Nicky Knoff

Nicky Knoff  first started yoga over 40 years ago in Japan with the then little known Bikram Chaudhury. Then on to Pune India to study with the Iyengar family including:, BKS Iyengar, Geeta and Prashant and with Martyn Jackson in Australia. Nicky also studied extensively with the master of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, the late K.Pattabhi Jois.

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For 10 years Nicky taught yoga at the Crippled Children’s Society in NZ Dunedin and Auckland This experience led Nicky to specialize in Yoga Therapy. In 1980, Nicky opened the first full-time yoga school in Auckland, the New Zealand School of Yoga.

In 1984 Nicky moved back to Australia and opened the Queensland School of Yoga in Noosaville. In 1992 she moved to Cairns, and opened the Ashtanga Yoga Academy.  In 2000, Nicky moved to Colorado, USA where she opened the Academy of Yoga.

Nicky returned to Australia in 2004 and is now based in Cairns, Far Queensland at the Knoff Yoga. Nicky and her husband James Bryan have refined the Knoff Yoga System with over 70 years of combined experience. Nicky runs teacher training courses, yoga workshops, private yoga classes, public classes and yoga therapy around Australia and in Taiwan. 

Checkout the for upcoming workshops around Australia, Bali, Taiwan and Austria.

“Good On Ya Bettina you are doing the yoga community a great service!  So much of the past history has been lost, Martyn Jackson for one ….


Show Notes

If you would rather download the show notes to read them on paper later, click on this link 004NickyKnoff_Show Notes

Otherwise please enjoy the show notes below.

Episode #004 Nicky Knoff

Website Link:


