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Summer Solstice 2012

Summer Solstice

By: Keya Nkonoki / July 23, 2012

We started the second posture. Something happened to me here.  I decided to listen to my teammate’s suggestion to be like a rock.  I could hear their voice telling me to  ”embrace the discomfort…”

GENERAL NOTE TO ALL: These are my personal struggles and triumphs that I am sharing in hopes to give insight on how to best prepare for the Kundalini Summer Solstice Adventure.  Each person experiences solstice differently.  Most are challenged.  ALL walk away DEEPLY INSPIRED!  

This is my 4th year attending Summer Solstice and each time, I have a different intention for being here.  One year it was all about clearing and releasing.  Another year I came to recharge.  This year I chose to come to solstice to connect…  deeper inside my own soul’s journey AND to connect with yogi friends from around the world.

I imagined myself walking around the bazaar (a popular marketplace where yogis shop, socialize and share) exchanging energy and forming professional alliances with like minds.  Our campsite provides a natural setting for organic connections to blossom…  but did the universe have something else in store for me this time?

MONDAY, JUNE 11th: PREPARING FOR THE ROAD TRIP to New Mexico

I had just finished teaching a powerful class series on The Quantum Technology of Sound and was starting to mentally prepare myself for solstice.  I had a few orders for herbs that needed to be filled prior to leaving.  After spending most of the day preparing detox kits to be mailed locally and to be transported with me to New Mexico, I needed a nap before packing up my camping gear.  I set my alarm clock for 1 hour, then fell asleep almost immediately.  I woke up to the sound of LOUD KNOCKING on my door as my body struggled to move from a heavy dream state.  Have you ever slept so hard that when you open your eyes, it takes a minute for it to register where the heck you are??  As I slowly became aware of my surroundings, ANOTHER LOUD KNOCK…

My brain fog lifts and I glance over at my clock, which reads 12:00am.  I OVERSLEPT!!! My RIDE was here at the door and the only thing I had packed for my trip to New Mexico was my herbal kits.  Sugar. Honey. Iced. Tea!!  I opened the door and tried to explain my situation.  Sensing my incoherent state, my road buddy immediately put me at ease – took a seat and watched, as I packed in a flurry.  Four apologies, two oversized camping bags and 45 minutes later – we were on the road!  Those close to me KNOW my struggle with TIME MANAGEMENT, and this was not the ideal start to my trip.

As we pulled into the gas station, I already had formed a list of things I forgot to pack: underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, snacks, flashlight, towel, wash cloth and a yoga mat.  I chuckled to myself: How does one forget to bring a YOGA MAT to a YOGA CAMPING RETREAT??? haha 🙂 All things considered, I felt relieved and grateful to be on the road to New Mexico… Ready or Not, HERE WE COME!!

 

DAY 1: TUESDAY, JUNE 12th:

12:45am:  My DRIVE BUDDY and I leave my home in LA.  After a 16 hour ride, including a few friendly stops on the road, we arrive at Ram Das Puri at 4:00pm.
We showed up exhausted and HUNGRY!  We were happy to find out that dinner would be served for SERVICE EXCHANGE WORKERS.  We quickly set up our tents, even though I was a little hesitant about the location for several reasons…  I felt it was too far away from the Tantric Shelter – where all the GOOD STUFF happens AND I wasn’t vibe-in with my surroundings.  Nothing personal – energy just didn’t feel right…  I pushed myself to stay there anyway – convinced that it would be all good.

So we finished setting up our tents and went down the hill to eat dinner.  I happened upon my SERVICE EXCHANGE TEAM – who were just about to go out on a tour of the camp in order to review our work responsibilities.  I was thinking I would have time to take a shower and get in a good nights sleep, before my first day of work with the TEAM the next morning.  Sadly, I was wrong… I started working after rushing to finish my food.  We worked for a couple of hours.  My manager was quick on her feet and you could tell her expectations were very high for the group.

