Frank Dettloff – Volunteer Teacher and Board President

A student of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition since 1974, my practice of yoga is an attempt to structure my life on the core principles of yoga. This provides me with the philosophical and ethical guide posts on which I can build my life. Yoga means union, and it is a holistic system to develop and integrate the physical (hatha), social, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of my life.

I took my first yoga class in 1974 because as an athlete I had incurred many sports injuries over the years and I thought yoga could give me the tools to help improve my health and prevent future injury and pain, which proved true. Once I began studying yoga I realized that hatha yoga is only one of the eight rungs on the ladder of yoga as taught in this the Himalayan Yoga Tradition of Raja Yoga. Yoga is not a religion but it has a systematic approach to teaching meditation, really self study, that has led to my spiritual growth in a profound way. Yoga has helped my health, helped save and improve my marriage of 50 plus years, and has assisted me in becoming a more confident, decisive and generous businessman and teacher.

Jillian Holy-Skaja – Volunteer Teacher

Jillian Holy-Skaja became interested in Yoga in 2000 through an internship and restorative Yoga classes at a holistic health center for individuals living with HIV and AIDS in Chicago. After moving to Milwaukee in 2004, Jillian met Nina Johnson at The Yoga Society and had the opportunity to meet Swami Hari and Swami Veda when they visited and lectured at the center. During 6 months of travel to India in 2006, Jillian attended the 10-year Mahasamadhi (10-year anniversary of samadhi) of Swami Rama and spent time studying at the ashram Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama. She traveled around India, studied with the Krishnamacharya Yoga tradition, and spent time at the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Health Care Center. After her time in India, Jillian began teaching Yoga and was initiated by Nina Johnson in 2007. She returned to India in 2010 for Himalayan Yoga Teacher Training.

Jillian’s personal passion is to bring Yoga to various populations. She has taught Yoga in a variety of settings and worked with many individuals who might not normally have access to Yoga because of financial or physical limitations. Due to her interest in integrated and holistic medicine, she also brings Yoga, stress reduction and relaxation methods into traditional medical settings. She has taught classes at CORE/El Centro Natural Healing Center, The Yoga Society, Aurora Sinai Hospital, the Whitefish Bay Recreation Department, Chiropractic Care Center as well as various non-profit and health care organizations in Milwaukee. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Public Service with a specialization in Health Care Administration.

Bridget Reedy – Volunteer Teacher and Board Member

I began my study of yoga as a teenager when my uncle gave our family a set of old yoga philosophy books written by Yogi Ramacharaka. Always an avid reader, I devoured these books with intense interest. It all made sense to my inquisitive mind. I was inspired to learn more and began looking for a hatha yoga teacher.  (When the student is ready the teacher arrives. )

I found Yoga classes offered at the downtown YWCA and signed up. The teacher was Nina Johnson. I studied with her for about a year when she suggested that we should make it a point to hear Swami Rama lecture on meditation. My boyfriend and I started going regularly to hear this extraordinary Indian man give his fascinating classes on the science of yoga. At one of the classes he mentioned he was taking a group of his students on a spiritual journey to Northern India. So, of course, we decided to get married and go to India

I received my mantra initiation in Rishikesh India at the Kumbha Mela from Swamaji in 1974, not far from the sacred Ganges River.

We subsequently moved to rural NH as part of our joint dream to create a simple “Back to Nature Lifestyle”. Energized by our recent trip to India with Swami Rama and our newfound awareness of the benefits of the yogic lifestyle, we began teaching hatha yoga at the University of N.H. For many years we reached out to enthusiastic university students and teachers alike. 

As the demands of family life and the necessity of placing more energy on our career paths became more pressing, making time for teaching hatha yoga became harder to find. I continued to teach yoga classes at the annual Maine Healing Arts Festival for another decade.  But I eventually decided to take a break from teaching.

Even though I wasn’t teaching yoga classes, I continued to maintain a consistent hatha yoga practice (which I maintain to this day).  During this latter period, I chose to deepen my studies and went on another pilgrimage to India in 2008 to an ashram in Tamil Nadu, studying Sanskrit and chanting Sacred Mantras with other seekers at various Hindu temples.

The practice of Yoga Philosophy has always been a spiritually fulfilling aspect of my life, so naturally when I retired and moved back to Wisconsin, reconnecting to my early roots, (Himalayan Yoga and Meditation) I realized that I wanted to begin teaching  hatha yoga again, and to deeply connect in a meaningful way with other spiritual seekers, on this blissful path that is Yoga.

Anna Rychner – Volunteer Teacher

Anna Rychner RN, was initiated by Swami Rama in May, 1973 and was told by him that she should teach. In 1975, after a serious car accident, Swami Rama advised her to focus her practice on Joint and Gland Exercises to help heal from her injuries. After recovering, he encouraged her to make this the focus of her teaching. Since then, she has introduced these gentle yoga exercises and breathing practices to students in hospitals, cardiac rehab centers, mental health facilities and to residents in senior living centers. She enjoys teaching what she’s learned at HYM.

Susan Pack – Volunteer Teacher and Board Member

Susan Pack attended Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga in Milwaukee. She also happens to be a student from the very first graduating class. During her graduation trip to India, she was fortunate enough to get advanced training in Pune followed by a completion ceremony on the shores of Kanyakumari. Susan’s love about all things Indian came when she learned how to cook Indian food many years ago. She now combines her knowledge of Ayurveda with her cooking skills to show students not only the wonders of Ayurveda but also how to make delicious food Ayurvedically to nourish their bodies. Susan, a certified Ayurvedic Chef, is constantly reading, attending lectures and webinars to learn more about this 5,000-year-old healing system. She is also one of the founders of the statewide Ayurveda Association of Wisconsin.

Maya (JuLee) Vajgrt – Volunteer Teacher and Board Member

Maya began practicing Hatha Yoga around 1995. She holds a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Comparative Study of Religion. Her studies focused on Eastern philosophy and religions. Maya received initiation into the Himalayan Tradition from Swami Rama through Nina Johnson in June of 2011. She then began teaching at Himalayan Yoga & Meditation Milwaukee in the fall of 2013. She has completed Level II (400 hours) of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition – Teacher Training Program through The Meditation Center in Minneapolis. Maya joined the HYM Board of Directors in May, 2014. She was given her Sanskrit name by Pandit Dabral on September 25, 2022.

Wesley Van Linda – Volunteer Teacher and Board Treasurer

Wesley is a lifelong and devoted student of Swami Rama and has also studied with Swami Veda Bharati, Behram Guard (Iyengar yoga,) AG Mohan (vinyasa yoga,) Ganesh Mohan, MD (yoga therapy) and many, many other generous and gifted teachers in the Himalayan tradition. He began his meditation practice in 1970 and was initiated by Swami Rama in May of 1972. In 1973, at the request of Swami Rama he began teaching meditation and yoga and was a charter member of the Himalayan Institute Teacher’s Association. More recently, in 2015, Wesley completed a 700 hour course in Yoga Therapy taught by Ganesh Mohan, MD.

Over the years Wesley has taught classes in many areas of yoga and meditation including hatha yoga, meditation, philosophy  and stress management. He is a mentor in the AHYMS Teacher Training program and has a particular interest in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and yoga breathing practices.

In addition to teaching at Himalayan Yoga  & Meditation, Wesley teaches credited classes in meditation through the College of Health Science at UWM and co-teaches a class for veterans combining writing and relaxation practices in the UWM English department.

He serves on the board of the Swami Rama Society of the US and works with the Swami Rama Center in India on posthumously publishing the works of Swami Rama through HIHT Press (Lotus Press) and CD Baby.com.