Author Jean Liedloff
Title/Link: The Continuum Concept
Author Georg Feuerstein
Title/Link: Yoga Philosophy & History Feuerstein.
Author B.K.S. Iyengar
Title/Link: Light On Yoga
Author Mel Robin
Title/Link: A Physiological handbook for Teachers of Yogasana
  1. When I was 13, my guardian Netty Kreveld, was practicing yoga.  Until I was 19, she was encouraging me to look into it.  My first yoga class was many years later October 1970 with Bikram Choudhury in Tokyo, Japan.
  2.  In the meantime, Netty had died of cancer and was managing her pain with yoga.  The doctors in the hospitals were impressed that she did not need pain medication.  I phoned her on my way to Tokyo and her last words to me were “Nicky practice yoga”.
  3.  Yes!  I have had many teachers, starting with Bikram, BKS Iyengar, Gita and Prashant Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Shivananda and Satyananda teachers, and others all over the world.
  4.  As my understanding increased I eventually formulated my own approach, which I call Knoff Yoga.  Basically it takes the anatomical alignment of Iyengar Yoga and combines it with the energetic principles of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
  5.  As my understanding has evolved over the years, so has my practice. When James and I were following the Iyengar system we used to practice up to 8 hours a day (asana, pranayama and meditation).  When we came across Ashtanga we were thrilled that it only took 4 hours.  I am now 73 years old and my focus has changed to more pranayama and meditation.  But as long as we have a body, it is critical to maintain a physical practice!
  6.  4: One of the things I appreciated about the system was that it was a set sequence.  You did not choose what to do that particular day – you follow the program!  So you learned the discipline.  I have incorporated a balanced practice into Knoff Yoga with our Principles of Sequencing – all of our 6 levels follow the same sequence.
  7.  I have learned over the years that we need to love all the yoga postures.  Just think of them as your family and share your love equally.  It is important to have a balanced practice and if you start having favourites and/or challenges, your practice will skew towards what you like doing and avoid what you don’t like doing.
  8.  In Knoff Yoga we have designed a system where all aspects of the 8 Limbs of Yoga are included.
  9.  The system has percentage of time that we practice each of the limbs, e.g.
    •  Meditation – 5%
    • Pranayama – 12%
    • Asana – 66%Ashtanga
    • Relaxation – 12%
    • Philosophy – 5 %
  10.   So regardless of whether you are practicing (or teaching) for an hour or 2 hours, you simply follow the percentages to ensure balance and long-term progression on this spiritual path.
  11.  Yoga is a process and it does take time and experience to gain an overview.  When I started many years ago, the emphasis was on asana, but as my knowledge grew, I realized the importance of incorporating all the limbs of yoga.
  12.  I feel it is vital as yoga teachers, that we give our students the big picture.  And that means we teach: asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy (yamas and niyamas) and relaxation.
  13.  In fact, I feel so strongly about including philosophy that we now have a special 52 week Yoga Philosophy theme which is taught at the end of every class.
  14.  My main teachers are Bikram, Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and S.N. Goenka.  Goenka is the Vipassana Meditation master.
  15.  I admired Bikram’s enthusiasm, Iyengar’s science and precision, Pattabhi’s smile, approachability and system, and Goenka’s ability to inspire his students to work with clarity.
  16.  With time and experience you realize that there are seasons with practice – spring when everything is new and fresh, summer when you are progressing strongly, autumn when things are plateau-ing, and winter when your practice stagnates and may even go backwards.  Of course, spring returns and the process starts all over again.
  17.  Having a program and systems goes a long way towards consistency.  If you wake up in the morning and then decide what you ‘feel’ like doing, you are not going to make much progress.
  18.  The practice of yoga should be no different from university or martial arts.  Follow the system and it carries you through.
  19.  There are some simple techniques to help you over the mental hurdle/resistance to practice.  One is to say to yourself, “I will practice the Sun Salutations and then see how it is going”.  Once you get moving you find you can do more!
  20.  Leading a yogic lifestyle goes a long way towards being enthusiastic to get on your mat!
  21.  Being a yogi, everything in my life is viewed through the prism of yoga.  I do not separate yoga from life.  The things I do in my life support my practice.
  22.  I love to walk in nature, swim in lakes and rivers, listen to uplifting music, read books, and share time with the people I love.
  23.  The essence of the Yamas and Niyamas is love and how to open your heart.  Each of them is simply a tool to help us lead a better life.  Do I prefer a hammer to a screwdriver?  You use the tool which is appropriate for the given situation.
  24.  The essence of my teaching is to pay attention.  We simply use the body, breath and mind to gain clarity – to cut through all the confusions that cloud our minds.
  25.  I love reading!  For yoga, I recommend specific books depending on where the students are in there practice.
  26.  My favourite music is classical, especially the Baroque period.  In my yoga school, we play Indian or New Age music before and after classes.  We do not play music during class as it pulls attention away from internalization.  The same applies for practice.
  27.  Practice so you teach from your personal experience.  Be kind and compassionate.  Remember as a yoga teacher, you are representing yoga and everything it stands for.
  28.  What keeps me coming back to practice is the physical and mental clarity it brings into my life.
  29.  With 70 years of combined practice, we now have established systems in Knoff Yoga that provide a framework and map for both our teachers and students. We still look for ways to improve what we do, but the main framework is well established.
  30.  We offer the most comprehensive Teacher Training program with 9 levels, so there is a clear path to follow, with on-going professional development.  I travel constantly both within Australia and overseas.  At the end of this month I am leading a yoga retreat in Bali and then go straight to Taiwan for a month of Teacher Training at the Intermediate level.
  31.  The recent film ‘Limitless’ was about a man who gained access to 100% of his ‘mind-power’ through drugs.  It made for an exciting story, but it clearly showed that we need to develop our mental and spiritual faculties simultaneously.  A super power without the wisdom to use it wisely will lead to suffering big-time!
  32. To wish that we were someone or something else, avoids being in the present moment and learning the lessons that ‘this’ life has to offer.


Q: Bettina asked: Who do you want to hear on YTP?

A: Nicky said “People whom I feel your audience would benefit from are”:

  • James Bryan – Cairns
  • Stephen Golding – Townsville
  • Mark Togni – Gold Coast
  • Santina Giardina- Chard – Gold Coast
  • Jean Headlore -
  • Vikki Parker – Gladstone
  • Joyce McDonagh – Cairns
  • Jacinta McBurney- Melbourne
  • Martha Goldman
  • Janka Aksamitova
  • Reg Whittome -
  • Christina Balabin,
  • Gabrielle Haslinger,
  • Nina Hakamines
  • Jon Anstey
  • Jackie Haward,
  • Jamie O’Loughlin
  • Linda Newman
  • Chanel Porter
  • Salena Govind
  • Penina Kensworthy – New Zealand

Nicky enjoys to listen to Baroque and Cassical music.

Nicky’s final message before singing off was “Now get on the mat and practice hard.”

Thank you for listening.

Please comment on the website or on our Facebook page.





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