Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 16 October 2006.Phone: 407-331-4274
Siddha Yoga—IntroductionSiddha Yoga meditation is the spiritual path rooted in the timeless teachings of the Siddhas, the spiritual masters of India and is headed by Swami Gurumayi Chidvilasananda whom Swami Muktananda chose in 1982 as his successor. Siddha Yoga has been described as a combination of Kashmir Saivism and the "yoga-oriented guru-disciple movements of Hindu-based spirituality." Gurudev Siddha Peeth in Ganeshpuri, India, is the mother ashram where Bhagwan Nityananda, Baba Muktananda's Guru has asked him to settle and where Gurumayi was installed as the present Guru of the lineage. Gurumayi also resides in Shri Muktananda Ashram in South Fallsburg, New York State but continues to travel and to bring the teachings of Siddha Yoga to seekers around the world.
History of Siddha Yoga in OrlandoIn 1981 a Siddha Yoga devotee family by the name of Shrigar moved to Orlando and settled here. They had made contact in the following year with a couple of women devotees who had moved into the area as well. The Shrigar family invited the two women to their home for weekly chanting, and gradually over the next couple of years a few more followers of Siddha Yoga appeared in town and through word of mouth were invited to join the Shrigars for their weekly Satsang.
Demographics and ProgramsMost of the members of the Center are white, Anglo-Saxon, and middle class. They are comprised of families as well as single people, and the age range is from 2-70. There are a few Indians in the group, but they are very much a minority. The leadership of the Center consists of several rotating committees. These include a steering committee, a program committee, Seva heads, welcoming committee, hall monitor, sparkle committee, audio/visual committee, bookstore committee, Amrit committee, finance committee, Dakshina committee, and hall search committee. There are monthly steering and Seva meetings held at the center to discuss all pertinent issues regarding the operation of the Center.
Location and Physical Space of the CenterOver the past seven years the group has held several different locations. The first was a rented space near Winter Park City Hall, where programming was held every Sunday afternoon. The challenge of that rental arrangement was that everything had to be set up before the program and removed as soon as the program was over. After about a year, the group decided to rent a full-time space and found a location in Maitland where they were for another two years. That location had about 600 square feet. That small space at this location accommodated a special program when a group of priests who came into town for a weeklong vacation. During those few days the group had the largest program they have ever had when 38 people joined and participated in the ceremonies that were held there.
Center ActivitiesIt is evident from the programs provided by the Center that they are very well organized with great resources and guidance from the New York ashram. All the programs tend to have a good balance of spiritual teachings, chanting, contemplation and meditation. The Center boasts several sessions of Hatha Yoga instruction, taught by a teacher who is certified by the Siddha Yoga Foundation. The Gurugita Video Course was a recent program held over two months. Retreats and other contemplating experiences are also offered periodically. Members of the Center have periodically promoted introductory courses of the Siddha Yoga path in the community. On one occasion members visited a class at Rollins College and demonstrated the Siddha Yoga chanting practice to the students.
Further ReflectionsWhen one enters the hall one encounters the sacred space of the Center. It is extremely clean, it is quiet, the music is soothing, and most people report feeling very natural and comfortable there. In Gurumayi's words, the Center ought to be "simple and elegant." Indeed it is. Jesse Hanson notes that the center reflects the spirit and the environment of the mother ashram, Gurudev Siddha Peeth in Ganeshpuri, India and the Shri Muktananda Ashram in New York.
Activities and ScheduleWeekly Satsang program, Gurugita chant, and numerous special programs such as study groups, video programming, introductory programs, Intensive programs by audio and/or satellite, and retreats.