I felt awkward sitting on the back of the truck with my team mates.  Who were these people?  Why did I sign up for this?  I was a bit skeptical of everyone and immediately feeling that familiar resistance I have against working in GROUPS…  Still I tried to stay optimistic, even though all I wanted to do was go lay down.  Orientation was over and I went back to my tent to finally get some rest after a long travel day… As I lay there, my mind started spinning:  Why didn’t I see all these rocks I sorely felt as I struggled to sleep?  And what was that LOUD NOISE?  Some type of power generator?  I tossed and turned the entire night.  Getting up once in the middle of the night to pee – only to remember that I had forgotten my flashlight at home.  I stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, finding solace momentarily in the gazillion twinkling stars in the night sky.

DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13th:

The next morning I did not wake up for sadhana.  I was tired, groggy and a little dehydrated…  I met my TEAM at 6:45am to start work.  I didn’t realize that we would be working the entire day.  6:45 to LUNCH BREAK, then after lunch to DINNER BREAK then after dinner to about 8 or 9.  I was still a little detached from the group and questioning my overall decision to come here.  It was like I was on the outside looking in – both within my SERVICE EXCHANGE group and with my fellow yogis.  None of my friends were here yet…  I even considered begging my boyfriend to drive from LA to pick me up and take me home.  Instead, I hung in there and managed to take a COLD SHOWER, wash my hair- PLUS MOVE MY TENT!

With the help of some of my teammates-I RELOCATED to a GREAT spot – just behind the Tantric Shelter.  This felt so much better energetically. The ground was soft and smooth.  No bumpy ROCKS to struggle with and no strange LOUD noises.  My neighbors were cool.  It was beginning to feel like COMMUNITY.  That night I slept like a baby.

DAY 3: THURSDAY, JUNE 14th:

I woke up at 2:40am to the sound of Guru Singh’s heartfelt morning wake up call “Rise up Rise Sweet Family dear…”  [http://youtu.be/Qf1GpYzAwRU]

I shot up in my tent, staring into the dark, hoping to catch a glimpse of Guru Singh and friends as they moved about.  During a previous year, I was lucky enough to see him singing, walking, and playing his guitar.  I was amazed at his speed and sure footing -with no flashlight.  ME ON THE OTHER HAND– I could barely make it to the bathroom without tripping up on something in the dark.  As I sat there listening to their voices rising and falling in the distance, tears of joy and deep gratitude started streaming down my face.  YES!  This is why I’m here!  I skipped the cold shower.  I don’t do cold showers in DESERT COLD EARLY MORNING temperatures.  I always do my COLD SHOWERS during the DESERT HOT temperatures when it feels refreshing.  It’s what I do every summer solstice I’ve ever attended.  Call me a cheat.  Call me weak. Call me a bad yogi.  I don’t care. There’s some things I just won’t do. LOL!

Sadhana was delicious!  I can’t tell you how happy I was to lay my mat down in the TANTRIC SHELTER alongside my fellow radiant yogis – all in alignment in the ambrosial hours.  We practiced together.  We chanted beautifully together.  I left there FLOATING ON A MANTRA CLOUD (heehee)

As I strolled across the campsite, I felt lucky to be a part of this community and to have access to these special tools for healing through mantra and sound.  Coincidentally this year’s THEME was the ETHER TATTVA and it tied right into all the research I’ve been doing on the POWER of SOUND for my workshops.  This has intuitively become my area of focus this year, both within my yoga classes and my personal practice.  It felt good to fall naturally in alignment with Yogi Bhajan’s process,  and to have more depth of understanding of this science of sound.

After grabbing a bite to eat, I met up with my Team… I was given a job to PAINT signs and we were having fun– laughing and getting to know each other as we worked… I was starting to bond with my team members in very special and unique ways.  I took my shower and got to bed early– looking forward to the next day.

