Our purpose

The Movement Center, with its educational division, Nityananda Institute, is a center dedicated to spiritual practice in the tantric tradition. Founded by Swami Chetanananda in 1971, the Center is based in Portland, Oregon. We have satellite meditation groups in southern California, Boston, and Seattle.

The spiritual practice at The Movement Center focuses on the release of tension to increase the flow of creative energy in all dimensions of life and promote personal transformation. The basic technique we use is kundalini yoga, which harnesses the energy of the breath to activate the power of spirit within us. Through it we engage the process of growing.

Breaking down our own density, dissolving tensions, and allowing our creative energy to grow automatically brings growth. Growth is characterized by change, which affords us the opportunity for an expanded range of motion–physically, emotionally, intellectually, and energetically. Ultimately, it gives us access to the dimension of our existence that is conscious energy and in which all knowledge of past, present and future is inherent.
— Swami Chetanananda

Our spiritual lineage springs from Bhagavan Nityananda, a great mahasiddha who lived in Ganeshpuri, India, and his student, Swami Rudrananda (Rudi), one of the first Americans to bring eastern spirituality to this country. Swami Chetanananda is the current lineage holder and the spiritual director of The Movement Center.

Life in community is a traditional support for spiritual practice. The Movement Center community has lived and worked together for over 40 years, seeking to create an environment that is tolerant and flexible, where human diversity is appreciated, without losing its focus on spiritual development. There is a residential program in Portland as well as an extended community of students in America and around the world. The community includes people of all ages and from a variety of professions, cultural backgrounds and interests. It offers exposure to a diverse array of talents, interests, accomplishments and expertise—a mixture which enriches everyone.

Our Portland Center

The Movement Center was established by Swami Chetanananda in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1971, at the direction of his guru, Swami Rudrananda (Rudi). The Center moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1982. In 1993, the former Mann Home in Northeast Portland, Oregon became its new home. 

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The two principal highlights of the Portland center are the tributes to gurus in our lineage: Rudi’s shrine, located in the center courtyard behind the building, and the life-size statues of Bhagavan Nityananda and Rudi in the meditation hall. A statue of Shiva Nataraj presides over a fire pit on the front lawn, the site of many havans (fire pujas) conducted by Swamiji and Brahmin priests.

The building includes a beautiful meditation hall, yoga studios and classrooms, the Movement Center administrative offices, residents’ rooms and apartments, a large kitchen, and common living and dining areas. The garden areas around the building, including an organic vegetable garden, a cutting garden for flowers, and a small Zen garden, are lovingly maintained by members of our community.