Daren Friesen On Becoming A Yoga Teacher

daren friesenWhat is yoga to you?

Yoga is the uniting of all layers of one’s being—physical, energetic, mental, intuitive and spiritual—with the divine, consciousness, and love.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher and with whom have you done your trainings?

Moving to Chicago from Los Angeles in the mid-nineties where I had studied both Ashtanga and Vinyasa, I became inspired to share these yoga styles with others in the Midwest, many who had never been exposed to these practices.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in developing your teaching career and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges is promoting and getting the word out about classes, events, and yoga teacher training programs on a limited budget. To overcome this, I hired a really incredible and talented marketing manager in 2010, Ms. Rachel Zargo, who is doing an excellent job creatively leveraging our resources to get the most out of our promotions. Another challenge is distinguishing our offerings which are based on classical yoga principles and tantric techniques from fashionable gym/hot yoga offerings. All of our teachers include in their classes the teachings of bandhas, kriyas, mudras, sutras, and classical yoga philosophy.

As the director of your schools teacher training programs, what is your overall goal and objective?

My overall objective is to prepare the teacher trainee to be a knowledgeable, skillful, and well-rounded teacher. We focus intensely not only on asana and pranayama, but also the full range of yogic practices and techniques such as bandhas, mudras, and kriyas in addition to yoga sutras and philosophy. We focus on developing solid teaching skills and finding one’s authentic voice. And we integrate the best of the best teachings into our program.

What do you feel is unique about your yoga teacher training programs versus other schools?

Our yoga certification program is unique in several ways. Our program extends nearly a year and half allowing for reinforcement of key principles, an in-depth approach for those wanting to understand the expansiveness of yoga, and proper digestion.  Another distinguishing feature is the focus on teaching skills and a video review of each trainee’s teaching. We also offer sessions and classes with a variety of our extensive list of master teachers who visit each year.  And lastly, my experience and education spanning over two decades of practice and training with the some of best teachers in the country and in-depth studies in India.

Here is a partial list of teachers I have trained and studied with.

  • Aadil Palkhivala
  • Ana Forrest
  • Bryan Kest
  • Erich Schiffmann
  • Gabriel Halpern
  • Gary Kraftsow
  • Leeann Carey
  • Lino Miele
  • Maty Ezraty
  • Nicolai Bachman
  • Saul David Raye
  • Seane Corn
  • Shiva Rea

What type of students would best fit your programs?

Our students have ranged in ages from 17 to 65 and from all levels of experience from 6 months of study to 40 years!  Students come from all walks of life…doctors, lawyers, baristas, physical therapists, entrepreneurs, and the unemployed!

What qualities do you feel make a good yoga teacher?

Being personable is one of the most important qualities—the ability to accept people as they are, being able to communicate clearly and effectively, and being able to inspire others.

Is there any advice you would offer to aspiring yoga teachers?

Go for it!  Don’t hesitate.  Believe in your abilities and your future.

To learn more about their upcoming trainings please visit Moksha Yoga

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