DAY 4: FRIDAY, JUNE 15th:

After attending another beautiful sadhana, I ate breakfast of spicy onion potato soup w/ bananas.  Prior to our morning meeting, I spent some time journaling.  This was the first OFFICIAL DAY of solstice and there were many Karma Yogis who had arrived to assist our Team, including one of my friends.  I sat in the circle with my team- smiling, feeling good, and somewhat acclimatized to the intense weather conditions of Ram Das Puri.

My smile started to fade when I realized that the work run I had skipped the night before, ended up being long, difficult, and frustrating for my team mates.  I felt a twinge of guilt for not being there.  Like I had somehow let them down.

This kind of thing happens often when there is too much work and not enough bodies.  We were all here for different reasons, with the same goal of taking in the solstice experience (at a discounted price for our work exchange).  Some days we took on more than our share of work and had to sacrifice classes we wanted to attend or much needed downtime to rest and socialize with friends.

Some days we had to take much needed ME time, which would inevitably lead to comparison and resentment amongst the group.  Who was doing their fair share of work?  and who was not? Who was making the most sacrifices?  and who was making the least?  It was a tear your hair out – emotional game that we all found ourselves playing at some point.

Today it was my turn to be judged… Had I done my fair share of work the day prior to warrant me leaving my teammates holding the bag (literally)?  Of course I thought everyday there was too much work and not enough downtime – but hey that’s what I signed up for… right?  I’ve never liked this game, and today, I was not in the mood to play.  My mind created a perceived division between myself and the entire group.  I began to shut down…

Immediately after our team meeting, I attended a great yoga class featuring Yogi Bhajan on video, where he discussed the importance of OWNING YOUR WORTH, EMBRACING YOUR NOBILITY and NOT OVERWORKING.  He said we can get to this place by cultivating a relationship of deep TRUST in GOD (through daily sadhana).  With this level of trust, MOTHER NATURE creates natural rhythm and easy work flow.

This was my lesson… This was the common denominator.  As I was observing my mind and emotions suddenly become triggered during my team meeting, I realized that this behavior has come up many times in the past.  This class helped me see the connection between each situation.  I OVERWORK.  I build resentment towards everyone involved, when really it’s my own fault for not TRUSTING GOD to create a natural flow that doesn’t require so much effort.  Jeez, I thought I had already dealt with this issue.  I started this year taking things off my plate- only to pile it right back on…

Having an intention of making connections both personally and professionally here, how could I sign up for a SERVICE EXCHANGE that would suck up all of my time and energy?  Leaving me “a day late and a dollar short”, as my granny use to say:-)  Yet, these were my choices.  This was my decision and I was not a victim!

Even though I was in over my head, I decided to take every opportunity to laugh and stay light, while fulfilling my work obligations.  I would carry this lesson forward and be more conscious of my commitments and TIME MANAGEMENT.

Almost immediately my relations with my teammates improved!  Once we realized we were all in the same boat, we became very understanding and supportive of each others needs without judgment.

I went to sleep knowing that within this lifetime, I would develop this depth of TRUST in GOD that Yogi Bhajan spoke of.  In the meantime…

DAY 5: SATURDAY, June 16th:

On PEACE PRAYER DAY, I experienced MAJOR BREAKTHROUGHS!!!
This day started with a beautiful sadhana.  My team got all of our work done so that we could attend Gurmukh’s special class featuring Snatam Kaur.  This class was GREAT!  It was good to see Gurmukh after so long.  She came in like Mother Teresa, immediately taking us out of our comfort zone by insisting that everyone form a circle.  We practiced an intense kriya in a healing circle – full of love and compassion.  Gurmukh knows how to get you to open your heart, laugh, love and cry.  We all got to dance and play together!

During the second part of the program, Sat Siri spoke with us on the sacredness of our land and the importance of honoring Mother Earth.  I must admit that I almost skipped out on the PEACE WALK, as I had done the last few times attending solstice.

This year I felt strongly called to do it and it was the best decision I ever made!  I created a special flag for my son and my boyfriend, that captured our major goals.  During this walk we were supposed to decide what we would leave on this land.

