Wisdom Keeper:

Marion (Mugs) McConnell, E-RYT500, IYTA, YA 


Mugs has been practicing yoga for over 47 years, teaching yoga for 42 years, and training yoga teachers since 1995. She is the co-founder with her husband Bob, of the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA) and the SOYA Yoga Teacher Training program. 

She is the author of Letters from the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda, and Others, published by North Atlantic Books copyright © 2016 ISBN 978-1-62317-035-6.

South Okanagan Yoga Academy is a Registered School with Yoga Alliance. In 2025 we will celebrate 30 years of training yoga teachers!

Lead Trainer:

Natasha Scott (Lalita), E-RYT500, R-YPT, R-CYT, Pain Care Aware Level 2

Lalitā is the spiritual name of Natasha Scott, one of the founders of The BE Hive. She is an E-RYT 500 YACEP certified teacher, a passionate yoga practitioner and eternal student. With her deep knowledge of how to live YOGA, she is grounded in her desire for living an intentional life. Having taught yoga for many years, she specializes in yoga for persistent pain and teaches Pain Care Yoga along with being a certified Thai massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, and Prenatal and Children’s Yoga teacher. Lalita is rooted within this community, having created a strong foundation with her family in the Okanagan. She is a lead teacher for SOYA and chooses to engage through love and action.

Lalita is Pain Care Aware Certified.

She is Lead Trainer for SOYA's 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and 300hr Yoga Teacher Training programs in Penticton, Mexico, as well as Online and Hybrid.

Lead Trainer:

Rebecca Stone, E-RYT500, R-CYT, Pain Care Aware Level 2


Rebecca graduated from SOYA’s program in 2010. The blessing of this curriculum, and learning with Mugs instilled a great love, respect and thirst for the authentic teachings of yoga. She is also a certified Children’s and Family Yoga teacher that loves to bring yoga to life through play and relationship building.

Creating yoga classes that are accessible, informative, and transformational for all ages and abilities is her passion. With the blessing of having a mother who was a physiotherapist for over 40 years, the opportunity to mentor under that wisdom has deeply influenced her understanding and presentation of the blending of yoga asana, functional movement principles and the mind/body/spirit connection. She continues her ongoing education by being a voracious reader and question-asker, participating in varying workshops and retreats with world-class educators.

Becky is the lead trainer for the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and 300 hour Yoga Teacher training programs in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, Mexico and several Online and Hybrid training formats.

Lead Trainer:

Emma Faulkner, SOYA, E-RYT500, YA


Emma began her yoga practice in 2011, after walking across the street from her workplace to Chinook Yoga, with a desire to de-stress and unwind. She quickly learned that there is much more to yoga than a good stretch, discovering the many different formats, aspects, teachers and styles, and she was hooked! She completed her 200 hour SOYA teacher training in 2012, and shortly after that her SOYA 300 hour upgrade. Her favourite classes to teach are based on foundational hatha yoga formats, and she enjoys teaching students who are new to yoga, who are senior, who are coming to class with physical limitations, or who are coping with mental health issues. “Yoga is such a powerful healing tool for all of us!” Emma is a Lead Trainer for SOYA’s 200 hour and 300 hour Professional YTT in Prince George, BC and online.


Denise Marshall, SOYA, RYT500, YA
Denise grew up in the Yukon and spent most of her adulthood in Northern BC. Denise is Metis~Cree/Black and a mother of 2 young adults and 2 energetic dogs. Denise offers a modern spin on the traditional teachings of yoga. Denise is also the Prince George Lululemon Yoga Ambassador.
Denise trained via SOYA at the 500 hour Yoga Teacher level, graduating with her 200 hour certification in 2013 and her 500 hour in 2017. Since then she has expanded her knowledge base with the Mamata Yoga 85 hr Pre/Post Natal Teacher along with trainings in Baby and Me, Kids and Youth Yoga trainings, Yin, Spa Yoga and Aerial Yoga. Her classes are well rounded and suitable for all.
Denise is a Lead Trainer for SOYA's 200 hour and 300 hour Professional Upgrade YTT in Prince George, BC. You can join Denise for classes at Framework Fitness and Zoom, or connect with her via IG or FB Denisemarshallyoga

Lead Trainer:

Jo-Ann Bance, SOYA E-RYT500, C-IAYT, YA


Jo-Ann graduated from the SOYA 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2013 and realized that there was
more to learn. She completed her 500 hour certification in 2014 with SOYA. She teaches a wide
range of Hatha Yoga with the intention to inspire students to deepen their personal practice, to
teach those new to yoga and to grow as a teacher with each new experience.

