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About the school and teacher training:

The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute is one of the most prestigious and comprehensive yoga teacher training schools in the United States.  Directed by Beryl Bender Birch, internationally renowned yoga teacher and author, the school has been training yoga teachers since 1980, (see our list of graduates on this site) offering annual weeklong and weekend programs in the eight-limbed path of classical yoga.  The school derived it’s name from the Zen proverb which says “Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong,” and was founded by Beryl in 1975 in Winter Park, Colorado.

The original teacher certification format allowed students to sign up for weekend workshops, week long retreats at Omega Institute or Kripalu  Yoga Center, and vacation/trainings (Culebra, Mexico, Costa Rica, etc), as their schedules allowed, and gather hours toward certification at their convenience. In 2001 the curriculum was formalized into the 200/500 hour yoga teacher training certification courses, and an additional format offering one weekend per month over the course of a year was developed.  Both of these formats for training to be a certified yoga teacher or for individuals looking to deepen their personal practice are still offered by our school.

The Format:

There are basically two ways that a student may choose to complete a yoga teacher training certification program.

The first option is to enroll in a full inclusive 200/500 hour program at a number of our affiliate studios in MA, NY, CT, VT, ME, and TX.  Most of these programs meet one weekend per month – either for 8 months (the 200 hour program) or for 12 months (the 300 hour training).  The 2016-2017 300 hour training at Sruti Yoga Center in Great Barrington, MA has a slightly more condensed schedule and will meet for 8 weekends from September, 2106 through May, 2017 and will end with a weeklong training at Omega Institute at the end of June, 2017.

For those who cannot attend the weeklong training at Omega, there will be the option to take any of several “elective” weekends to complete the necessary hours, either at Sruti or any of our affiliate studios where we offer teacher training courses (Mindful Turtle in Setauket, NY; Yoga in ME in Eliot, ME; Heartsong Yoga in East Longmeadow, MA or the Open hand Institute in San Antonio, TX.

The second option is for a student to accrue hours at their convenience at approved week-long retreats and weekend workshops at places like Kripalu Yoga Center or Omega Institute or at the many yoga centers around the country (and internationally) where Beryl and her faculty teach programs.  A typical weeklong retreat offers approximately 50 hours toward certification and a weekend offers 15.  Click here for a full list of  intensive study opportunities and weeklong retreats (some are in exciting places like Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Berkshires in Massachusetts)

About our Director: Beryl Bender Birch

Beryl  is a renowned teacher, not only for her knowledge of classical yoga and her studies of the Yoga Sutra, but for her abilities to brilliantly and intuitively access a student’s weaknesses and misalignments, both physically and psychologically, and prescribe specific yoga practices for healing and growth.  Her down to earth, accessible style of teaching has made her a beloved and highly sought after teacher.  She pioneered the introduction of yoga into the athletic community in 1980, when she became the Wellness Director of the New York Road Runners Club.  She continued in that position until 2002, teaching yoga classes in New York City to over 100,000 students in that 22 year period of time.

Beryl coined the term “power yoga” and her Power Yoga classes in New York (and workshops all over the country) were the first and original “power” yoga program.  Based on the astanga sequences (Beryl’s personal practice since l979), Beryl adapted the power practice for athletes of all sports, ages, and abilities, which is one of the reasons the program rocketed to success.  Her first book, Power Yoga, was published in 1995 and sold nearly 300,000 copies.  She has since then written 3 more books, Beyond Power Yoga (the philosophy of the 8 limbed yoga path), Boomer Yoga (practice for aging athletes), and Yoga for Warriors (written for veterans and men and women in active duty military)