I decided to leave behind my tendency to overwork and overall lack of trust.    I decided that my relationship would be a stepping stone to my highest self- my highest love.  I decided to release and let go of all of the things that no longer serve my highest good.  I decided to embrace my birthright to be happy, holy and healthy.  Sat Nam!!!

 

After doing this walk, I was deeply RESOLVED and HUMBLED.  The ENERGY was SUPER HIGH today and by the end of my work shift, I was physically EXHAUSTED, but spiritually charged.

 

DAY 6: SUNDAY, JUNE 17th:

Another beautiful Sadhana.  Amazing Musicians!! After meeting with my team, I took an incredible class where we did a freestyle dancing warmup, then sang one of my favorite mantras, “Ajai Alai” from the heart.   [http://youtu.be/fOU_mXWKzPs] This kriya made me SMILE from deep inside!

I also took a class on Love and Relationships with an amazing Sikh woman named Shakta.   I absolutely fell in love with her energy!  This class was so helpful and informative for my relationship!

Both of these transformational classes set the tone for a BLISS filled day.  It seemed we were all RIDING this beautiful solstice energy wave.  Yogis were chanting, dancing, and drumming together all throughout the campsite.  There was lots of laughter and watermelon eating LOL!   Both Saturday and Sunday felt like the PINNACLE of SOLSTICE and my HEART was WIDE OPEN!  If I were to go home tomorrow, I’d be fulfilled:-)

DAY 7: MONDAY, June 18th:

I took a class with Gurucharan and enjoyed learning about the power of Sodarschan Chakra Kriya.  I took notes on some key tips he shared in this class and plan to do this kriya for at least 90 days.

I took my teacher, Krishna’s class today and enjoyed seeing her shine!  It was a good class with PLAYFUL energy.  I cleaned up nicely for it- took a shower, washed my hair and was feeling sparkly.  After class we gave good hugs, then it was off to change my clothes and work the after dinner shift with my TEAM.

I was unable to get a signal on my cellphone to call anyone EXCEPT my boyfriend.  We got to chat at the end of each night about a multitude of delicious topics.  Tonight’s discussion was particularly supportive and comforting.  He was my only connection to the outside world and so we both FED off the details of each other’s day.  He enjoyed all my STRANGE SOLSTICE experiences and I enjoyed hearing about his adventures.  I went to bed with a smile on my face:-)

DAY 8: Tuesday, June 19th: 1st DAY of WHITE TANTRIC YOGA

Let me start off by saying that people hear the word “Tantric” and all sorts of images come to mind… HEY, IT’S NOT THAT TYPE OF PARTY!!!  “White Tantric” Yoga is a sacred science.  Many rows of yogis dressed in white clothing sit facing each other, while challenging themselves to hold eye contact, yoga posture, and/or chanting for anywhere from 31-62 mins- within a variety of yoga kriyas that span an 8 hour day.

First day of White Tantric Yoga:  After singing heartfelt praises at morning sadhana, I gazed upon the beautiful horizon, taking in the cool crisp air, while sipping a hot cup of Yogi Tea.  Today was my first day OFF from WORK since arriving at camp over a week ago,  and I was feeling LIGHT and FREE.  There was excitement in the air as yogis sought out their partners.  I spotted my partner in the distance and quickly gathered my things to join her and the rest of my teammates.  Though we were off from work, I sat alongside many of my teammates, laughing and cheerfully preparing ourselves for the day ahead.  Each of us had a different set of what I call TANTRIC ESSENTIALS to help us get through the day.  I had my homemade essential oils, lip balm, and water within arms reach.  One of my teammates had a special stash of DATES and FIGS.  Another had NOSE LUBE.  We all shared our goodies amongst the group.

After a short yoga warm up, it was time to get down to business!  My partner was STRONG and STEADY!  I moved around a lot, shifting from easy pose to straight legs for most of day.  Why was I so shifty?  Mostly because I was sitting on a blanket I didn’t need, putting a strain on my knees.  In previous years, I had always needed a blanket to achieve comfortable alignment, but this was not the case now.

