Review of the 500 hour Teacher Training, June 2014, in Solterreno by Dharmacharini Aryajaya, Cambridge, U.K.

I have always loved yoga.  The body has always felt for me like a gateway into my experience, especially the inner realms of subtle energetic experience. The very real health benefits of yoga practice; toning, strength, improved immune system, diet, access to breath and energy have also been an exploration that continues in my practice. I first practiced due to an injury and yoga asana continues to be a way I deal with the tensions and strains of my body and modern lifestyle.  I am also a meditator and yoga asana not only supports this but informs it in many ways.
I discovered yoga before Buddhism and knew that I wanted to pursue a spiritual life but it was discovering the teachings of the Buddha and the Triratna community that gave me a path of practice that I could follow.  I have been living in Buddhist communities and working within a Buddhist business for the last 14 years, as an expression of my practice and path of self enquiry, as well as transformation. I was ordained 8 years ago into the Triratna Buddhist Order.
Three years ago I came back to yoga classes and had the familiar experience of feeling like I was coming ‘home’ in the asana work and body awareness.  I felt that I wanted to honour how important yoga has been in my life by learning more and taking my practice deeper, making a stronger commitment to this form of practice.
I undertook a 200 hour Teacher Training in Cambridge.  It was a general Hatha/Raja yoga approach based on the classic Yoga texts, for example Patanjali and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, I felt that I got a good grounding in how to teach, an overview of the body systems, pranayama, and the historical roots of yoga and how these have migrated into the Western world and viewpoint.  I graduated in September 2013.
One thing I was hoping to achieve in the course was to also deepen my understanding of my meditation experience and I wondered did the roots of yoga have a resonance or correspondence with the Buddha’s teaching?
Discovering BodhiYoga I can only describe as a truly integrative experience for me.  Taking my yoga and meditation practice deeper within a Triratna context is hugely significant to me and it feels quite radical taking yoga out of the Hindu context it is normally taught within and establishing it in Buddhist practice.  The main benefit is in applying mindfulness and metta to the yogic awareness.  I am not implying that this is not in other yoga systems but that at BodhiYoga it is explicit and comes from the all the Teachers own extensive experience of yoga, meditation and Buddhist practice.  I wanted to train with them right away – and so I did!
The 12 day 500 hour course was an intense and rewarding experience.  My understanding of teaching and how it can develop further is very exciting. The course work that follows the 12 day intensive means I will put what I have learnt into practice, as well as pursue areas of interest in further study.  
The course comprises learning the theoretical basis and practical ways to deal with common injuries teachers are presented with in their classes – lower back, upper back, knees and neck injuries.  As a new teacher I feel so much more confident to work intelligently with students on-going injuries and to work with recent injuries on a one to one basis.  I feel the course has given me many tools to work with this.
Meditation teaching is also part of the course.  A grounding in Mindfulness and Metta meditation techniques and practice in teaching them gives the opportunity to offer this to students.  I first meditated at my yoga class over 20 years ago! I think offering meditation takes yoga into its full sense of a path that can transform us.
The other component of the course is a foundation in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  Taught by Bodin, this felt like the heart of the course, and gave many tools to work compassionately with ourselves and our students, and is specifically geared towards working with people in pain.  This is also something that one can offer as a course or workshop in itself or can also be integrated into existing yoga classes.  It bought awareness to the need for kindness and sensitivity as we work with the difficulties that life can present.
All strands of the course had a teaching practice element and were a great opportunity for feedback and good direction in how to improve.  This felt very important to keep developing as a teacher.
The teaching from Sudaka, Sadhita and Bodin comes from their own many years of practice and experience.  They work well together as a team and put a lot of effort into making the course relevant for us as teachers.  The tool box that we have been given is very full and varied, giving inspiration for many classes blending yoga and mindfulness.  I thank them all for their clear teaching, patience and support.
It was a joy to be at Solterrano in the Spanish mountains.  In the intensity of the course the beauty helped to soften the experience, as did the dog therapy with the resident dogs. Marta, Alfonso and Fernando cared for us with great food and many things behind the scenes.
Was it a training, a retreat or a holiday?  All three elements wove into each other as we all practiced together whether in our teaching sessions, theory sessions, meditating together or in the swimming pool.  A truly integrative and supportive training and one that has inspired me to teach more and keep learning, as well as to offer more of the mindfulness approach explicitly to my students.