July 10, 2020
When I had made up my mind for doing Yoga Teacher Training Course, I had no idea that I was going to be connected to a living legend. All I had hoped for was to find a school with decent reviews and average fees. But by sheer stroke of luck, I found myself registered with SOYA Yoga Academy.
That's when my life took a complete turn.
Not sure if my love and zeal for Yoga would have continued in the same fashion as it has, had I not done this course from SOYA Yoga.
So... I found Mugs!
Who is she?
Mugs is the lovely nickname used for Marion McConnell, who is:
She has been teaching Yoga for 40 years, can you imagine! But what took me by surprise was the splendid book she has authored - "Letters from the Yoga Masters...". It is so detailed, authentic and interesting all at the same time that makes one wonder how much of an effort went into writing it. Since it includes information, artifacts and as the name suggests, letters from multiple sources, it was absolutely necessary to have both authenticity ingrained and permissions taken for each one of those. And it was done with complete obeyance. The compilation is so breath-taking that one cruises in wonderland all the while reading this book. What she may have not realized yet is the fact that by collecting and putting together this kind of information that is going to be all the more difficult to discover from other sources as time goes by, she has created a jewel to be treasured for ages.
Being from India, I feel especially grateful to her for saving all this important and nostalgic detail about such great masters as Raman Maharishi and Swami Sivananda etc. from going into obsolescence.
No, I'm not done yet, bear with me!
We all watch movies, or most of us do. But sometimes when I get to watch a short behind-the-scenes clip, I'm startled. What all it takes to create a small sequence in the movie is mostly beyond imagination. Similarly, for all the great masters that are no longer with us, we mostly get to know their public-facing side, their teachings, their viewpoints and their methods. But it gives a lot of insight if one gets a chance to peep into more of their personal side, what all it took for them to become what they became. That's exactly where this book fits in.
The great masters, well, most of them, were connected with a lot many people during their times. And before the advent of video chat and phone-over-internet in the recent times, the most convenient form of communication was letters, of course. By going through these, we really understand these great men, quite truly we get to see the "making of the masters".
I'm thankful to her for authoring this really beautiful piece of work - this will be savored by the generations. This is the website of the book - www.lettersfromtheyogamasters.com.
Besides this book and the teachers' training program, she is involved in many other things related to Yoga - ask your friend Google, or have a quick look at 'About Marion (Mugs) McConnell' on this page.
If you are thinking of doing a Teachers' Training course, I strongly recommend SOYA yoga. You'll be thrilled!
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.
Marion (Mugs) McConnell was first introduced to yoga in 1973. Her passion for this ancient practice led her to study under the late Swami Vishnudevananda where she graduated from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre as a Yoga Acharya in 1978. Later, in 1979 she became a live-in disciple of the late Dr. Hari Dickman, who was a direct disciple of Swami Sivananda and Paramhansa Yogananda. Her more recent teachers she has trained extensively with include the late Namadeva Acharya in Mantra and Erich Schiffmann in Freedom Style Yoga.
“Mugs”, as most people know her, is the owner of the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA) with her husband Robert. She served as the Canadian Representative for the International Yoga Teachers’ Association (IYTA) from 1982-2016. She co-created SOYA’s Teacher Training Program (RYS200/300) in 1995 which is based on IYTA and Yoga Alliance standards. She is a Registered Teacher with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT500), and a member of the Yoga Alliance Board of Directors and Standards Committee.
“Mugs” has presented workshops in Canada, United States, Spain, Mexico and Australia. She has been teaching yoga for 40 years. In 2012 she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for representing yoga in Canada and abroad for over 40 years. In 2013 she received a Certificate of Appreciation from the International Yoga Teachers Association of Australia for outstanding dedication and contribution of service. Her passion is combining mudras and mantras with asana. If you would like to know more about workshops and Yoga Teacher Training with Mugs, please go to www.soyayoga.com
Marion (Mugs) McConnell:
With her husband Robert McConnell, she owns and operates SOYA (South Okanagan Yoga Academy) for training yoga teachers and organizing yoga retreats and workshops in BC, Alberta and Mexico. With its roots in the Sivananda lineage, SOYA promises to give students a diverse and broad exposure to many styles, lineages and philosophies.
Visit them at