Satya Dharma Retreat FAQ

What should I bring?

The Third Pillar retreat is a 6-week intensive experience and it isn’t often possible to shop outside of grocery shopping. It is recommended that you bring all the essential items you will need (Recommendations below.) Amazon does make deliveries here (see below) and many of the food shops stock other non-food items. 

Please bring your own personal toiletries, including soap and shampoo, bathrobe, slippers, alarm clock, umbrella, flashlight, clothing suitable for the time of year, sunscreen, as well as whatever you need for personal or medical or health concerns.

Where do I shop?

Reno and Carson City

There are many shops and grocery stores in Reno or Carson, including Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.

It is the participant’s responsibility to make their own arrangements for shopping trips. We recommend you arrange these in groups to share the cost. It is usually possible to share transport with residents who have cars and are themselves needing to shop.

Washoe Valley

Within walking distance from Satya Mandir and New Dharma houses:

Dollar General

General store with some grocery items.

The Camp Grill

Restaurant that serves lunch and dinner.

Anneke Schat’s Coffee & Pastry

Coffee Cart with pastries and some savory items for sale.

Heartfelt Home Sourdough Bread

Home bakery which sells bread and cookies.

What is the weather like?

Washoe Valley Annual Climate. (Based on the 30-year average).

The average lowest temperature is in January at 23F/-5C (at night) and the average high is in July at 90F/32C.

About 30 days a year the temperature is above 90F/32C usually around the month of July. The average days of sunshine are 251.

In the summer months it can be cold at night: as low as 56F/13C in July, and much colder at other times during the year.

Washoe has an average of 135 days when the night time temperature falls below freezing from October to May. The majority of freezing days are from November to March.
Humidity is very low in Washoe Valley, so low that the dry air may be uncomfortable for some people. There are few days during the year when the humidity is even noticeable. This dry climate can lead to cracked, itchy skin and dry eyes.
The average annual rainfall in Washoe is 10”/25cm. By comparison the UK has between 31”/80cm and 55”/140cm per year and Sweden between 20”/50cm and 31”/80cm per year.

December is the wettest month in Washoe Valley, with 1.4 inches of rain, and the driest month is July with 0.3 inches. The wettest season is Spring with 44% of the yearly precipitation; 11% occurs in Autumn, which is the driest season.

Check the weather for yourself and pack clothing appropriately.

AccuWeather Link

What about Nevada allergies?

Nevada is known, at least to people who live there, as a state for allergies. The dry, hot, and windy climate offers ideal conditions for plants to produce and spread pollen through the air.

The Nevada allergy season is about half the year, in spring and fall, and can be particularly miserable if you have tree or weed allergies. The allergy season starts in February, takes a break in July, starts again near the end of August, and ends in the winter months. The worst months for allergies are March, April, May, and September.

Should I be concerned about the altitude?

Some people can be sensitive to changes in altitude. Washoe Valley is situated at around 5,100 feet (1,555 meters). If you are coming from lower altitudes around sea level you might experience mild fatigue from the increase in altitude and reduction in oxygen and air pressure. It takes several days for your body to fully adjust to this.

Mount Rose is a close and popular destination for excursions. The road ascends to 8,911 feet and the summit of the mountain stands at 10,779 feet. The threshold for altitude sickness is considered to be 8,000 feet, at which the amount of oxygen in the air becomes very low. If you are thinking of planning an excursion please be sure you are acting responsibly and are aware of the risks. This is more important if you have or may have any pre-existing health conditions, known or unknown.




The risk of sunburn is higher due to the higher altitude and can be more severe than at lower altitudes, during the summer months. Please pack protection accordingly, such as sunscreen, hats, clothing to cover your skin and keep you cool.

What do I wear?


Bring clothing suitable for cold weather such as base layers, thermal underwear, quilted coats with hood, waterproof coats, hats, scarves, gloves, waterproof footwear, winter socks.

The winter weather can be wet with snow and muddy sand. You will be walking on some sandy tracks and paths to get to the Satya Mandir several times a day; good quality, warm, waterproof footwear is recommended.


Summers in Washoe are hot and dry during the day with temperatures dropping at night. Pack clothing suitable for hot weather and layers to keep warm in the early mornings and evenings and inside the Satya Mandir, where temperatures can be cooler. Also bring hats, sunglasses and sun protection to shield you from the sun. 

