3HO Solstice Celebration Camps

June 1998
By a former member of 3HO--AKA Siri Scandal Singh, S.S.S.

3HO Foundation sponsors a Solstice celebration twice a year at the Solstice Equinox. Participants spend 10 days in the wilderness camping, usually 7-10 miles from the nearest town. Winter Solstice is held somewhere in central Florida and Summer Solstice in Espanola, New Mexico. The summer solstice is held on land that the 3HO Foundation purchased in 1976--located in the Jemez Mountains.

3HO literature will tell you that their programs are designed to--"Bring you to a new level of spiritual harmony, peace of mind, and dynamic health". This essentially follows their philosophy of being "happy, healthy and holy". Their literature also invites you to attend Solstice because--"You feel at home in a safe, nurturing environment". And that you can--"attune yourself to your highest potential and destiny". They also claim--"you will be with other spiritual beings and will find support and love for your inner work".


  1. Participants are largely isolated from the rest of the world and reality in a wilderness setting for ten days to two weeks. Within this controlled environment you are introduced to 3HO as a spiritual peer group.
  2. There is no media allowed, TVs, radios and no stimulants of any kind (including caffeine).
  3. Participants are fed two meals a day. The food is a special mono diet designed specifically for Solstice by Yogi Bhajan. The meals consist of potato soup in the morning with an orange and a banana. Dinner is beans with rice and a head of lettuce.
  4. Participants are asked to maintain silence with one another during Tantric (3 days).
  5. Wake-up chanting begins at 3:30 a.m.--followed by cold, communal showers each day.
  6. Participants begin daily exercise at 4:30 a.m. followed by chanting and singing until 7:30 each morning. More exercise is offered for another hour before food is served.
  7. Participants are asked to observe a dress code of wearing white cotton clothing during the Tantric Yoga course. A cotton head-covering is required every day.
  8. All classes and lectures are based on Yogi Bhajan's teachings exclusively. If a class format is not consistent with that requirement and another format is requested--it must be approved by 3HO. It also must compliment the 3HO lifestyle--or it will not be taught. For example; Kundalini yoga is THE ONLY YOGA allowed at any 3HO function; no Hatha Yoga, or any other styles are taught or promoted.
  9. Participants are required to do some kind of labor called "Karma Yoga". This might include cleaning toilets, child care, cooking, etc. It is a means of serving the group conscious and maintaining the camp site. No outsiders are allowed or hired to keep the camp running.
  10. Participants are asked not to leave the camp during the three days of Tantric.
  11. Participants are subjected to daily lectures by Yogi Bhajan. They are long, rambling complex text and at times are virtually incomprehensible and confusing. The 1998 3HO Solstice schedule shows that Yogi Bhajan's lectures start at 8 p.m.
  12. Unmarried couples may not share tents together (e.g. gay couples).
  13. If children attend--they are taken to separate camps for the entire day and separated from their parents. Their program includes arts & crafts--plus yoga and meditation. An occasional outing occurs according to the age group, but usually at extra cost to the parents. You are not invited to visit--because kids often want to leave with parents.

Does this seem somewhat like an environment that might promote brainwashing? Yogi Bhajan--Director of 3HO, Director of Spiritual Education states that it is your birthright to be "happy, healthy, and holy". He uses Solstice camps as the time for students to gather and learn his teachings. At this time they have the opportunity to learn his philosophy and techniques. Then--they can in turn, live up to their "birthright".


"Happy, healthy and holy" seems to be what[ever] Yogi Bhajan says it is. There is no collective of people, spiritual peers, that have met and come to a consensus--regarding what the "happy healthy, holy" lifestyle is. There is no board of directors that guides the group, no dignified, scholarly debates and certainly not shared decision making through voting. 3HO is what Yogi Bhajan says it is.

It seems there are no decisions within 3HO that occur without Yogi's blessing. He proclaims and determines what YOUR birthright lifestyle contains--you pick and choose from Yogi's menu. When you go to a Solstice, your "happy, healthy holy" environment is laid out for you--from 3:30 a.m. until Yogi Bhajan decides it's over that night. All things concerned are scheduled--except when the food will arrive and when Yogi Bhajan decides to actually show up (if at all) to a lecture. Long chanting sessions may go on while waiting for the next class, event, or arrival of Yogi Bhajan.

Solstice costs $380.00 for nine days of camping with two meals per day. That is about the cost of a local New Mexico motel room per day. However, there are many hidden costs such as donations of all sorts, children’s expenses, transportation, shopping at the Solstice open bazaars, healers, counselor's services and astrological readings. None of these supportive, nurturing events (so you can do your "inner work") are provided for free.

During the three days of video Tantric Yoga courses--you must sit all day on the concrete floor, under a tin shelter roof outside--in Tantric lines. You are told when you may get up, drink water and take bathroom breaks. No food is served during Tantric time--you are to meditate on an empty stomach. 3HO literature simply says--"Thousands of people have participated in this unique video course and found themselves profoundly changed by the experience". But typically you will find out the details when you get there.

3HO promises that after ten days in their camp--"you will emerge from Solstice transformed by the human group consciousness experience that has aided everyone to remove negative energy and habits". But why doesn’t Yogi Bhajan, his staff and entourage, stay at the solstice camp? He was instead given an expensive, furnished trailer many years ago--it seems he is "transformed" more comfortably. Yogi's staff and entourage, stay in Espanola, New Mexico at his estate, private homes, or a motel--with warm showers, and a pool.

If Solstice camp is so great, why does Yogi Bhajan and his entourage shuttle back and forth from the camp by Mercedes--only staying for a few hours a day? Why is special food provided for them such as exotic fruits--flown in just for Solstice? Why don’t they eat potato soup, oranges, bananas, beans, rice and lettuce like everyone else? Isn't that the way to "experience" Yogi Bhajan's teachings in a more natural environment?

Please investigate thoroughly, both 3HO and Yogi Bhajan--before committing yourself to ten days of controlled isolation, diet and devotion at the Solstice? Are there any "warning signs" evident that might indicate a potentially unsafe group? Think about it.

Copyright © 1998 by Rick Ross

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