Jo-Ann believes in teaching a balanced practice that incorporates the 6 different types of poses
with a focus on the breath (which comes from her SOYA training in the Sivananda lineage) and
providing students the opportunity to explore yoga safely. Her goal is to meet students where
they are at and to create safe space for their own journey in yoga.

She has had a steady meditation practice for 25 years and has practiced yoga for 22 years.
Since August 2013, Jo-Ann has been teaching various practices of yoga including Asana,
Meditation, and Yoga Nidra. In addition to offering group classes, she works one-on-one with
those experiencing varying health conditions from a diagnosis of cancer, osteoporosis, back
pain, issues with hips and knees, and anxiety.

She is a Yoga Alliance registered E-RYT500 and is a certified International Association of Yoga
Therapist (C-IAYT).

Jo-Ann is a Lead Trainer for the SOYA 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Immersions in Armstrong and Smithers/Telkwa, BC.

SOYA lead trainer Jo-Ann Bance

Lead Trainer:

Cindy Szekely, E-RYT500, SOYA, YA


Cindy’s yoga journey has spanned more than eighteen years. She is an E-RYT 500, and after teaching yoga in Mackenzie, BC for 17 years has relocated Intuit Yoga to Wawa, ON.  She has been a lead trainer for South Okanagan Yoga Academy’s 200, 300, and 500 hour yoga teacher training programs since 2009. Cindy’s style of hatha yoga has been developed and nourished over the years and pulls from many different styles. Cindy strives to provide students a safe and mindful practice where they can truly come home to themselves. She loves the creative flow of vinyasa, the quiet release of yin, and the meditative quality of mindfulness yoga.  Her passion lies in being able to share all aspects of the traditional 8 limbs of yoga and learning something new with every class, workshop or teacher training that she leads.


SOYA lead trainer Jo-Ann Bance

Lead Trainer:

Patty Boucher, E-RYT500, SOYA, YA


Patty has practiced yoga since she was in her early adulthood, She started practicing meditation in her 30s and went on to study meditation practices in her psychology and therapeutic recreation courses at university.

She has been teaching yoga for 13 years. She graduated from SOYA 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2010 and then completed SOYA 300 hour yoga teacher training in May 2014.

Patty has worked with other lead trainers from South Okanagan Yoga Academy to complete the SOYA 200 hours Yoga Lead Trainer Mentorship in 2022.

Patty has taught hatha yoga to people of all ages and abilities. Patty is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program practitioner and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who helps individuals of all ages learn meditation and yoga practices for health and wellbeing.

Patty is an avid kayaker, canoer and SUP board paddler. She has taught yoga for paddlers at paddling symposiums since 2013, lead retreats and weekly meditation practices for individuals in Sault Ste Marie since 2020 and has taught yoga to children in various children’s programs, elementary and secondary schools.


SOYA lead trainer Jo-Ann Bance

Sanskrit Teacher:

Elaine LaMarre (Elena), RYT500, SOYA, YA


Fitness has always been a part of Elaine's life, leading her to become a Fitness Instructor in 1990. She fell in love with yoga 10 years later, and took the SOYA 200 hour yoga teacher training program in 2013. In 2019/2020, she completed the SOYA 500 hour professional training program.

Elaine and her husband retired in 2015 and began spending winters in Melaque, Mexico.  This is where she reunited with Bob and Mugs, and offered to do the bookkeeping for SOYA. She has been a great asset for SOYA ever since!  Elaine will be the person you communicate with when it comes to any financial transactions with SOYA.

Elaine continues to enjoy the quiet, simple life that Mexico has to offer and in 2020 obtained the SOYA 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification.  She now also teaches the Sanskrit portion of many yoga teacher training programs.


Philosophy Teacher:

Pierrette Claude (Latika), E-RYT500, SOYA, YA


Latika began her 200 hour studies at Kripalu with Jashoda Edmunds and Brahmani Liebman in 2006. In 2007 she completed the SOYA 300 hour Professiona Upgrade working one-on-one with Marion (Mugs) McConnell.

Latika wanted to deepen her own personal practice and believed the deepest teachings would be in a yoga teacher training. She has found yoga to be a path of discovery that never ceases to amaze and delight her! It wasn’t long before she realized that the best way to share the gifts of yoga is by teaching it to others.

Latika has a passion for Yin Yoga, which she learned from Sarah Powers and Bernie Clark. She has studied Tantra yoga with Rod Stryker and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait at the Himalayan Institute, and Erich Schiffmann’s Freedom Yoga at the SOYA Annual Retreats. Latika lives full time in Mexico, spending summers in Ajijic and winters in Melaque, where she is the owner of Latika Yoga Studio.