is for an hour of yoga or a day of healing through multiple practices, you’ll find yourself leaving Mosaic Wellness feeling better than when you arrived. For more information on any of these services, give us a call or stop in during business hours.
We are committed to sharing the wisdom of yoga in a calm and nurturing atmosphere in order to bring greater health, happiness and well-being into the lives of those in our community. We strive to impart this knowledge in the spirit of healing, love, transformation, and service. We share a vision of higher states of consciousness and embrace the path of self-realization. Om Shanti
School Facility & Location
Moksha is located on the southern border of Logan Square and west of Bucktown at 2528 West Armitage Avenue, just 2 blocks west of Western Avenue. We have a 4500 ft2 facility with 3 studio spaces inside and a lobby with boutique items, changing room and waiting lounge. 2528 West Armitage Avenue, Suite 202, Chicago, IL 60647.
The teacher training in India is hosted at our boutique hotel on the covered rooftop deck surrounded by thousands of palm trees, tropical birds, a valley filled with sacred herbs and plants, next to our Ayurvedic clinic and the India Ocean just a few hundred yards away.
Daren Friesen is the lead instructor, owner and director of Moksha Yoga Center, established in 1999. Daren has been an avid student of yoga since starting his practice in 1989 shortly after finishing college in Los Angeles, where he majored in International Relations at the University of Southern California. After moving 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 job to study yoga, practice, and travel. Wanting to reach deeper into the roots of yoga, Daren spent 2 years in South India in 1998-1999 studying Astanga yoga both the practice and the philosophy in Mysore.
Established in 1999, Moksha Yoga is well known for its blend of classical and modern, young and old, alignment and flow. Moksha Yoga is known for hosting top teachers from around the world, training over 1000 teachers in its training programs over the years, and providing an inspirational space for over 100,000 students for nearly 20 years. Daren is known for his depth of knowledge, his compassion and understanding, and his drive and desire to assist others in becoming free and realized.
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 sources such as Vedic history and ancient manuscripts such as the yoga sutras and select texts from the Upanishads which reveal the ancient classification of yoga. We will also study Patanjali’s eight-fold path known as Astanga yoga, which forms the basis of classical yoga.
- Yama – relationship with others
- Niyama – relationship with ourselves
- Asana – postures
- Pranayama – breath control
- Pratyahara – turning the mind inward
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samadhi – mind merging
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, actions, adjustments, modifications 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: opening poses and warm-ups (pratapana), sun salutations (surya namaskara), standing and balancing poses (sthanas), abdominal strengtheners (hara) and cleansing techniques (kriyas), forward folds (paschimo) and backbends (purvo), side stretches and twists (parivritta), inversions (viparita), and final relaxation (shavasana and yoga nidra).
Theory & Practice of Pranayama
Channeling 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 various breathing practice and techniques, bandhas, mudras and kriyas, and nerve system relaxation tools. Breathing techniques include ujjayi, samavritti/visamavritti, kumbhaka, pratiloma, viloma, surya and Chandra bedhana and nadi shodhana.
Theory & Practice of Meditation
Creating Stillness and Silence in the Inner Being
Using the ancient tools of mantra, dharana, and eka-grata to illicit energetic and spiritual development, we will explore the effects to direct prana and still the mind for our meditation practices. Cultivate and deepen your meditation practice in the study of Vedantic meditation principles.
Theory & Practice of Teaching Skills
Conveying the Essence of Yoga
The art of teaching is yoga in itself, requiring sensitivity, compassion, and practice. A teacher must encourage and inspire, remaining sensitive to the needs of both the individual and the group. Students will learn:
- How to properly adjust using visual (body language), verbal (voice), and kinesthetic (touch) tools
- Sequencing, counter poses, and routines
- Integrate themes, rhythm, focus, and direction
- Psychology ethics of the student/teacher relationship
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.
- Apprenticeship in class.
- Develop individualized private lessons.
- Teach a basic/foundation community class to our students.
About the Course
The schedule is designed with our busy lives in mind. The extended length of the program over 9 months give everyone a chance to balance class time with their own life’s purpose. Please see the schedule attached.
- Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsow, Penguin Publishers, 2005
- The Anatomy Coloring Book, by Wynn Kapit, Benjamin Cummings, 4th Edition, 2002
- Fire of Love, Aadil Palkhivala, Innerworks Company
Students who successfully complete the required training program, assignments, quizzes, exams (min. 80%), presentations, and practicum will receive a Certificate of Completion.
Moksha’s 200 hour and 500 hour programs are approved and registered with Yoga Alliance and meet the standards for the 200 hour and 500 hour registries.
- A desire to grow
- A willingness to change
- Receptivity to appropriate and truthful feedback
- Consistent effort
- Time (patience)
How to Apply
Click on the application link under Teacher Training.
- A $100 application/administration fee holds your place in the training and is non-refundable/non-transferable. This fee is separate from your tuition amount. Those not accepted into the program will be given a full refund.
- Early Bird Discount: $2,600 if paid in full 60 days before classes begin.
- Special Discount: $2,800 if paid in full 30 days before classes begin.
- Regular: $3,000 if paid less than 30 days before classes begin.
- $3,000 regular tuition rate.
- Deposit of $1000 due 15 days before the first training class.
- Balance of payments due monthly along with a signed promissory note.
Tuition Refund Policy
- 100% refund if canceled in writing by 3-business days before the session begins.
- All refunds minus the non-refundable $100 application fee.
- No refunds for any reason once the first day of class begins.