The first kriya was hard for me, targeting my weak shoulder heads.  I KEPT UP- squirmed a lot, took my arms above my head, but never down. My partner HELD me up strong in this position.  When I say HELD me up – I don’t mean literally.  Her energy was so solid that it kept me from putting my arms down. We bonded during our tantric session.  She is an awesome, inspiring woman/mother who I want to stay connected to once we are back in Cali!  I felt beautiful and radiant the entire day.  I had on my prettiest white and we laughed so much in our group!  The day was FUN, LIGHT, and EASY!

DAY 9: WEDNESDAY JUNE 20th:  2nd DAY of WHITE TANTRIC YOGA:

Today was POWERFUL and INTENSE!  Right from the beginning, I woke up feeling really tired and exhausted.  I attended group sadhana in hopes of shaking this feeling of heaviness.  I could already tell this day was gonna be drastically different, and I wasn’t looking forward to it.  I have a new partner today,  a friend who did teacher’s training with me, so we have history…

Our first kriya was pretty easy.  My knees started aching again (I still hadn’t figured out about the blanket yet:-) and I immediately shifted position.  I could feel my partner struggling to hold the posture, but she made it through to the end.  I gave her a knee massage to help her to relax during our break.

We started the second posture. Something happened to me here.  I decided to listen to my teammate’s suggestion to be like a rock.  I could hear their voice telling me to  ”embrace the discomfort…” About three minutes into this 62 minute posture, I was already feeling the heat.  l knew that I had to call on something beyond myself or there would be NO WAY I would survive this kriya without moving.

My hands cupped my ears, forcing me to HEAR my OWN VOICE- LOUD AND CLEARLY!  This was extremely helpful.  It reminded me of the workshop I had previously taught, back in LA on the POWER OF SOUND.  The firmer I pressed my hands on my ears the more clearly I heard my own voice.  The more clearly I heard my own voice – the stronger I felt- the closer I felt to God.

I knew that I had tapped into my key to surviving this kriya.  I began to ask for Guru’s Grace… that my arms and legs would fall asleep.  I wanted to be firm and strong in the kriya with very little effort.  Very little DOING.  Just allowing and trusting God to support me in the posture.  I remained steady and firm.  I heard the voice of one of my teacher trainers telling me that she felt my gift to our training group was my ability to stay ANCHORED like a ROCK.  I saw myself as a ROCK.

Then my mind really went there: I saw Jesus on the cross and thought this must be how he survived that experience.  I saw Neo from the Matrix dying and then rising up with a new strength to effortlessly overcome his challenges.  I felt that I could rise above this posture.  The more my mind pressed me to flinch– the louder I chanted until I was screaming out the mantra – from my heart.  This granted me the grace I longed for, my arms and legs began to numb.

I embraced it all and kept up, holding the posture without moving.  Wow!  What a challenge!  Some of my teammates observed the whole thing and told me how inspired…  I was at first stunned… and floating somewhere in space with my arms still suspended.  It took me a moment to start speaking.  I cried with my partner, as we discussed the magic of the moment.

Immediately after this intense kriya, it was time for me to go on my WORK RUN with my Team.  I worked enthusiastically – still feeling high.

By the time I finished work and sat down with my partner for the 3rd meditation of the day– I was completely exhausted!  I kept falling asleep and my partner was also sleepy.  I could feel her efforts to try to hold me up, even though she was also tired.  This frustrated me.  I wanted us to try to meet each other half way.  This was a struggle…

At the end of the meditation, I was so tired that I went back to my tent to lay down. I believe I was suffering from heat exhaustion, because I felt dizzy and light headed.  I could not go back and finish the last white tantric exercise with my partner.  My body would not allow it.  I lay there unable to move. crying. angry. guilted. How could I go from such a high space to such a low space so quickly?  Too much work.  Not enough trust.  I knew then, I would not do white tantric the next day.  I needed a day to myself to process all of this energy. To truly start to digest the breakthrough that happened in that 62 minute kriya.  Things were moving too fast.  And there wasn’t enough space to BREATHE…

