Faculty

The Hard & The Soft is a 500 Hour Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance and offers one of the most prestigious and comprehensive yoga teacher training programs in the United States. This training format is a great opportunity for those who have been looking for an outstanding non-residential program offered on weekends over the course of a year. After graduation from our program, teachers are certified through The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute and eligible for registry with Yoga Alliance.

Beryl Bender Birch, founder and director of The Hard & The Soft, Nancy Garnhart, co-owner and director of Yoga in ME, and other senior teachers from The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute will be teaching throughout the program. Each weekend's teacher will bring their wisdom, insight, and perspective so that the training will be rich with the collective experience of these seasoned teachers. 

Some of Our Teacher Training Staff:


Beryl Bender Birch has been teaching yoga and meditation for 40 years and is the author of four books on yoga, including the best selling Power Yoga.  Her latest book, Yoga for Warriors, was written for veterans and was just released by Sounds True Publishing.  It is already receiving great acclaim from military members.  Beryl is also the Director and Founder of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which supports yoga teachers in developing service projects in under-served areas of their communities.


Nancy Garnhart, E-RYT 500, first started practicing yoga in 1986 and did her first teacher training in 2005 with Mimi Loureiro and Maki Pombo at O2 Yoga where she had her first yoga teaching job. She began studying with Beryl Bender Birch in 2011. Nancy moved to South Berwick, Maine in 2013 and subsequently opened Yoga in ME in Eliot with her daughter, Lydia. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist in New Hampshire and Maine. When Nancy is not occupied with yoga or massage, she can be found walking in the woods, working on house renovations or growing and cooking her own food.


Nydia Tijerina Darby, MS, DPT, eRYT, is the director of Nydia’s Yoga Therapy Studio in San Antonio. Texas.  With advanced degrees in physical therapy, Nydia melds traditional western physical therapy practice with eastern hatha yoga practice to treat the “whole” person – mind, body, and spirit.  She is an ambassador for yoga therapy in the medical community and brings a variety of yoga practices into the integrative medical approach to wellness and healing.


Sheila Magalhaes, eRYT, is the owner/director of Heartsong Yoga Center – serving the East Longmeadow, MA community for over 20 years.  Sheila is also a certified Kripalu teacher (l993) and a YogaEd Tools for Teachers instructor, training classroom educators to share yoga with their students.  As an adjunct professor at Springfield College from 1994 to 2012,  she taught undergrad students and the diverse and multi-cultural “learners in later life” in their School of Human Services. She is a frequent guest speaker in corporate, school and civic settings.

Heartsong Yoga melds the various methods of the astanga and Kripalu yoga traditions and specializes in offering unique practices that serve the diverse local yoga community.   Mindfully blending the “hard and the soft,” Sheila encourages her students to infuse their practices with compassionate self awareness, acceptance, joy and ease, both on to the mat, and out in out in their lives.


Lori Klein, eRYT,  started practicing yoga in 1998 to ease a stressful pregnancy and started to transform her life. She began studying Power Yoga with Beryl Bender Birch a few years later and strongly connected to this vigorous yoga style that helped soothe the chaos of being home with two young children. The physical benefits of yoga were quickly evident. She lost her extra “baby” weight, her blood pressure stabilized, and recurrent migraines disappeared. The emotional benefits started with a sense of calm and continue to progress with practice. Lori uses the practice of yoga in all areas of her life. She works to be mindful and compassionate in raising two boys with her husband, Michael.

Lori is a 1000 hour graduate of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute and a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She works as executive assistant to The Hard & The Soft and Beryl. Lori enjoys traveling with Beryl and assisting during workshops and retreats. She enjoys teaching a Power Yoga practice and modifying her classes to be accessible to everyone.

In her spare time, Lori enjoys walking and hiking with her two dogs. She is seeking a Master’s in Public Health degree with a Nutrition specialty at West Chester University of PA.


Laura Berland, e-RYT 500, is the founder of Talking Yoga, a digital yoga education and service platform, sharing the wisdom of master teachers with students around the globe through questions and answers. Talking Yoga is a partner of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, and gives voice to the many yoga service projects that bring yoga to underserved communities.  Talking Yoga launches in January 2015 with Beryl as its co-host.

Laura began her ongoing studies with Beryl in 2004, and treasures the first entry in her notebook that says, “pay attention!”   She’s been working on that and embodying the eight-limbed path ever since.

In addition, Laura trained extensively with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, infusing Iyengar principles of alignment, sequencing, and restorative practices into her teaching. She is a 500 Hour graduate of the Yoga Shanti Teacher Training, and serves as a mentor to its new students.

Currently, Laura teaches at Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor, NY, and at Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness in Montauk and Stony Brook, NY.   She teaches the traditional ashtanga method, as well as vinyasa and beginner classes that emphasize breath and safe movement.

As a hyper-connected digital media professional since 1980, she adopted the tools of yoga early on to calm the mind and rediscover her inner self.   Laura draws on these many years of practice to help students press pause, step away from their weapons of mass distraction, tune into their breath, and learn to experience the joy of the present moment.


Suzanne Manafort, eRYT, is Director of Newington Yoga Center, Founder/Director of Mindful Yoga Therapy, and a board member of The Give Back Yoga Foundation. She has been practicing yoga since 1994 and studying with Beryl for 15 years. In 2007, Suzanne began her work with veterans as a volunteer for those struggling with post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Today, her programs for PTSD are used by 10,000 veterans and 47 VA hospitals nationwide. She is the co-author of Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, Practice Guide and has produced three breathing and meditation CDs.