Letters from the Yoga Masters

Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda, and Others.

Written, researched, and created with love by Marion (Mugs) McConnell & Foreword by Erich Schiffmann. Published by North Atlantic Books. Distributed by Penguin Random House.

Mugs McConnell shares in her book the techniques that her teacher, Dr. Hari Dickman was taught by yoga masters such as Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnu Tirth, and many others.

The first section of the book lays out the fascinating history of Hari’s relationship with several yoga masters. The mid-section of the book is a vast array of yoga techniques these yoga masters taught to Hari. And the last section is “Delicious Stories” that were found in the letters, and were just too rich not to include. As you read the book, move around these sections and enjoy! It isn’t intended to necessarily read the book from cover-to-cover.

About the Author

Marion, or “Mugs” to all who know her, is one of Canada‘s Yoga Pioneers. She is the founder of SOYA with her husband Bob.

In 2023 Mugs celebrated 50 years as a yoga student and 45 years as a certified yoga teacher. Mugs’ early training was in the Sivananda lineage under Swami Vishnudevananda. During and after 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, Namadeva Acharya, and Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani (son of Dr. Swami Gitananada Giri). Erich taught her 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, and Dr. Ananda has taught her so much about the breadth and depth of pranayama and mudra. Dr. Ananda continues to teacher her. Mugs considers him as her current living guru. 

Classical Teachings From Our Great Yoga Masters of the Past by Mugs McConnell

Presented by Marion “Mugs” McConnell of SOYA Yoga at the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA) 50th Anniversary Celebration – Sydney Town Hall, 20-22 October, 2017.

Video recording by Regal Video Productions

Yoga in Latvia

An unfinished documentary on The History of Yoga in Latvia…

Marion (Mugs) McConnell participated in the making of this documentary about Dr. Hari Dickman and his historical role teaching yoga in Latvia prior to WWII. As McConnell was the last disciple of Hari, she was interviewed in the documentary, sharing stories and information about her time with Dr. Dickman. Unfortunately, Dzintars Vilnis Korns, who was the inspiration behind the documentary, passed away in August 2022. Funding is now an issue for the completion of this historical document. Nevertheless, Dzintars did create a webpage to capture much of the history, reflecting the huge role Dr. Hari Dickman played in establishing the Latvian Yoga Society (see below). Yoga continues to thrive in Latvia today. 

The Latvian Yoga Society

Learn more about the Latvian Yoga Society established in the 1930s by Dr. Hari Dickman. This webpage, created by Dzintars Vilnis Korns, shows an impressive array of passionate students in yoga prior to WWII, when yoga was forbidden in Latvia. 

Contact Mugs

Please contact Mugs with your questions or to book your event & discuss Covid-19 protocols.

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Letters from the Yoga Masters: Techniques

“Some things should never be lost. Letters from the Yoga Masters is a uniquely valuable book containing wisdom and advice from most of the well-known and respected yoga masters of India in the twentieth century. McConnell has done a commendable job preserving this knowledge and presents the stories and teachings in a very entertaining way.” Bernie Clark, author of Yinsights: A Journey into the Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga.

Sivoham Meditation

My teacher Hari taught me this meditation, which is meant to help us find harmony in prakriti. Prakriti is nature, or all of the manifested Universe, which is subject to the effects of the three gunas. The gunas are the three potential qualities found in everything...

Neti pot

BRING OUT THE NETI POT! SPRING IS HERE! As spring arrives and the plants come into flower, pollens can begin to play havoc with allergies and sinuses. Spring colds and flus start spreading around as well. The yogic cleansing practice of “Neti” is a perfect first...

Kumbhak Pranayama with Bhavana

Practicing kumbhak pranayama with bhavana is a technique of loving kindness, where we develop a mental attitude that is rooted in compassion and love toward ourselves and others. Love is the ultimate expression of God, the Creator. Bhavana means “concentrated...

Honouring the Culture of Yoga

A yoga teacher training that includes teachings beyond asana by Mugs McConnell Seeking out a yoga teacher training must be one of the most confusing things to do for a yoga student. Most people who desire to become a yoga teacher do so because of the great benefits...

Puja Ceremony

The Puja Ceremony by Marion (Mugs) McConnell There is one invisible, formless spirit called Brahman which manifests itself inside every living thing. Hindus believe in one God, and they worship God through the many forms of gods and goddesses known as deities. The...

Upanishad Mantra Meditation

The Upanishad Mantra Meditation is one of my favourites in Letters from the Yoga Masters on page 165.  It includes four mantras that are intended to help awaken our consciousness to the spirit within. Along with the mantras we visualize the flow of prana. I have...

Sarva Dvara Baddha Pranayama: all doors closed

(another sneak peak from Mug's book) Sarva means "all", dvara means "door", and baddha means "bound."  All the doors or gates where prana can escape are closed. Sit comfortably and apply shanmukhi mudra (cover the ears with the...

Pranava Dhvanyatmaka Pranayama

Chanting the Sound of Om By Mugs McConnell In many yoga classes we open and end the class by chanting “Om,” but for many students they don’t really know much about this powerful, sacred mantra. I hope from this article the next time you chant it the Om sound will be...

Pushpaputa Mudra

Pushpaputa mudra is a gesture of offering a handful of flowers to the Divine. You are the offering - you are the flowers, when you are open to what the Divine lays before you.  A great time to try this mudra is after opening yourself up with...

To See or Not to See

 by Mugs McConnell SOYA, ERYT500, IYTA Back in 1978 I did my initial yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. Swami Vishnudevananda and his disciples worked diligently to train us in the science of yoga philosophy as well as the skills of...

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