After laying in my tent for 3 hours, I forced myself to get up to go WORK my shift as a part of my SERVICE EXCHANGE obligation.  I was delirious and exhausted, but I chanted my way through it.  I told my teammates I would not be joining them for the final day of white tantric. That night I slept straight through the night.  I could hear our morning chants, but I stayed tucked away under the heavy blanket of sleep…

DAY 10: THURSDAY, JUNE 21st:

I woke up the next morning irritated with the entire camp.  This was my wall.  I was frantic to escape from the ISLAND. (LOST)  So, I played hooky from White Tantric and hitched a ride down the hill.   I almost never go near a Walmart when at home in LA – but today – Walmart felt like WHOLE FOODS!  I’ve never been so excited to buy groceries!  I went on a shopping spree for GREENS and NUTS and FRUIT!  I was so STARVED for GREENS.  I didn’t even realize it until I saw them laying in the store so fresh and dewy.  GREEN JUICE, DARK GREEN SALAD and AVOCADO are my staple foods at home, and I had gone almost 10 days without.

I couldn’t fill up my cart fast enough.  I walked out of Walmart with three bags of food and the biggest smile on my face!  Then it dawned on me- that I still had know idea where I was going…  How was I going to spend my day off?  Where would I prepare my greens?  I spotted a park bench under a big TREE next to the parking lot.  I walked over and set up shop.

I chopped up my greens with my hands.  Spooned out my avocado.  Generously sprinkled in my nuts and massaged it all together with sesame oil, fresh lemon juice and sea salt.  I ate this collard green/kale salad slowly and deliberately.  Savoring each flavor.  I bought two corn on the cobbs and ate them RAW with a little sea salt.  This meal tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten!

Though we had three deliciously nutritious vegan meals a day during solstice – it did not include the essential GREENS for nourishing my body – and I was starved.  You would think that I’d have gone on a binge for candy and carbs.  But all my body CRAVED was those KALE and COLLARD GREENS!  And I had enough leftover for at least three meals.

After sitting for a few moments, taking in the sunshine and enjoying my new freedom on the park bench at Walmart, I decided to call my boyfriend and let him know I went AWOL for the day (haha!) He was totally supportive, stepped in and took charge of the whole situation.  He reserved me a hotel nearby, then called me a cab.

I walked into my hotel room, put down my grocery bags and just lay across the bed in deep gratitude.  After a few moments, I discovered that there was fresh lavender growing right outside my hotel window.  I ran a hot bath and must have soaked for 2 hours to get all the dirt from under my finger and toenails.

After settling in, my boyfriend helped me make arrangements to get on a flight home VS. driving 16 hours as planned… He is my HERO!… So thoughtful and supportive of my situation.  It was exactly what I needed!  This simple hotel room felt like a LUXURY RESORT.  I spent the entire afternoon lounging around, journaling and eating YUMMY GREENS!  so so grateful:-)

DAY 11: FRIDAY JUNE 22nd:

My teammates called me first thing in the morning, worried because I had not come back to camp.  In my mad rush to get off the island, I had forgotten to get phone numbers to call folks and let them know that I was okay.  Luckily, they were able to track down my cellphone number.

One of my teammates came to pick me up and I fed her a yummy GREEN salad.  She took a bath and went for a swim before we headed back up the hill to the campsite. All that food I brought at Walmart went to good use!  My teammates enjoyed all the good SNACKS and we chomped on that food the whole day.  I skipped most of the classes for this day, but completed my WORK schedule with my TEAM.  I was looking forward to catching that flight home the next day…

DAY 12: SATURDAY June 23rd: 

I woke up tired and groggy.  Packed up my tent, threw away a lot of things, and consolidated my luggage. I walked over to help out my teammates for my last few hours of work, before getting on the shuttle to Albuquerque to take my flight back to LA.  – I was in the homestretch now!

