Review of the 500 hour Teacher Training, June 2014, in Solterreno by Andrea Campbell, Norwich, U.K.

I started practising yoga in the early winter of 2004 whilst living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I was looking for a way to get back in touch with my body: my basic motivation was to get in shape. But from the first drop-in class I attended, I discovered that yoga offered access to a deeper way of being, a deeper awareness. While my teacher was not a certified Iyengar teacher, she was influenced by his teachings. Her attentiveness and her encouragement of her students’ abilities influenced how I would one day aspire to teach. 
When I arrived in England in spring 2008, I started practising yoga at the Norwich Buddhist Centre and attending meditation classes there. In 2009 I became a mitra, and in 2010 I asked for ordination. I decided some years before that I wanted to be a yoga teacher, but I was not convinced by any of the teacher training programmes I had come across. I was looking for three main things in a course: acceptance and interest in different approaches to postures (rather than one particular school, such as Iyengar), scope for various speed of practice (from static to flowing), and most importantly, an emphasis on transformation and awareness. I remember saying to someone, “I want to teach Buddhist yoga” without having any idea what that meant. In late 2011, I discovered Bodhiyoga: Sadhita and Sudaka had created a teacher training programme that ticked all my boxes: drawing on Buddhist teachings (specifically Sangharakshita’s) rather than Patanjali or Hindu cosmology; a focus on mindful movement based on the Satipatthana teaching; and the scope to bring in explicit Buddhist teachings of metta and ritual. From my first retreat with Sadhita and Sudaka at Dhanakosa, their seamless melding of yoga and meditation meant there was no barrier between practising mindfulness in movement or in stillness; my practice felt continuous and flowing whether on the mat or the cushion.
After my foundation 200 hour training at Solterreno, I was looking forward to returning to build on the knowledge I’d gathered in my year and a half as a teacher. My classes are flourishing, but I hoped to expand on my anatomical knowledge, deepen my confidence in postural alignment, and reinvigorate my own practice.
Solterreno’s expanse of blue sky and mountainous vistas form the perfect context for a training course. Away from the bustle of the city, close to nature and the outdoors, the mind can settle and expand without constraint. The shrine and practice room is full of natural light, and there are plenty of props and space. Swimming in the beautiful, clean pool is a great way to rejuvenate the body in the morning and afternoon, and the grounds are spacious and pleasingly laid out. The food is delicious and all requests are catered for. The casita, the wooden cabin, was quite a small space for three of us. We were a harmonious bunch fortunately. We all slept quite lightly as it was, as we were very close to one another and had a lot of input from the course to keep our minds active.
Sadhita and Sudaka planned the course impeccably, and all time was used to its maximum effect. Only two days were particularly intense (I think those where we had anatomy input, yoga teaching, and meditation teaching), but these were bookended by expansive days, so the effect was not too much. Much about the course was excellent. The use of ritual and chanting helped connect us to a larger mythical and cosmological context. The manual (which was tightly written and obviously proofread) was used much more than on the 200 hrs, so I made copious notes that I can refer back to and recall specific teachings/lectures. Drawing out the three main practice points of mobilisation, strengthening and stretching is a useful overarching paradigm and characteristic of Bodhiyoga’s approach. Bodhin’s mindfulness training provided an unquantifiable benefit to the course, giving a context for the students to explore our responses to the material as well as awarding skills to take back as teachers.
I appreciated learning more anatomy and looking at how we can apply this to people with specific injuries or challenges. 
Overall, the experience allowed me to explore my samskaras (habitual tendencies), in my yoga practice and my life. The beautiful surroundings encouraged spaciousness and ease, which helped to counter the intense and sometimes overwhelming amount of input. Sadhita and Sudaka’s years of experience shines in their teaching and interest in the weaving of the Dharma with yoga asana. I’d recommend this course to anyone seeking to explore the body and the sensations we experience in the body; these explorations permeate into our emotional and rational lives, allowing our awareness to unfold further outwards, and to permeate more deeply.