As most teachers of mindfulness approaches, my pathway is founded on a deeply personal engagement with the practice over a number of years, since 2002. Coupled with the persistent and increasing empirical basis for MBSR, I was drawn to join the training pathway in 2013 - so that I may offer others a doorway to the power of these teachings and practices, especially as a means to connect with many in my community who may not, ordinarily, seek out or have easy access to psychological support or therapies until they have moved far beyond their ‘edges’. As a psychologist, this appeals to my community psychology leanings and it is complementary to my therapeutic practice, that is based on humanistic, systemic, relational and ‘third-wave’ CBT, including positive psychology, orientations.
My choice of teacher training school in Mindful Academy Solterreno, was informed by three key offerings: firstly, its diversity of reach i.e. the international and variety of professional and cultural backgrounds of participants, thus living the common humanity dimension that is core to MBAs. Secondly, the pedigree and integrity of the Director, Dh. Bodhin Phillip Woodward, whose own practice and training is rooted in Buddhist teachings and practice, with a commitment to teaching a quality secular mindfulness curriculum. Finally, its location. Deliberately chosen to rest in a mountain valley in Spain, Solterreno is intimately close to nature and offers a direct experience of a deeply respectful, supportive and encouraging learning context. This allows for a deepening and widening of engagement with the core teachings and practices of MBSR.
I am privileged to return seasonally and I was invited to join the training team in 2017. The training offered by Mindful Academy Solterreno is exemplary and meets the MTAI ‘Crucial Components of Training Content’ Criterion, by my reading. See mbsr.website for outline of content. Further confirmation can be provided by the Director, if required. In the absence of a suitable secular mindfulness organisation, Mindful Academy Solterreno is a Registered Yoga Alliance Meditation School, attends to the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Teachers, and the evolving global mindfulness community that is emerging, and calling for fidelity to CFM’s MBSR Curriculum (2017) - further testifying to the commitment to standards for MBSR teacher training at this particular training school.
My CPD pathway has afforded me the opportunity to learn with a wide range of skilful teachers and leaders in the MBA community in the UK and Ireland. From workshops with Sarah Silverton, Trish Bartley, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Michael Chaskalason, Chris Tamdiji, Dr. Alistair Benson, Anita Harris and Alison Evans; to days of practice with Tara Brach and Sharon Salzberg; mindful conferences curated by NUIG, the Sanctuary and Mindfulness in Schools (UK); silent retreats with John Peacock, Akincano, Christina Feldman, Anushka Fernandopulle, Catherine McGee; and further training with Chris Cullen to teach the Finding Peace in a Frantic World curriculum, and Taravajra & Dominic Morris for .bFoundations.
My personal practice is woven into all aspects of my being these days – starting the day with formal practice, grounds, connects and opens to the day ahead. Other formal practices are called on to process and give space to the challenging moments. Each moment I practice is a moment of deepening awareness and connection with being human; a direct experience of practising ‘nonjudging kindly awareness’, in action and community; and that is the essence of the practice for me.
Mindfulness Teacher Training Pathway