Frequently Asked Questions

Newcomers to SRF/Boston Center of SRF

Are these activities open to everybody or just for members? Do I need to sign up?

All are welcome - there are no requirements to attend any of our activities. You do not need to sign up or register for meditation services, one-day retreats, or any other regular activities. We occasionally hold special activities such as weekend retreats, where we do ask that participants register to attend.

Is there a minimum age limit?

To meditate in the chapel, you must be at least 14 years old. For those who are younger, we have rooms where one parent can stay with a child. We also provide a Sunday School program - please email bmg.of.srf@gmail.com if you are interested in enrolling your child. Exceptions may be made for those children who are very familiar with SRF meditation services and can sit still for the hour long meditation. Exceptions are made at the discretion of the Usher and Service Reader on duty.

Newcomers to Meditation

How much experience do I need to go to your meditations?

All are welcome. You do not need any background in meditation to attend any meditation services.

Which service should I attend first?

If you would like to start gradually, the Sunday reading service (11 a.m. to noon) includes shorter meditations that will help to prepare you for the longer (approx. 45 minute) meditations in the meditation services (Sunday 10 a.m. and Thursday 6:30 p.m.). The Sunday service also offers the best opportunity to meet and socialize with Boston Center members.

Meditation Services

What style of meditation do you teach? Do I need to bring a cushion or other materials?

We meditate with eyes closed, seated on chairs. There is no need to bring any accessories. Beginners are given basic instructions. Those interested in learning the additional techniques are encouraged to sign up for the SRF Lessons.

What is your schedule of meditation services?

An up-to-date calendar and regular service schedule are available in the Boston Center foyer and on our Web site.

Is there any charge for meditation services?

All activities are free. Because we are completely volunteer-supported, regular meditation services include an optional free will donation.

Is it okay to arrive after a service has started?

If you arrive late, you can still participate. You are welcome to meditate in the foyer or anterooms as directed by ushers. During appropriate periods (such as when a chant is being played), the ushers may seat you in the chapel. There is also a five minute break after the first hour so that anyone who has come late for the first hour can be seated inside the chapel. We encourage you to arrive on time – this will make meditation far easier!

What is considered appropriate attire?

We encourage those who attend SRF meetings to dress conservatively, as you generally would when attending a church or religious services. Please, no shorts, bathing suits, bare feet, etc. The chapel is kept slightly cool to encourage alertness. Meditation is done sitting on chairs, so it is not necessary to wear loose fitting or yoga clothes.

Are the meditations guided?

The service reader gives brief instructions at the start of each meditation service. After that, the meditation is silent.

How can I be informed if a service is cancelled due to weather?

Any cancellations will be posted on the home page of our Web site and will also be sent to our main mailing list and recorded on our voice mail, (617) 776-9664, at most 90 minutes before the service starts.

The Boston Center

How can I get to the Boston Center?

The Boston Center is accessible via Orange Line subway and bus. Please see the Directions page for more details.

Where can I find parking?

The Boston Center offers unmetered on-street parking. Please observe parking signs for allowed hours of parking.

Visiting from out of town

Are there any SRF groups in the area where I will be visiting?

We maintain a list of SRF meditation groups and circles in the New England area. Also, the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site, www.yogananda-srf.org, maintains a list of SRF meditation groups. If you do not find a group or circle close to you on either site we suggest you call Self-Realization Fellowship because not all circles and groups are listed on the Web sites.

Do you have accommodations or a guest house where visitors can stay?

The Boston Center is open only during meditation services, and there are no facilities for overnight guests. However, if you contact us before your visit, we will be glad to help you find accommodations.

Is there a list of the places in Boston where Paramahansa Yogananda lived?

Yes. We have compiled a guidebook to the places that were important in Paramahansaji’s life in Boston, called In the Footsteps of Paramahansa Yogananda. A printable version can be downloaded from the Web site and is also available in the foyer of the Boston Center.

Kriya Yoga

I have heard about Kriya Yoga and would like to learn more. Where can I find information?

If you are new to SRF, the place to start is to read Chapter 26 of Autobiography of a Yogi, in which Paramahansa Yogananda describes the history and purpose of Kriya Yoga. If you have further questions, please call Self-Realization Fellowship at (323) 225-2471 and a monastic will be happy to discuss them with you.

Communicating with the Boston Center

How can I be notified of schedules, announcements, and other information about the BMG?

We maintain several mailing lists. You can sign up for these online or by filling out a mailing list card in the foyer of the Boston Center. We encourage all members to join our main mailing list, bmg-announce, as this is the most efficient way to receive official communications.

What if I have more questions?

Please feel free to email us at bmg.of.srf@gmail.com or call (617) 776-9664.