By Shabd Singh
From Sikhs and Seekers blog post
Go to Summer Solstice Sadhana. Seriously. Just do it. Go! That trip to the beach can wait.
Too expensive? Find a service scholarship. Bumps it down to 200 bucks for almost ten days of yoga and meditation in the savagely beautiful Jemez Mountains.
Okay, so you have to bring a tent, but there’s a tent set up crew to help you! It’s really dry, yeah…but there’s a constant supply of free watermelon! Free! Watermelon!
My pitch is done. But is all seriousness, Summer Solstice Sadhana is a highlight of my year. It is a needed break from the rush of the world. The air is pure, the yoga is hard, the devotion is palpable, and it never gets old.
I’ve attended every summer since 1999, when I was eleven. Growing up at solstice was interesting, but most fascinating to me was to see the group of people that would come, fall in love with the experience, and keep coming back. As someone who grew up in the community, I took this funny camp in the desert for granted. Yet I would watch people come to eat light food, practice yoga, practice white tantric yoga and bliss out. All the while being introduced to a very cool, very inclusive community.
Once I was about twenty, I started to get it. Day jobs, no matter how much you like them, can be rough! So can the day to day grind. Loss, failure, and all of the difficulties we face need a place and time for us to decompress and evaluate. After all, all of those negative experiences are opportunities to learn. For me, Summer Solstice has become a place to really process those things with old friends and new.
How did it all start? When Yogi Bhajan first began teaching spaced out hippies about yoga and meditation, at each summer solstice he would take them out into nature to meditate. My dad was at these. He has fine memories. Things changed when Hopi elders approached Yogi Bhajan. They showed him land in the Jemez and gave him the task of creating a space where people from all over the world could experience Unity in Spirit.
I’d say, so far so good. It’s really a special place. Sage brush dots the landscape and ponderosa line the expanse of the open land. Mountains are visible in all directions and the sky is just…bigger. Wispy clouds float in the impossible blue and the water—oh the water! It is from a deep well and every gulp is precious and sweet.
So come. Come and be. Wherever you are from. Come if you’ve never done yoga. Come if you’ve never met Sikhs. Come if you’re weirded out. Come if you’re ambivalent. Come, because it is worth it.
Photo Credit: Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa