NINA JOHNSON – Founder & Director
Nina Johnson was the founder and (after moving to India) Director Emeritus of the Himalayan Yoga Meditation Center, formerly called The Yoga Society. She taught classes at the Center for over 40 years. With the blessings of her guru H.H. Sri Swami Rama, and with her own natural compassion, determination and a practical, down-to-earth style, Nina also trained and initiated hundreds of us in the practice of hatha yoga and meditation.
Nina began studying yoga in 1965 at the downtown Milwaukee YWCA. When her teacher retired, Nina was chosen as her successor. In the spring of 1971 she met Swami Rama during one of his early visits to the US. Soon after their first meeting, Nina was initiated by Swami Rama who asked her to open a center for Himalayan yoga and meditation in Milwaukee. In 1971, Nina opened The Yoga Society of Milwaukee and began offering classes. In 1974, Swami Rama instructed Nina to begin giving mantras on his behalf.
Later in life, in early 2004, Nina moved to the village of Malethi in the Himalayan mountains in India fulfilling a life-long wish to live and practice meditation there. Malethi is the home of SRIVERM (Swami Rama Institute of Vocational Education and Research, Malehti), a project started by one of Nina’s teachers – Swami Hariharananda. Even though living many years in India, Nina returned to Milwaukee twice a year and continued to teach and initiate new students into the Himalayan yoga meditation tradition.
On July 2, 2020 at 10:03pm Nina passed away at the age of 95 in Malethi. Her body was cremated in a ceremony on the banks of a river outside her village. All of us are very grateful to have had her in our lives. Her life continues to be an inspiration to those who follow in her footsteps.
OM Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi