Values & Beliefs
Blue Banyan Yoga Studio & School values yoga as a living practice; therefore the teaching of yoga is an even ever-evolving and responsive craft. We teach to who is in the room, to the season, to all that is present. Our program and teaching have drawn from many sources and traditions and offer an integrated, inspired, and informed approach to Vinyasa Yoga. We believe that Yoga is for everyone.
We value the importance of practicing and teaching today so that we can do so tomorrow. Teaching Yoga is a karmic responsibility and teaching teachers is an equal or even greater responsibility. The power of the practice can bring great well-being and joy but can be equally harmful if misused or misdirected. Ultimately, we believe that yoga needs to be equitable and accessible to everyone. We are committed to preparing every student to embody and practice these values.
Founded by Sophie Simpson and Jake Miller, the Blue Banyan Yoga School Teacher Training program has been rooted in honoring authentic practice and tradition. Sophie began her teaching journey studying with Dana Trixie Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi at Laughing Lotus in New York City. Both Krishnamacharya and Desikachar’s work was honored in this teaching. Jake began his teaching career at Wake Up Yoga in Philadelphia with Corina Benner, who initially studied with Cyndi Lee at Om Yoga in New York.
While both have advanced their teaching through various modalities, they were both students in the early days of these influential East Coast studios that have helped inform Yoga study in this country. Sophie and Jake both modeled ongoing professional development for their students to do the same.
Today, the Blue Banyan Yoga School Teaching Training program has expanded to include teachers from a range of backgrounds who value the Blue Banyan style, including many adjunct teachers who offer expertise in physiology, meditation, equity and social justice and more.
We offer a Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training and a Yoga Immersion program. Each is crafted to empower, support and nurture students.
Students of both programs will cultivate an understanding of yoga on the mat as much as they too will explore what it means to live yoga off the mat.
Students will graduate prepared to teach an authentic Vinyasa yoga practice. As such, we offer a mulit-dimensional curriculum in the foundations of yoga. Our syllabus includes but is not limited to: Physical asana, ancient yogic texts & spiritual foundation, 8- Limbs of Yoga, Eastern Body, Deity Pantheon, foundational Sanskrit, applied and practical anatomy, mindfulness meditation, pedagogy, equity in yoga and wellness, the business of yoga and more. The experience is curated to be supportive with mentorship from experienced teachers as well as peer to peer collaboration. The program will conclude with a practical teaching and written exam. When all curriculum is completed and students receive passing exam scores, they will receive a 200-Hour Teaching Certificate from Blue Banyan Yoga Studio & School, which they will be able to use to obtain Yoga Alliance Certification.
*The program is designed to fit into the lives of our students. There will be a series of live and asynchronous sessions throughout a six-month period. See schedule below.
Yoga Immersion (YI) is intended for yoga practitioners who would like to deepen their personal practice and expand their understanding of the roots of yoga. YI students will participate in 10 select elements of the Teacher Training Curriculum. Dates are noted on the schedule below. Immersion is not a track to teacher certification, should you later choose to obtain your certification, you would be required to complete the full 200-hour curriculum.
IN PERSON LEARNING WEEKEND 1
– Live Learning In-person or Virtual
Friday, January 6th (evening)
Saturday, January 7th*
Sunday, January 8th
ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING WEEKS: SESSION 1
Monday, January 9
Monday, January 16
Wednesday, January 18 – Live Virtual Session
Monday, January 23
Wednesday, February 1- Live Virtual Session
Monday, January 30
Monday, February 6
IN PERSON LEARNING WEEKEND 2
– Live Learning In-person or Virtual
Saturday, February 11
Sunday, February 12
ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING WEEKS: SESSION 2
Monday, February 13
Monday, February 20
Wednesday, February 22 – Live Virtual Session
Monday, February 27
Monday, March 6
Wednesday, March 8 – Live Virtual Session
Monday, March 13
Monday, March 20
IN PERSON LEARNING WEEKEND THREE
– Live Learning In-person or Virtual
Saturday, March 25
Sunday, March 26, 2023
ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING WEEKS: SESSION 3
Monday, March 27
Monday, April 3
Wednesday, April 5 – Live Virtual Session
Monday, April 10
Monday, April 17
Wednesday, April 19 – Live Virtual Session
Monday, April 24
Monday, May 1
IN PERSON FINAL WEEKEND 4
– Live Learning In-person or Virtual
Saturday, May 6
Sunday, May 7
* All Yoga Immersion Program Dates TBD soon.
- Early Bird Discount – due on or before October 15, 2022: $2,800
- Standard Tuition : $3,000
- Payment Plan Tuition – as agreed upon with Blue Banyan: $3,300
- Standard Tuition – received after 10/15/22: $2,000
- Payment Plan Tuition – as agreed upon with Blue Banyan: $2,200
* A $200 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration. Once you submit your registration we will provide payment instructions.
Please use the link below to complete your registration form. Once your registration is complete, please use the payment button below to submit the $200 non-refundable deposit due at the time of registration.
*To receive the early-bird discount, your registration and deposit must be received by 10/30/22.
*Program registration closes on 12/1/22.
