Testimonials from the 200 Hour and 300 Hour Upgrade SOYA Teacher Training

(to read more testimonials visit our page on the Yoga Alliance Registered School listings)

200 Hour

“After extensive research on where to take my teacher training, I knew I had made the right decision after the first day of class. I feel very blessed to have attended the SOYA program.  It surpassed all my expectations.  Helen & Mugs are amazing ladies and their wealth of knowledge is truly inspirational…” Tracey Short, Calgary

“I feel so incredibly fortunate to have taken my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Certification with Helen Mikuska, Bob and Marion Mugs McConnell through SOYA. Both teachers are so immensely knowledgeable and truly live their yoga. They are a shining example for students and inspired me so much. Helen brings such a deep knowledge of modifications and with her fitness and studio owner background she has much practical advice for students. Harmony Yoga and Pilates is such a well-cared for and loved sacred space. Mugs’ deep history with yoga and her knowledge of philosophy and sharing of spiritual stories was so touching. Her book Letters from the Yoga Masters was so useful. Bob offered playful and grounded classes that gave us a well-rounded foundation for the possibilities in yogic practice and spiritual exploration. The intensive experience was something that was absolutely life-changing and absolutely priceless. I am forever grateful to my teachers and SOYA. With love and gratitude,” Kim Mayberry, Banff

“What can I say to sum up my experience going through the SOYA 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program… It all has to do with the wonderful individuals behind the name SOYA — Marion, Bob, and Helen. The three of them come from such an honest place. My journey through the 200‐hour program allowed me to grow, to be myself, and to feel so very supported in that.
Marion is someone who speaks from a place of love. She is one of the warmest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Her joy is contagious. She is patient, and she cares so much for every single person, and wants each one of our experiences to be full, and powerful; and it was. She truly is one of a kind, and I am so honored to have had the time I did with such a bright ray of light.
Helen, who owns Harmony Yoga and Pilates Studio in Calgary Alberta, has an alive, sparkling energy that fills every room she walks into. Her soul is one that knows how to have fun, and to seize every moment. She literally dances as if no one is watching. Helen’s knowledge is so extensive; my brain was always on high alert in order to try and absorb all of what she had to share. Not to worry though, Helen, Marion and Bob are all so approachable and welcoming and were happy to help with any questions we had.
When Bob begins to speak, the room goes silent. We were all so enthralled in what he has to impart. It is through Bob’s humility, I think, that really allowed us to be curious and excited about his words. His teachings are empowering; so very genuine. Bob will inspire you to tap into your inner voice, and to the creative forces within you!
SOYA is an incredible program. I left feeling so confident and self‐assured. I know that I can be a worthwhile, prosperous, and meaningful component to the yoga world. I am so very grateful to have had this opportunity.”… All my love, Genessa Sather

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from a group of amazing teachers and learn with (and learn from) a great group of fellow students. I had no idea what I was in for til the books came in the mail…the spiritual aspect turned out to be exactly what I needed. I loved the group discussions, guest teachers and to see a variety of styles of yoga and teaching styles. I appreciate the opportunities to practice teaching, build lesson plans and teach one complete lesson. I am excited to incorporate what I learned into my daily life and can’t wait to start teaching yoga and sharing what I’ve learned with others. Thank you!!”…Denise Werry, BC

“This training was beyond my expectations. The balance between professionalism and sensitivity to the individual student’s needs surpassed any other experience I have had in all of my many experiences in workshops, seminars, training courses and group modules. Every student seeking to be a certified yoga teacher should be so lucky as to discover SOYA!” …Aurora Renee Matheson, BC

“Sometimes we have doubts about ourselves and hesitate to make a step forward.  Before starting the RYS 200 training program with SOYA I could hardly believe in myself but my intuition said that I was in the right hands and I made my step keeping deep faith and trust in people I came to learn from. I was originally inspired by Helen Mikuska who was one of the Lead Trainers.  She fascinated me with her approach to teaching yoga and genuine intention to help people who seek for her assistance. When classes started I was honored and pleased to meet other professionals Marion McConnell, Robert McConnell.  They gave an abundance of knowledge about yoga philosophy, asanas, lesson planning, Sanskrit, kriyas, mantras and meditation. But to me the best advantage of my studies was that I gained deep faith in myself, belief I CAN DO ANYTHING. The classes were planned in such a way that students were able to handle and really enjoy the training.  I have already tried to teach yoga my friends and they were truly amazed to hear so much information about moving energy in their body practicing Hatha yoga. They told me they had never heard about those techniques from any yoga teacher in their life. It made me think that the information I have learnt is so deep and meaningful. It was really touching to see how the training team cared about the students so that everybody’s needs were met. When the program was completed, we had a farewell party and the whole evening I was singing inside myself a song like mantra:
 “I want to linger a little longer,
A little longer here with you.
It’s such a perfect night,
It does not seem quite right
That it could be my last with you.”    Namaste,  Alla Lawrence, AB

“I am so grateful that I was pointed in the direction of the SOYA 200 hour training because it was all that I could have hoped for and more.  Helen and Mugs are true teachers.  They want their students to have a strong understanding of the material and to feel confident in their knowledge, and they worked tirelessly to ensure that this was the case. Not only are they extremely knowledgeable about the practice of yoga, they are also incredibly humble, encouraging and fun!  SOYA has a well-developed and established curriculum that aligns with the IYTA standards.  As a result, after 16 days of amazing learning, I left the training feeling confident and ready to start my teaching journey. If you are searching for a well-rounded program that leads you deeper into your own practice and gives you a strong foundation to teaching,  I think that the SOYA 200 Yoga Teacher Training would be an amazing fit!”      Lauren Price, AB

