Nicky Knoff ERYT500 – was born in 1938 to a Dutch father and an English mother. The family was living in Indonesia when the Japanese invaded at the start of WWII. Nicky was in a concentration camp from the age of 3 and a half years to nearly 8 years old.
The harsh experiences of the war forced Nicky to confront, at a very early age, the basic realities of life – what was important and what was not. Nicky learned that we all have an inner essence, that when stripped of the veneer of social conditioning, we are all essentially the same, but with conditioning we are capable of doing the most horrific acts.
Nicky’s approach to teaching yoga is to help her students challenge their social conditioning, to guide them towards revealing their own inner essence, so they may reach their full potential as human beings.
Nicky studied yoga from 1970 to 1974 in Tokyo, Japan with Bikram Chaudhury (before he was famous and before ‘Hot Yoga’). When travelling on holiday from Japan, Nicky discovered Iyengar Yoga and started studying with many Iyengar teachers all over the world, one of them being Martyn Jackson in Sydney, Australia.
From 1974 to 1984 Nicky taught yoga at the Crippled Children’s Society in New Zealand, spending 4 years in Dunedin and 6 years in Auckland. This experience led Nicky to specialise in Yoga Holistic Healing. In 1980, Nicky opened the first full-time yoga school in Auckland, the New Zealand School of Yoga.
In 1980, Nicky attended her first Vipassana Meditation Course with S.N. Goenka. Nicky attended many Vipassana 10-day silent retreats and also a 30-day retreat at Igatpuri, India in 1988.
In 1984 Nicky moved to Australia and opened the Queensland School of Yoga in Noosaville. In 1992 she moved to Cairns, and opened the Ashtanga Yoga Academy.
In 1989, Nicky went to Mysore, India to study with K. Pattabhi Jois, where she learned the first 3 Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. In 1991 she travelled to Maui, Hawaii to learn the 4th Series from Nancy Gilgoff and the other Ashtanga yogis there.
Nicky made many trips to Pune, India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta and Prashant and in 1992 was certificated as a Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
In 2000, Nicky moved to Colorado, USA where she opened the Academy of Yoga. For the next 4 years, Nicky attended classes at many yoga schools throughout the United States and also the Yoga Journal Estes Park Convention for 4 consecutive years, where she studied with many very experienced yoga teachers.
Nicky returned to Australia in 2004 and now runs teacher training courses, teaches workshops, intensives, private classes, and holistic healing nationally and internationally. Through Nicky’s passion for yoga, The Knoff Yoga System has evolved over 40 years and provides a unique program for better yoga practice and teaching.
James E. Bryan ERYT500 – was born in 1953 in Los Angeles, California, and immigrated with his family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1969. Nicky Knoff was James’ very first yoga teacher when he started classes at the New Zealand School of Yoga in 1982.
At the New Zealand School of Yoga James attended classes 3 times per week for the first 3 months, but then got the “yoga bug”, and attended 7 days per week for the next 4 years.
One of the teachers at the New Zealand School of Yoga travelled to the UK for an extended holiday and approached James to take over his classes. This was the beginning of James’ formal teacher training.
James taught yoga at the Auckland Crippled Children’s Society every Friday afternoon for 2 years. This was a wonderful learning experience and taught him how to adapt and modify the classical yoga postures to suit all body types.
In 1986 James attended a Teacher Training intensive at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, in Pune, India with B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar.
In the same year, James moved to Australia to join Nicky Knoff in setting up the Queensland School of Yoga in Noosaville.
In 1987 James attended his first Vipassana Meditation 10-day silent retreat, which was led by S.N. Goenka. James attended another 3 10-day silent retreats.
From 1982 James practised, studied and taught Iyengar Yoga and in 1988 was certificated as a Junior Iyengar Yoga Teacher. In 1989 James was certificated as an Intermediate Level III Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
In 1989 James travelled to Mysore, India to study Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with K. Pattabhi Jois, where he learned the first 3 Series. In 1991 he travelled to Hawaii to learn the 4th Series from Nancy Gilgoff at the House of Yoga and Zen, Haiku, Upcountry, Maui.
In 1992 James assisted Nicky with opening the Ashtanga Yoga Academy in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
In 2000, James moved with Nicky to Colorado, USA where they opened the Academy of Yoga. For the next 4 years, James explored many yoga schools throughout the United States and also attended the Yoga Journal Estes Park Convention for 4 consecutive years, where he studied with many famous yoga teachers.
James returned to Australia in 2004 and now runs teacher training courses, teaches workshops, intensives, private classes, and holistic healing nationally and internationally.
James’s approach to teaching is technical and he likes to share the how and why of doing postures so that students may develop a clear understanding. James says exercise and education go hand-in-hand. He is appreciated for his wit and humour and makes yoga fun. Together with Nicky he is co-founder of Knoff Yoga.