About Marion “Mugs” McConnell

A Little About Mugs

Marion, or “Mugs” to all who know her, is a published author of the book Letters From The Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed Through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and Others. This book is a “must read” to all dedicated yoga students who want to move deeper, beyond asana.

Mugs is one of Canada’s Yoga Pioneers, and is written about in the historical book Om Canada: An Intimate Glimpse at Yoga’s Firsts. Since 1973 she has dedicated her life to studying, practicing and teaching yoga.

In 2023 Mugs celebrated 50 years of yoga, and 45 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 Letters From The Yoga Masters is about.

Dr. Dickman taught Mugs how important the philosophy of yoga is, and how it provides a foundation for success in all the other yoga practices. He taught her to love the diversity in teachings that come from the many lineages of yoga, and that each one holds immense wisdom. Hari was accepted as a true yogi by many lineages, including Sivananda, Yogananda, and Ramana Maharshi. Through Mugs’ book she passes on to us a small slice of this infinite wisdom. 

Over the years, her teaching style has been greatly influenced by additional certificate studies with Erich Schiffmann, Namadeva Acharya, and Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani.

Erich Schiffmann taught her how every action can be an expression of love towards self and others. Through Erich she discovered the freedom found through commitment to a daily practice of meditation, and freedom through the exploration of possibility in each asana. (Krishnamacharya and Iyengar lineage)

Namadeva Acharya introduced Mugs to mantra, sacred words of power. For more than 10 years Mugs studied and practiced hundreds of mantras for varying purposes, before attempting the examinations for certification. Mantra has become an integral part of Mugs’ yoga practices and teachings.  (Sant Keshava Das lineage)

Dr. Ananda Balayoga Bhavanani, the son of the late Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri,  taught her extensively in pranayama and mudra, and other classical teachings. As a living, breathing, teacher, Mugs considers Dr. Ananda to be her living guru. (Gitananda lineage)

Mugs has dedicated many years of service to several organizations to help guide others into the depth and breadth of yoga. She is the co-founder of SOYA, the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (1995). She is one of the original writers and creators of the SOYA Yoga Teacher Training, and has been evolving the training with the times over the last 18 years. The 200 hour Foundational and the 300 hour Professional SOYA Yoga Teacher Training programs are richly infused with traditional yoga practices and philosophy.

  • In 2012 she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her lifetime contribution to the Yoga community in Canada and abroad.
  • She was the Canadian Representative for the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA) for 34 years (1982-2016). In 2013 she was the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation from IYTA in recognition of her contributions to yoga around the world.
  • In 2016 she received an Award of Appreciation from Yoga Alliance for all her committee work she has done with them over 15 years (2009-2024).
  • In 2021 Mugs was awarded Honorary Permanent Certification with Yoga Association of Alberta for her assistance and support to the organization.

Currently, Mugs lives with her husband Robert in Mexico, and visits Canada once a year. Please feel free to reach out and connect with her using the contact form.

Contact Mugs

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Mugs McConnell

  • Teaching yoga for 46 years and training teachers at international standards for 29 years
  • Certified 500 hour teacher (Acharya) from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (1978) under Swami Vishnu-devananda
  • Last disciple of Sri Yogiraj Dr.Hari Dickman (1979)
  • Certified Mantra Teacher from Namadeva Acharya of Santana Dharma Society
  • Studied extensively with Erich Schiffmann in Freedom Yoga
  • Continues studies in the Dr. Swami Gitananda lineage
  • Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT500)
  • past Canadian Representative for the International Yoga Teachers’ Association (IYTA) (1982-2016)
  • member either of committees or the Board of Directors with Yoga Alliance since 2009.
  • Has presented workshops internationally since 1984
  • Loves to teach Sivananda Yoga, Freedom Yoga, and Vinyasa with mudras and mantra

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