Yoga Wars: Chicago

Time Out Chicago pits two popular yoga teachers in a zen-off and picks the winner. The Chicago Tribune then contemplates the fairness and yoga-ness of this move.

Time Out: Most zen yoga teacher

Gabriel Halpern vs. Lourdes Paredes
Halpern, founder of Yoga Circle The closest our city has to its own master, Halpern is considered a legend by folks in the know. Many Chicago instructors train with him at some point in their teaching career.Paredes, teacher She built a massive Chicago following with traditional yoga, and continues to inspire students with new classes—like trance dance—at studios across town (Yogaview, exhale, Namaskar and Healing Power Yoga).

The winner Paredes. Halpern’s experience and talent are undeniably awesome, but we love how Paredes connects with everyday students through her blog (, giving solid gear and apparel recs, plus positive (not flaky) affirmations.

Chicago Tribune Blog Takes a Bite... and WOW! All the comments!

"Comparing the two is hardly fair. Halpern, a Chicago institution, founded the Yoga Circle in 1985--when Paredes was just 16--and has trained many local instructors. He has seen yoga’s popularity ebb, flow and boom, and is one reason Chicago has such a rich yoga scene.

Paredes, who once thought she would join a convent, is a contemporary teacher who blends spirituality with challenging vinyasa yoga. You can’t help but feel uplifted and refreshed after walking out of her Shiva Rea-inspired classes, which often end with reflections on topics like focus or self-forgiveness, or poetry from the spiritual master, Rumi."