I'm a judgmental yogi. Each time I travel to a new city, I scour its neighborhoods for the perfect studio. Moksha just may be the last stop on my Chicago quest.
Light, airy and serene, the River West yoga studio provides an idyllic environment for any kind of practice. Its two classrooms are simple, wooden and white, surrounded by picture windows. Nondescript altars exhibit treasures owner Daren Friesen collected during his travels in India. Subtle fragrances of sandalwood and sage permeate.
One of the first studios of its kind in Chicago, Friesen founded Moksha in 1999 after studying with yoga giants such as Ana Forrest and Shiva Rea in Los Angeles. In addition to attending seminars and conferences throughout the country and in India, he leads vigorous Moksha-specific teacher trainings for his accessible, passionate and extremely knowledgeable staff. No need to worry about stumbling through difficult postures; teachers are extra-attentive during their classes, offering helpful adjustments with each and every student.
Classes: Very varied, from advanced Vinyasa and Forrest workshops (watch out; they're tough!) to intensive beginner seminars. It's also one of the few studios in the area promoting Mysore, the assisted individual practice. A single drop-in class costs $16, but addicts can purchase either a 20-class package for $200 or an unlimited monthly pass for $108.
Extras: Moksha sponsors impressive workshops; programs include Paul Weitz's Thai Yoga Therapy and Rajeev Khan's Anusara Yoga. Don't miss the annual community Christmas party, featuring live music and special classes. Massage therapy is available.
Centerstage Reviewer: Carly Schwartz