About Us

Why Choose SOYA

Celebrating 25 Years Of Experience

“After extensive research on where to take my teacher training, I knew I had made the right decision after the first day of class. I feel very blessed to have attended the SOYA program. It surpassed all my expectations. Helen & Mugs are amazing ladies and their wealth of knowledge is truly inspirational.”

Tracey Short, Calgary

SOYA - So much more than a Yoga School

Marion, or “Mugs” to all who know her, is one of Canada‘s Yoga Pioneers. She is the co-owner of SOYA with her husband Bob, and the published author of "Letters From The Yoga Masters".

Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers

In 2020 Mugs celebrates 42 years of teaching yoga internationally. Her early training was in the Sivananda lineage, followed by her becoming a live-in disciple of Sri Yogiraj Dr. Hari Dickman, a master of several yogic pathways (and whom her book is about).

Bridging Classical Yoga to Modern Times

Mugs' classical teachings have been influenced from current wisdom through additional studies with Erich Schiffmann, Namadeva Acharya, and Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. Erich taught her the importance of love in every action. Namadeva taught her the power of mantra, and Dr Ananda continues to teach her about mudra and the subtle anatomy of yoga.

All the SOYA Faculty carry on the lineage of sharing these authentic yoga teachings with you through our Yoga Teacher Training, as they have been passed on to Mugs.

Training Yoga Teachers

As a Trained Yoga Instructor



Our Mission

To offer ongoing yoga education for all levels of practitioners through yoga teacher training, workshops and an annual yoga retreat with world renowned presenters. Master classes are offered for more advanced interests.


Our Values

To teach the origins of yoga to ensure yoga practitioners and teachers are exposed to the roots and basics, all while incorporating modern day wisdom and knowledge that is current for today. We strive to teach these classical aspects of yoga beyond asana to practitioners and teachers in a non-threatening, inclusive environment.


Our Lineage

More than 40 years ago, SOYA co-founder Marion (Mugs) McConnell studied with a great yoga master, Dr. Hari Dickman. He passed on to her an immense amount of teachings that were passed down to him from masters in several lineages.

YOGA Teachers

Learn from Yoga Masters

Marion (Mugs) McConnell

Marion (Mugs) McConnell

Yoga Visionary

Marion, or “Mugs” to all who know her, is one of Canada‘s Yoga Pioneers. She is the co-owner of SOYA with her husband Bob and the published author of “Letters From The Yoga Masters”.

In 2018 Mugs celebrates 40 years as a certified yoga teacher. Mugs’ early training was in the Sivananda lineage under Swami Vishnudevananda. Following her time in the ashram, she was the last disciple of Sri Yogiraj Dr. Hari Dickman, whom her book is about. Over the years her teaching style has been greatly influenced by additional studies with Erich Schiffmann and Namadeva Acharya. Erich taught her the importance of love, and how every action can be an expression of love towards self and others. Namadeva played a huge role in her appreciation and understanding of mantra, which she often combines with mudra.

Mugs has also enjoyed the teachings of others such as Mark Stephens, Rod Stryker, Friedel Khattab and Dharma Mittra.

Bob McConnell

Bob McConnell

Yoga Utopian

My yoga journey really took off when Erich Schiffmann came to SOYA’s Annual Retreat. Through many workshops with Erich, the joys of meditation expanded my mind into a new curiosity of my own sense of self. It was at this time Mugs and I took over SOYA as a partnership which led me to taking the SOYA 200hr.

From there the Himalayan Institute presented itself and I received my 300hr teacher training certificate based on the Tantric lineage of Swami Rama. I still explore many avenues of self discovery, and enjoying my role now in supporting not only Mugs in this amazing SOYA program that she created but also the wonderful teachers that are teaching the SOYA Yoga Teacher Training program.


Our Alumni Share their Experience

C. MacMillan

The SOYA program was extremely thorough, and our instructors kept to the schedule, but also allowed opportunity to be flexible, depending on participants' questions, and areas for development. 

D. Johnson

This class was a life changing experience! The teachers are so knowledgeable and I left with a better understanding of yoga philosophy, alignment, anatomy, how to plan a class AND a better understanding of myself! I loved my fellow classmates and will cherish this experience forever.

G Aleman

I have been very fortunate to have received my 200 training with an amazing SOYA teacher, mentor and overall a person I someday would aspire to be. What I have learned will be with me for a lifetime.