After completing my SERVICE EXCHANGE obligations and commitment to my team, it was time to go!   I hugged everyone, and even though I had formed very special bonds here, I was sooooooo READY to LEAVE!  My body, mind, and spirit had been stretched in more ways than one, and I needed some serious recovery time.

I met a lovely woman from Vancouver on the shuttle ride to the airport.  We talked for most of the ride.  We shared stories and felt inspired by each other.  I hope to visit her in Vancouver one day soon.

Once at the airport, I noticed that the airplane was the tiniest I’ve ever seen!  But still I eagerly boarded and watched New Mexico get smaller and smaller as we climbed higher and higher.  It was a smooth ride home and I returned to LA a changed woman.

I knew it would take many months for me to process all of what happened on top of that mountain.  There are things that I will do differently next time for sure
-but as challenging as it was- it forced me to face and embrace my own STUFF!

GENERAL NOTE TO ALL:

I repeat, these are my personal struggles and triumphs that I am sharing in hopes to give insight on how to best prepare for the Kundalini Summer Solstice Adventure.  Each person experiences solstice differently.  Most are challenged.  ALL walk away DEEPLY INSPIRED!

Please be completely honest with yourself when embarking on this journey.  Allow time for good preparation.  Organize your schedule and commitments wisely allowing for sufficient downtime.  Most of all Have the COURAGE to do at least one thing each year that takes you completely OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!  Whether it be summer solstice or some other spiritual journey.  This will empower you and humble you all at the same time.  Peace. love and light, keya:-)

KEYA’s SUMMER SOLSTICE SURVIVAL GUIDE:

GENERAL NOTE: After attending four summer solstice’s, I have put together this simple guide with my personal views on what to consider when planning for this event.  These are only suggestions and should be viewed as such.  I am not an authority and have no affiliation with this event, other than my attendance as a participant.

If you are considering going to Summer Solstice 2013, start preparing now!

  • Go to 3ho.org and read everything you can find on Summer Solstice.
  • If you can pay the full price or qualify for financial aid, I highly recommend this option.  Especially if it is your first time going, because the SERVICE EXCHANGE option can be challenging… depending on which one you choose.
  • If it is your first time going to Solstice AND/OR on a camping trip in the DRY DESERT MOUNTAINS, consider staying for 3-5 days instead of attending the entire event.  Peace Prayer Day is a fun day to arrive then stay through 1-2 sessions of White Tantric Yoga.  Some also like to just show up for the 3 days of White Tantric.  (only choose this option if you have done White Tantric Yoga in the past.)
  • Whether you fly in to Albuquerque or drive, try to have access to a car that you can use to drive off the campsite at least once or twice.  You may want to pick up snacks or food from the local grocery store.  You may need one night’s stay off the campsite to give yourself a little pampering and TLC.  It’s nothing worse, than feeling TRAPPED somewhere you’ve never been.
  • Be sure to pack sufficient clothing for both HOT and COLD temperatures.
  • Be sure you have a good sturdy tent, and choose your camping location very wisely and carefully (all things considered)
  • STAY HYDRATED — CONSTANTLY drinking close to 1 gallon of water per day (The campsite has a great, natural source for water – all you need is a portable container to refill)
  • STAY LUBED:  The sun is intense.  USE your SPF of choice – whether natural or artificial.  Bring a small bottle of olive oil or coconut oil, along with a small bottle of lavendar essential oil  (or your essential oil of choice).

You will need to hose your nose and face with water at least 2 or 3 times a day because of the WINDY, DUSTY conditions.  Once sufficiently clean, thoroughly oil your nostrils, so that you do not get nosebleeds and blistering from the DRY DUSTY DESERT conditions.