What else should I pack?
Adaptor/converter.Travelers from Europe, UK and Australia will need a plug adapter. Use it to plug in one device, or a small power strip with multiple plugs for multiple electronics and other devices, such as a battery charger or electric toothbrush.
Headlamp and/or flashlight.It will be dark for the walk to the morning and evening meditations, it is recommended you bring a flashlight/torch so you can be seen on the roads and see where you are walking along the track to the Satya Mandir. 
Extra batteries and/or chargers for rechargeable batteries
Rain protection. Pack a small umbrella or rain parka. An umbrella can also be used for sun protection while walking.
Daypack. Good for short excursions, as a purse, or for groceries.
Water bottle.Bottled water can be purchased almost anywhere. Purified water is provided at all New Dharma lodgings. The purifiers are reverse osmosis filters, which remove 99.9% of all minerals, so you may wish to take this into account when packing supplements.
Toiletries. These can be obtained from most grocery stores if you run out.
Miscellaneous supplies.Razor, band-aids, nail clippers, emery boards, safety pins, Q-­tips, wet wipes, toilet paper in your purse/flight bag for airline toilets and international bathrooms.
Bedding/linens. These are provided at the center but you can bring your own sheets and pillowcases if you prefer.
Meditation cushion or chair. If you have favorite cushions or foldable chair for meditating, you are welcome to bring them. Cushions, blankets and backjacks are also available for participants.
  • Chargers for mobile devices and computers.
  • Headphones and/or headset for computer and phone.
  • Computer
Warm clothes.These are needed in the winter season and most other times of the year. Temperatures drop at night in the desert and can vary widely in spring and spring and fall, so it’s good to be prepared with  sweaters, vests, scarves, etc. 
Winter clothes. In the winter season pack a winter jacket, hat and gloves, winter/hiking boots
Sun protection. Year-round it’s recommended to pack sunglasses, cap or hat to protect from strong sunlight.
Comfortable clothes. For meditation and being inside.
Slippers. If needed
Meditation shawl.
Underwear and socks. Wool socks to keep feet warm year-round are good to have.
Supplements or medicine. Make sure to pack any that you may use.
Sunscreen. There is strong sun even in winter.
Documents. If you’re traveling internationally, a passport, printed copy of ESTA, and other relevant documents for traveling to the U.S.
What should I budget?
Food from supermarkets in Nevada tends to be on the expensive side compared to Europe. Depending on your eating preferences a budget of $75-$150 per week could be anticipated for food shopping.
Here is a standard list of additional, flexible, and optional expenses:
• Groceries
• Restaurants
• Clothes shopping
• Gifts
• Donations for New Dharma
• Communications (phone and internet access)
Will I need travel insurance?

There are various kinds of flight and travel insurance if you want to buy a plan. Look at the offers from your airline when you buy your tickets as well as those from the many companies that offer insurance. Before buying your tickets with a credit card, contact your credit card company to see what protection it already includes. Also contact your health insurance company to see what coverage you already have.

What about insects and wild animals?

The best advice is be aware and stay away. You are more likely to encounter spiders and scorpions around the houses and outdoors. Be aware and make sure you can fully see where you are putting your hands.

In the event you are bitten or stung you must seek medical intervention immediately. Call 911. If possible take note of what the creature that bit you, looks like (color, size, markings). This will help the medical professionals to accurately administer medicine for your symptoms. Very very few of these incidents are  lethal, and over many years we have had zero such incidents at New Dharma. Be aware, but not to worry.

If you go walking anywhere in the wilderness be aware of warnings posted in areas where there is a risk of encountering bears or mountain lions.

Are there any Covid-19 requirements?

There are currently no vaccination, testing or mask wearing requirements to travel to the USA, and none required by New Dharma. The New Dharma office has Covid tests available if you should need one.

Where will I be staying?

New Dharma has two guest properties in Washoe: the Ethan House & Barn and Sydney House. It is most likely you will be sharing lodging in Washoe Valley for the Third Pillar program.

The houses come equipped with a shared room, twin bed, clothing storage, a shared bath, bed linens, towels, laundry facilities, basic household cleaning supplies, utilities and internet. Each house has cooking facilities, filtered water, storage shelves, and refrigerators.

You will get your room assignment shortly before the retreat, when Sat Shree makes the final determination for all housing.

What about cell phones and internet?

Cell phones are how we communicate during the retreat. Each of the houses has WiFi from which you can gain access to the internet and WhatsApp.

Major stores like Whole Foods, Raleys, Walmart, Dollar General also have free WiFi.

WhatsApp is the main way we contact each other for information/changes or emergencies. What’sApp groups will be set up and you will be added to each house and the relevant course groups. You can of course use any international plan you may have.

Can I use my Amazon account?

You can make purchases from Amazon on an account which is registered in another country. You just need to add the New Dharma address where you are staying at to your Amazon account and make sure you switch to the USA address when ordering. Check carefully availability in the USA carefully for delivery times, and additional charges and fees that might be incurred. 

Should I bring cash or credit cards?

The U.S. is the same as any western country with respect to cash, credit and debit card payments. The grocery shops have contactless payment.

It’s helpful to have PayPal, Wise or Venmo if you need to transfer money to other participants (e.g., for gas money or groceries).

What if I get sick?
Tip: Try to drink 32 to 64 ounces of water daily to keep properly hydrated while on retreat. Filtered water is available in all New Dharma facilities, and you can buy bottles of water anywhere.
Electrolytes can be purchased from pharmacies and food stores. Electrolytes will help replenish the salts you lose through sweat and ease dehydration headaches. Electrolytes can make you sick if you don’t need them, so use them wisely.
If traveling internationally:
Shots/vaccinations. Check your own country’s official advice on this. Some U.S. towns have local travel clinics that know what you need and have it all in stock. The earlier you get this off your To Do list the better.
  • Get your personal doctor’s advice on prescription medications for infection, respiratory, skin, sinus, and digestive issues.
  • Check your health insurance for coverage abroad. Call your provider to see if you are covered or if you need to purchase temporary travel insurance.
Additional health products to consider packing:
  • Probiotics (optional) can build and protect your intestinal flora for improved digestion and to combat unwanted invaders.
  • Imodium for sudden diarrhea.
  • Bacitracin and alcohol swipes to disinfect skin abrasions.
  • Throat lozenges to keep near your meditation cushion for when you want to cough. 
  • Your favorite painkiller, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin.
  • Any allergy medication you would normally take or have taken in the past if you want to be prepared. The conditions for allergies are stronger in Nevada and may flare up a condition that is benign in another country.
Tip: Carry a medical alert card in your wallet (and a copy in your passport) that lists your emergency contact, health care proxy, allergies, and medications you are taking or need.
Is there someone there who can help me?

Each house will have a designated house manager who can assist you with any queries.

Who is the New Dharma emergency contact?

Please contact Scott Usedom, Operations Manager at 1-530-288-3393 or