By Paul Rowe
Ten years ago there weren’t any consistent yoga centers in the Mt. Airy area. Although there were a handful of wonderful teachers living in the area, they all traveled away from home to teach. Recognizing this, founder and director Sophie Simpson rose to the occasion for her community and started Blue Banyan Yoga studio.
No matter your age, skill level, or body type, Blue Banyan provides a full range of yoga classes suitable for all yoga lovers. Programs at Blue Banyan encompass all eight paths of yoga including Asana (posture work), Pranayama (breath work) and several different forms of meditation to heighten one’s focus, mental health, and sense of calm.
“We dive deeply into eastern and western anatomy as well as specifics of the potential of yoga to bring optimal health to all students,” Simpson said. “Our programs are highly challenging but deeply rewarding and transformative.”
The culture at Blue Banyan is both vibrant and low key. Blue Banyan accommodates people of all walks of life and skill levels, providing off-site instruction for individuals and groups of varying degrees of function and mobility. People with disabilities have much to gain from yoga, including enhanced self-esteem, increased range of motion through the whole body, and development of coordination and general physical awareness.
Blue Banyan offers three tracks of study, a 200-hour foundational teacher training course, and an advanced teacher training course, both officially certified by The National Yoga Alliance.
“Our community is extremely welcoming and non-competitive. Whether the class offered is an advanced level or a beginner’s level, the students are there to work on their own practice and to support others in their practice,” Simpson said.
Once a month, Sofi Milani offers a restorative practice on the last Saturday of every month. During these sessions, patrons surrender their bodies to the support of props including blankets, straps, and blocks.
“The body passively opens up, releasing muscle tension, joint compression, and encouraging efficient function of the inner workings of the body,” Simpson said. “Out restorative class encourages people to be rather than to do.”
In this fast-paced world of mass consumption and advanced technology, people often get so caught up in the doing that they forget about being. Blue Banyan Yoga reminds Philadelphia residents that sometimes it’s okay to simply be.