Nicole Duke has been active in physical fitness, yoga, and Pilates for over 20 years. As a former professional long-distance runner sponsored by Cliff Bar, she has traveled all over the United States competing in races and ultra marathons. Looking for a competitive edge that would improve her mental and physical fitness, she was turned on to Bikram Yoga. From her very first class, she recognized that yoga was much more than just physical conditioning, and she was determined to incorporate yoga into her training program. Without a Bikram studio in her hometown, Nicole was only able to practice when she traveled. She dreamed of building her own studio in the future.
Nicole is one of the first certified Pilates instructors in Santa Cruz County, California. She completed training through the PhysicalMind Institute in both Matwork and Apparatus. She began teaching both formats privately and in local gyms before opening her own studio, Balanced Body in 1999. As this business grew over the years, she expanded from a small location in Santa Cruz to a beautiful studio in Aptos.
For over 15 years Nicole has trained hundreds of clients and has inspired the growth of the Pilates fitness movement in Santa Cruz. Her work and education has helped heal injuries, change bodies and minds, and has supported new instructors on their path towards leadership.
In 2006 Nicole’s life changed forever with the birth of her daughter, Nina Grace. Nina’s presence inspired her to pursue her dream of opening her own hot yoga studio. Nicole holds the belief that you must let something go in order to make room for something better. With this in mind, Nicole sold Balanced Body to her dear friend and apprentice Summer Doty in 2008. Under Summer’s ownership, the studio was renamed Breathe Deeply and grew into an amazing sanctuary of all things Pilates.
After completing the vigorous and intense 9-week Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Palm Springs in 2009, Nicole returned to Aptos and founded Hot Yoga Aptos, opening its doors in August of 2010. Nicole has continued to travel and visit many teacher trainings to help lead and teach thousands of new yoga instructors. She has trained under some of the most knowledgeable and influential Bikram instructors in the world, and is forever grateful to the community for her success.
In a leap of faith, Nicole became one of the first Bikram Yoga studios to introduce Hot Pilates simultaneously. Within months of her success, hundreds of other Bikram studios across the country followed suit. Hot Yoga Aptos is now one of the most successful and innovative studios worldwide.
Nicole Duke is widely recognized as one of the most inspirational teachers you can find. She believes in the power of intention and following your dreams. Her mission is to inspire a thriving, body-positive army of students through hot yoga, Pilates, and positive thinking.