About SOYA's Vancouver-area Lead Trainers
and the South Okanagan Yoga Academy
"Yoga is not about touching your toes−it's about what you learn on the way down!"
E-RYT 500, YACEP, IYTA
I began my yoga journey as a student of Mugs McConnell over 30 years ago and was one of SOYA‘s first Yoga Teacher Training graduates. I combine my love of traditional hatha yoga wisdom and practice and wide-ranging experience as a teacher to develop and teach yoga workshops for young children, athletes, and the elderly. I currently teach gentle corporate yoga. My career as an Early Childhood Educator has made my approach to training yoga teachers creative, fun, and thorough. I helped establish the first SOYA Vancouver Yoga Teacher Training program in 2005.
I have also pursued a path in karate and have achieved Shodan level, my first-level black belt, in Chito Ryu Karate. I assist teaching karate to 4- to 15-year-olds in Burnaby several times per week. My teaching style in both karate and yoga is down-to-earth, while also being eclectic and dynamic.
I have a degree in Biology, E-RYT 500 and Continuing Education Provider status from Yoga Alliance (YACEP), and am a teaching member and Canadian representative for the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA) based in Sydney, Australia.
"When the mind and body learn to communicate truthfully and act in the best interest of the whole, things really hum."
E-RYT 500, YACEP, IYTA
My practice and teaching are influenced by Ashtanga, Sivananda, and Erich Schiffmann's Freedom Yoga styles, as well as restorative yoga and yoga nidra, Zen Buddhism, dance, and therapeutic movement. In addition to teacher trainings, retreats, and workshops, I teach small groups and private sessions for all levels.
I have a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Depth Psychology and Creative Writing with extensive coursework in World Religions, Creation and Grail Mythologies, Epistemology, and Creativity and post-grad training and experience in expressive / sandplay therapy and clinical counselling. For all that, I have worked as a writer and editor most of my life.
I began teaching yoga in 2010 and have studied with Erich Schiffmann (Freedom Yoga teacher training, 2014), David Swenson (Ashtanga Primary Series teacher training, 2012), Judith Hanson Lasater (experiential anatomy, 2016), Neil Pearson (Gentle Yoga for Pain Care, 2016), Doug Keller, and Robin Rothenberg (Essential Low Back Therapy). I've completed two 200-hour YTT certification programs and SOYA's 300-hour upgrade and am a registered E-RYT 500 and YACEP with Yoga Alliance. I am currently enrolled in a 1000-hour Yoga Therapy certification program in Vancouver, BC and Chennai, India, completion est. 2019 (IAYT-accredited Yoga Therapy International led by Maggie Reagh). I have certifications in Trauma-sensitive Yoga (Yoga Outreach) and Restorative Yoga, am a teaching member of International Yoga Teachers Association based in Sydney, Australia, and a member of International Association of Yoga Therapists. I teach a trauma-sensitive yoga class for homeless women as a volunteer in Vancouver's Downtown East Side.
See more at joolsandres.com.
Mugs and Bob McConnell
co-founders of SOYA
Marion (Mugs) McConnell, E-RYT 500, IYTA, co-founder of SOYA
Robert McConnell, RYT 500, co-founder of SOYA
The South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA) has been training yoga teachers to international standards for over 20 years, offering comprehensive, diverse, and accessible programs that are second-to-none. With roots in the Sivananda lineage, SOYA’s extensive programs are designed with flexibility, accessibility, and transformation at heart.
SOYA owners Marion (Mugs) and Robert (Bob) McConnell have studied with Hari Dickman, Swami Vishnudevananda, Erich Schiffmann, Dharma Mittra, Ganga White and Tracey Rich, Mark Stephens, Namadeva Acharya, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Rod Stryker, and others.
Mugs was first certified by Swami Vishnudevananda in 1978 and 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. She has presented workshops in Canada, United States, Spain, Mexico, and Australia and has been teaching yoga for 38 years. In 2012 she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for representing yoga for nearly 40 years. She is a member of the Yoga Alliance Board of Directors and sits on the YA Standards Committee. See more here.
Bob earned certification with SOYA's 200-hour YTT and upgraded to 500-hour with The Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. He regularly teaches pranayama, meditation, and asana for the SOYA 200-hour and 300-hour advanced YTT programs.
SOYA is a registered RYS200® and RYS300® school with Yoga Alliance. Our yoga teacher training programs help students understand the roots of yogic wisdom while developing teaching skills and class designs. SOYA trainings are life-changing experiences and provide a solid foundation for the great journey that is yoga.
SOYA also offers yoga retreats and workshops in BC, Alberta and Mexico.
2017 SOYA Teacher Trainings
SOYA 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, Extended: Creston, Penticton, Prince George, and Pitt Meadows, BC, and Fort McMurray, AB.
SOYA 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, immersion: Penticton, Calgary, and Mexico.
SOYA 300-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, Immersion, upgrade to RYT 500: Spring 2017 Penticton, BC; Fall 2017 Sorrento, BC.
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