About our Team of Trainers
SOYA Lead Trainers are highly skilled, diverse and seasoned Yoga Teachers who are dedicated to continued study. Some of the master yoga teachers they have had the blessing to study with include Dr. Hari Dikman, Swami Vishnudevananda, Pattabhi Jois, Namadeva Acharya, Erich Schiffmann, Rod Stryker, and Chris Chavez. SOYA is proud to offer their students exposure to lineages and styles such as Ashtanga, Sivananda, Yin, Restorative, Anusara, Vinyasa, and other practices. All Lead Trainers are E-RYT500 with the Yoga Alliance and Full Teaching Members of the International Yoga Teachers’ Association (IYTA). This eclectic group of trainers offer a diverse and expertly informed training experience for SOYA yoga teacher trainees.
Marion, or "Mugs" to all who know her, is one of Canada‘s Yoga Pioneers. She is the co-owner of SOYA with her husband Bob. 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 sits on the Standards Committee for Yoga Alliance and served as the Canadian Representative for the International Yoga Teachers’ Association (IYTA) from 1982-2016. Mugs’ early training was in the Sivananda lineage under Swami Vishnudevananda. She was the last disciple of Sri Yogiraj Dr. Hari Dickman. Namadeva Acharya played a huge role in her love and understanding of mantra, which she often combines with mudra. She has completed over 100 hours in Freedom Yoga teacher training with Erich Schiffmann, influencing her love of free-flowing yoga. Over the years her teaching style has been impacted by additional studies with Rod Stryker, Mark Stephens, Friedel Khattab, Dharma Mittra, along with many others.
She designed and directs the 200 hour and 300 hour Advanced SOYA YTT programs and leads master class workshops. Mugs is the author of the book "Letters From the Yoga Masters," which has become a textbook for all SOYA teacher training programs. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Yoga Alliance and their Standards Committee.
see Letters From the Yoga Masters
Mugs’ book Letters From the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed Through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and Others”, is published by North Atlantic Books. The book is available for purchase from online stores such as Amazon and Chapters, as well as from your local bookstore.
Kamala, a published poet, mantra enthusiast and avid adventurer brings her whimsical magic to every yoga lesson. Kamala‘s grounded and approachable sensibilities combined with her vast and accomplished repertoire, a broad and well-informed lineage ensure SOYA students depth and a quality to their studies. With over ten years of teaching experience, Kamala considers herself a life-long student who continues her own studies since her beginnings with SOYA. Some of her studies have included Okido Yoga, Ashtanga, Anusara and Yoga for Cyclists with many of today’s most relevant and revered master teachers including Sri Pattabhi Jois, Tim Miller, Erich Schiffmann and Chris Chavez. She is a Lead Trainer for SOYA’s 200 hour Immersion and Extended YTT programs in the Okanagan where she is the director and owner of Purple Lotus Yoga. She is also a lead trainer for SOYA’s 300 hour upgrade.
Cindy started practicing Yoga in 2002, and it was “love at first sight” practice. She completed the SOYA 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training program and now owns and operates Intuit Yoga in Mackenzie, BC. Her study with Susi Hately of Functional Synergy provided her a training in how to offer students a safe and comfortable approach to asana with modifications for all bodies. She loves the creative flow of vinyasa, the quiet release of yin, and the meditative quality of mindfulness yoga. Cindy is a Lead Trainer for SOYA’s 200 hour YTT programs at Chinook Yoga Studio in Prince George, BC.
Dariel has been an avid teacher of yoga since 1978, training as a teacher of teachers with the Yoga Association of Alberta. She has been a Lead Trainer with SOYA since its inception. A deeply grounded, soft-hearted inspirational teacher, Dariel guides her students through a blend of her own yogic imaginings. She is caring and kind in every aspect of her teaching, sharing her great love for the precision and alignment offered in the Iyengar tradition. She complements this with her intensive training in the Okido Yoga System from Master Friedel Khattab. Dariel teaches prenatal, restorative, and gentle Hatha yoga.
What began in 1999 as a way to help Jeff cope with chronic back problems became a practice in learning about himself and the world around him. As an enthusiastic teacher of hatha and restorative yoga, Jeff brings many inspirations to the mat from those who have influenced him: Erich Schiffmann, Richard Miller, Robert Thurman, Annie Carpenter, Michael Stone, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan to name a few. He completed his 200hr SOYA teacher training in Mexico in February 2010 with Mugs McConnell and Carla Wainwright and recently upgraded to a 500 hour designation in 2014 through the SOYA program. "The more I practice the more I feel that Yoga is an opportunity to connect with the profound power of nature that we see and experience around us continually and the intimate space where that power exists within." Jeff is a co-owner of Chinook Yoga in Prince George, BC, and a Lead Trainer for the SOYA YTT programs in Mexico.