Meet The Instructors
Sophie Simpson – Co-Founder, Mentor and Guest Lecturer is the founder of Blue Banyan Yoga Studio and co-creator of Blue Banyan’s Yoga School. Having been raised in the Sufi Tradition, Sophie is inherently related to and inspired by Eastern philosophy and spirituality that lives in yoga; this inspiration is evident in her teaching. As a result, she has been devoted to the ancient study of yoga for over 23 years and is a master teacher, teaching group and individuals for over 19 years; she is considered particularly proficient in teaching the study and practice of Pranayama (breathwork). Early on, Sophie found her yoga home at Laughing Lotus in New York City where she learned under the inspiring tutelage of Jasmine Takeshi and Dana Flynn. As a teacher, Sophie is dedicated to finding the “Way-In” for each of her students, leading each student toward the transformative power of yoga. From 1999- 2009, Sophie studied Vedic Medicine and Astrology. This work, above all else, has influenced her 22-year mission-driven career towards greater health and well-being for all. Sophie is considered a master counselor in the field of Vedic Spiritual Science and uses this bio-individual approach in her yoga work as well. Sophie believes “Practice on the mat is the bridge to living Yoga off the mat’ embodying all 8 limbs in every day, manifest life. To this end, Sophie is always engaging in professional development through the study of the intersection of physiology and asana, the effects of yoga on autoimmune disease ayurvedic study, and much more. Currently, Sophie is completing her Board Certification as a Health and Wellness Counselor through the The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and will graduate in January 2023
Jake Miller – Co-Founder, Mentor and Guest Lecturer first encountered the practice of yoga as a student of theater and dance in 1997.
After several years of ‘dabbling’ and a few of serious study, he began teaching in the Vinyasa-style in 2004. In 2007 he completed his 250-hour Teacher Certification at Wake Up Yoga in Philadelphia. Continuing studies have included Sanskrit and Sound Yoga with Manorama of Sanskrit Studies, Living Tantra with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of the Himalayan Institute, and Thai Yoga Bodywork with Michael Buck of the Vedic Institute and Saul David Raye of Ritam Healing Arts. Jake is now co-director of Blue Banyan Yoga School and Studio.
Jenny Burkholder – Lead Teacher began practicing yoga in 2004, when she moved to Philadelphia.
In 2013, drawn to Blue Banyan Yoga’s emphasis on proper alignment and spiritual depth, she began practicing there, and in 2017, she completed her 500-hour teacher training with Sophie Simpson and Jake Miller. Outside of Blue Banyan, she is a full time writer whose work has appeared in various outlets. In 2016, she published a poetry chapbook titled Repaired (Finishing Line Press). In her classes, Jenny combines her knowledge of yoga with her love of imagery and metaphor. She hopes her devotion to yoga will inspire others to develop their own physical and spiritual practices.
Angella Irwin– Lead Teacher Angella Irwin began practicing yoga privately in 2003 as a way to stay active while traveling in countries where public exercise wasn’t easy for women.
Years later she was delighted to find the Blue Banyan community, and began to deepen her practice under the guidance of Sophie Simpson and Jake Miller. In 2017, she completed her 500-hour teacher training with Blue Banyan and has continued to learn through classes and workshops in restorative yoga and sound meditation, but primarily her growth stems from being an active practitioner and teacher. She is devoted to the concept of practice, and loves the constant work of surrendering to it.
Sarah Van Aken – Lead Teacher Sarah Van Aken took her first step toward yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute.
The deeply authentic and methodical practice of Hatha yoga opened a pathway to a lifelong connection to practice and an opening to a deeper connection to herself and community. Sarah is committed to holistic and inclusive yoga. Through this work she strives to create space for students to connect with themselves in new and unique ways that benefit their mind, body and spirit and enable a deeper connection to the world around them. Sarah completed her 200YTR at Blue Banyan Yoga School in 2016 and has gone on to become an Advanced I AM YOGA NIDRA(R) teacher. Other studies and certifications include Ancient Ayurvedic Spiritual Science, Kriya Yoga, Intuitive Energy Healing, and advanced meditation practices among others. Outside of teaching, Sarah is a consultant and coach supporting individuals and organizations through transformational growth.
What our Teachers Say
“They exemplify the right mix of the philosophic and spiritual underpinnings of yoga and the physical challenges of balance, strength and flexibility.” – Linda
“It felt natural and like I had actually learned what was being taught, rather than imitating or regurgitating it.” -Alyse
“I think there are far too few programs with such depth that allow for someone to leave knowing that they have at least a solid base. This program and subsequent teaching has helped me share my voice in other areas of my life much more easily, for which I am grateful.” – Carly
“I felt that the Blue Banyan philosophy and authenticity in practice was unparalleled. It’s an authentic training that looks at yoga as a holistic life practice. It’s rooted in a greater understanding of ancient yogic philosophy that gives context and a deeper training.” – Sarah
“This program was intense and well thought out. There was so much information presented in such a humble manner that the idea of remaining a student in order to become a successful teacher really rang true for me. My confidence in myself grew during the course of the program.” – Teresa