- Teacher training course.
- Teacher training manual.
- 20% off events and workshops.
- 10% off retail boutique items.
but does not include…
- Required elective events and workshops.
- Required props (mat, strap, block, neti pot, notebook, journal).
- Required textbooks.
- Practice classes at Moksha (India program).
- $100 application/administration fee.
Based on the Payment Plan tuition rate, a 10% discount is available to those who commit to Moksha’s Work-Study program for a minimum 6 months of service or 20% for 12 months. The commitment for this non-paid work-study position is a weekly shift of 4-5 hours assisting the studio, such as front desk or cleaning. In order to receive the discount, students must agree to participate in the work-study program for the duration of their training. If a trainee leaves his/her work study position prior to completing their training they will be required to pay the full regular tuition amount. Applicants are required to attend an interview and positions are offered on a space available basis. Please contact us for further information.
We do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, marital status, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, color, race or religion.
We do not provide housing but will assist in reserving the appropriate accommodations for you.
Employment Assistance Services
We do not offer employment services. We do offer suggestions and sources of opportunities so stay involved at the studio.
The instructors reserve the right to make changes or revisions to this brochure, the program, or the schedule at any time. Class topics for specific dates and times may be changed to accommodate teacher scheduling.
Please be on your best behavior, see others as yourself, and participate in creating a sattvic atmosphere for all. No gum chewing, mobile phone usage or lying down during class.
Attendance in all sessions is required. Please inform us of any excused absence in advance in writing. If a student is absent, they must meet with the instructor to develop and agree on a plan to cover the required lessons. Set an example for your future students, by you as a student being on time and arrive early to set up your mat and be ready to go at the start time. If the student is more than 10 minutes late, this is considered tardy.
Make-up sessions will be offered throughout the course. If none of the available days/times work for you, private instruction is available at $60/hour.
What will I gain from Moksha’s 200hr YTT Program?
- Deeper understanding of yogic history and philosophy (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
- Fundamentals of Asana – alignment, adjustments, modifications and variations
- Sanskrit terms and definitions
- Pranayama – learn various breathing techniques and when to use them
- Meditation – Cultivate and deepen your meditation practice
- Ayurveda – establish holistic Ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle
- How to use the wisdom of Ayurveda with your students to create transformative classes
- Art of Sequencing – developing purposeful classes for yourself and your students
- How to observe and work with different bodies in practice
- Understanding of body, breath and energy anatomy
- Explore useful mantras and mudras
- Find your uniqueness as a teacher
- The business of yoga and how to be a successful teacher
- Build confidence through practice and group support
- Pave a path to self-awareness and become a guide for others along their journey
- New lifelong friendships!
How much experience in yoga do I need to have to participate in this teacher training?
Don’t worry about whether you can do advanced poses or not. This program deepens your knowledge on a fundamental level that will provide a foundation and depth to your practice and teaching.
How likely is it that I will be able to teach after this program?
You will have the teaching skills and knowledge of yoga to leave this program and begin teaching. Truly studying the material, building your personal practice and taking the time to harness your teaching voice, cues, and sequencing will also strongly influence how comfortable you feel to teach.
How long is the program from start to certification in India?
3 week plus additional self-guided coursework.
What if I have to miss a session?
We all are experiencing busy lives. Do you best to attend all classes. Meet with the instructor to plan how to make up missed sessions.
Is there a dogma or particular belief system I must follow?
We teach the program from a non-dogmatic perspective. There are many paths to the truth. We are looking for what is the most safe, effective and sattvic approach. We incorporate teachings from a variety of teachers and schools of thought.
Why is this program so long and expensive?
This training is more in-depth and comprehensive than any other training around. The intention is to prepare you for both a deep knowledge of the practice and a career in yoga. The breadth of knowledge and time to process and implement the teachings is necessary to become an insightful and authentic teacher of yoga.
Ways to Prepare for the Program
- Establish a regular and consistent practice, 3-6 times per week. Attend as many classes at Moksha as possible to experience different styles and teaching methods.
- Create a balance between activity and rest. Most of us do not get enough sleep. During rest, the body and mind have a chance to regenerate. Commit to getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in whole foods, such as grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruit. Reduce or eliminate red meat, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. Drink plenty of filtered water.
- Clear your schedule of activities, commitments, and distractions. This training will requires up to 5-8 hours of class time and 1-2 hours of homework each week.
- Read the manual from beginning to end to understand the topics to be covered and where to find information as you proceed through the course.
Yoga accepts you where you are. And here you are…everyone with different life experiences, personalities, talents and challenges…at the start of a new adventure. We look forward to taking this journey with you as you embark on the self-awareness path of yoga. Approach it with an open heart and a curious mind. Trust the wisdom of the teachings and your own intuition to guide you. Allow the lessons to unfold and be open to where it may take you…
Atha Yoga Anushasanam
Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of yoga begins.
~Yoga Sutra 1.1
About Daren Friesen
Daren Friesen is the director and founder of Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago which is the largest yoga center in the Midwest. An enthusiastic student and passionate teacher, his challenging style of vinyasa flow incorporates asana, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, and kriyas. Having studied with renowned teachers in the states and masters and gurus in India, Daren encourages students to use traditional elements and techniques to overcome the pull of opposites (duality) and to develop one-pointed attention. Through one-pointed attention, one discovers the keys to accessing true health and vitality. Daren’s classes offer provocative insights and opportunities for personal growth through his unique blend of a classical yet innovative approach to practice.