“Well, a week after the Calgary 200-hour session and I feel like I can finally put into meagre words a few key takeaways from my experience. First, I was completely overwhelmed with how well the program was structured. Not to say I’m hard to impress (though I’ve been told I am), I simply want to iterate that at the beginning of the course I thought I was there for my own edification and by the end Mugs and Helen had convinced me that I could actually go out into the world and teach…starting small and letting the universe take it from there, but nonetheless the program design is amazing! Second, I’d had the benefit of just completing a World Religions class as part of my Psychology undergrad, and for those who may be nervous that the philosophy side is going to overwhelm, it doesn’t. It frames and underscores the basic sentiment of Hinduism, a philosophy that firmly asserts there is no wrong way to God/the Divine/the Real, exploring the Sutras and the Gita simply reinforces the key truths found in so many other religious texts. Lastly, I had quietly hoped to dovetail my love of Yoga (starting with the asanas) into my path of psychology and within a week I have been gifted insight into how these two worlds (beyond the asanas) can co-habitate and complement the often unique nature of mental, physical and spiritual strains within western society. So a heartfelt thank you, to you all for a beautiful experience and one that I trust will have a ripple effect among those whose paths I will inevitably cross.” Tricia Murray, AB

“The training was more than I expected. It has been a great journey and one I will never forget. Thank you to everyone.”… Melanie Zacharias, Ontario

“It is rare for me to be this certain of a 10/10 for anything but I absolutely feel I have been taught the skills needed to begin to teach yoga. I loved the fullness of what is YOGA – focusing beyond asana, and the excellent quality of instruction. I am so grateful that not only did I get excellent training, i was given opportunities for personal transformation in the process. The attention given to quality instruction give me confidence in my new work as a teacher. The teaching team is such a caring group of people. They mad a safe, positive environment for everyone.”… Cathrine Morginn, Yukon

“Everything in the program has a perfect process, everything was perfectly planned. I am so happy right now! I didn’t really know what to expect and I got more than I could ever imagine. I had a wonderful experience, and I feel so grateful that I had the chance to meet such great and amazing teachers! I can’t wait to see what is next! Thank you! Fabiola Perez, Alberta

“The program schedule really allowed me to thrive. My personal focus and meditation throughout the entire program was to find my voice and the incremental scheduling really made that possible for me (even thought I am shy). I can’t believe how far we have all come in this immersion program. It has truly been one of the best experiences of my life and it has made me a better and happier person moving forward. I am so excited to teach yoga and I am eternally grateful to Mugs and Helen.”  Jennifer Bell, Alberta

“There are so many I liked about this program. Thank you for sharing your passion and lighting a flame inside of me. This has been truly transformative. As for the actual program, I really appreciated the structure and scaffolding that it provided. the design is brilliant. You had us face our fears from day 1 by teaching one-on-one and our learning and confidence followed as we continued to teach in smaller groups of 3, and moved on to larger groups. The support and guidance you both provided was amazing.” Shelley Fairbrother, Ontario


300 Hour Advanced Upgrade

“I think I am finally feeling rested up from the past two weeks away at training. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to live at the St. Francis Retreat Center while I was doing the training this month. A tiny room to tuck into each night and the grounds had a beautiful view of the Rockies. It was a very special treat to have Mugs and Dariel doing the training as they have been with SOYA from day one and have so much knowledge and experience to offer. Two beautiful gurus. My colleagues at this session were a very caring and supportive group of yoginis. The perfect conclusion to my 500 hour training journey. It has been three years since I began my teachers training at Sunny Bay in 2012. This has been a life changing experience during this walk on earth. I have much yet to learn and experience about the yoga path, but I truly feel I have a firm foundation on which I can continue to grow and build. I cherish the knowledge I have been given about the sacred texts and this will serve me well every day of my life. Much gratitude to all the teachers along the way… Kamala, Carla, Dariel, Mugs, and Bob, along with many guest teachers at all of the training sessions. I have recieved much from many. My heart is full.” Gwen Hartland, BC

“I feel like I will be able to not just teach my students asana, but impact their lives off of the mat with the tools SOYA has given me. I love the diversity of the experiences SOYA gives to its students. For example: Restorative yoga with Dariel, Kids Yoga with Tasha, Yoga for scoliosis with Carol. I have not seen a program what can compete with the spectrum of exposure that SOYA students have. My experiences with both my 200 hour and now my 300 hour upgrade have been nothing short of life changing! I have not only learned the meaning of what it means to be a yoga teacher, but also so much about myself in the process. Immeasurable gratitude to all of the SOYA Faculty.”… Kenna Riplinger, BC

“Although I have taught yoga for 3+ years, my skills have improved, knowledge expanded, confidence grown. The best part of the program is the structure, content, professionalism and calibre of instruction. All components were covered thoroughly and rigorously with compassion. The accommodations were the best and the meals were delicious, lovingly prepared, and nutritious. Thank you for all! Love!!!”… Jools Andres, BC

“Some of the best exercises were those where we split into groups and designed a class, then taught it. This allowed for outputting that which we are learning so feedback was readily available. Surprisingly, getting into the deeper pranayama and meditation work was completely delicious. Also the adding in of mudras which I have not done before. For me, any time with mugs makes my experience complete. I always desire more of that. I would love to grow beyond my current studio and perhaps one day become a pat of the amazing SOYA staff!”… Nadine Jolly, BC

“I feel confident that I know the material to teach students and to progress in my own practice. All of it was great. The instructors were phenomenal and knowledgeable of the material they were teaching, offering workshops and practices that were excellent. I enjoyed all aspects of the training and appreciated when both Mugs and Carla recognized our weakness or (being tired) and changed things up or made us look at how we can care for ourselves. They were very accommodating to student’s needs. Overall it was excellent.”… Patty Boucher, Ontario