  • It’s very important to stay well oiled and sun-protected as well as HYDRATED here to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration.  All it takes is a few hours out in the sun without your essentials for you to start feeling the effects.  You will be breathing in DRY DUSTY AIR all throughout the day.
  • You may be asking yourself, why would someone subject themselves to such conditions?  2500 participants attended solstice in 2012 from all over the world because of the SPIRITUAL ENERGY FIELD that has been cultivated on this sacred land.  This level of connection comes at a small price.  Your willingness to step into the FIRE so you can rise out of the ASH into your GREATNESS.  Are there other ways to accomplish this goal?  YES.  So you decide without judgement…
  • ON your first day at the campsite, go exploring and find the NAPPING TENT which tends to stay very COOL and quiet.  Then look for the TENT where they wash and massage your feet by DONATION.  These two tents will feel like an oasis on those HOT DRY DAYS when you are having a hard time keeping cool.
  • PLEASE pack as many snacks in tupperware ,leaving as much packaging as you can at home, as this is a ZERO WASTE EVENT.   Bring natural Vitamin C -Electrolyte powder.  Super GREEN powders that mix well in water, and your favorite dried nuts, fruits, and nut butters.  The kitchen will allow you space to store your own FRESH RAW FRUITS and VEGGIES that you may need- to complement the solstice diet.  There is a food bazaar that provides lots of goodies ,and you are served 3 vegan meals per day – but only you know what YOU NEED for your body to feel optimum.
  • PLAN sufficient prep time for traveling to solstice and give yourself at least 3-5 days OFF POST SOLSTICE in order to rest, process, and pamper yourself.  SOLSTICE can stretch your mind, body, and spirit.  This can feel like growing pains.  Allow yourself time and space to process.  VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Journal your experiences each day – beginning before you leave- by setting your intention for going.  Continue while you are there and once you return home as well.  You will appreciate this when you look back and see where you started- and where you ended.
  • When you first arrive at solstice, it may take you a few days to get comfortable with your surroundings.  Sometimes there is a knee-jerk reaction to want to LEAVE.  Hold the space.  Stay steady.  Give yourself sufficient time to adjust before making a snap decision.  Sometimes, the solution may be as simple as moving your tent to a different location.
  • If you can plan to come with a friend or two, this really helps.  It’s not necessary, but for first timers, it is really helpful to have a friend nearby who has gone before.
  • Create a schedule for yourself that makes sense for your body.  There will be lots of classes and workshops to attend starting from sadhana at 3am to the end of the day at 10pm.  You do not need to attend everything on the schedule.  To prevent burnout, choose the classes that interest you most and allow for sufficient rest periods in between.  Listen to your Body!
  • ***SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS****If you are thinking of bringing your SMALL CHILD (newborn – 10 years) to camp with YOU and NO ADDITIONAL ADULT to watch them, BEWARE.  Though there are lots of support systems in place for parent with child, i.e: nursing tent, toddler camp,  and children’s camp, you still NEED someone else there support.  I attended solstice ALONE for the first time almost 8 years ago, when my son was 16 months old.  He had a GREAT TIME.  I was MISERABLE!  I missed most of the workshops/ yoga and most of the morning sadhanas.  It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.  So much so, that he is 9 years-old and I still haven’t brought him back with me.  I will bring him along when: A. He is old enough to watch himself OR B. I have 1 or 2 FAMILY members who have agreed to help me with him.  This may sound funny, but think about it.  There is so much that happens at solstice.  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually you are CHALLENGED.  This is a good thing… but do you really want to be 24-hr RESPONSIBLE for another person, in the amidst of your own STUFF?  Some manage it well and I applaud their efforts.  MOST have a really TOUGH TIME without the proper support.  You will be advised and encouraged by others to bring your child.  UNLESS they are offering to HELP you, I recommend thinking this over very carefully.
  • GREAT THINGS to HAVE on HAND: warm socks, the flashlight that you can wear around your head like a head band, mountain boots, sneakers, rain boots, sun hats, shower shoes, SNACKS, natural bug repellent (Citronella oil), tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, clothing for hot weather, cold (warm coat), along with your prettiest whites and mixed casuals.  Bring an extra yoga mat (someone will need one) Bring an extra bowl and spoon set (someone will forget) Don’t forget your journal!

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