The sun gives life to every living thing on Earth. In the summer, we get to experience the sun’s power at its greatest potential as it touches all people, plants, and animals.
By honoring the sun, we become more aware of how we can pattern our daily lives around the changes in daylight and heat. Although this is important any time of year, it may be especially important during the summer season when the sun is at its strongest.
Here are just four simple sun practices that you might want to consider integrating into your daily schedule this summer.
Align Your Sleep Schedule With the Sun
The days are much longer in summer, meaning that you have the opportunity to either stay up later or wake up earlier. Ayurveda advocates going to sleep later in the evening (around 10 or 11pm) to take advantage of the extended daylight and to allow the temperature to cool off for more comfortable sleeping conditions. On the other hand, if you decide to rise with the sun, you may choose to go to sleep earlier (around 9 or so) so you can wake up earlier and start your yoga practice.
Start Your Practice With Surya Namaskar
If you choose to rise with the sun, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start your practice with several sun salutations since they are best done in the early morning hours on an empty stomach. The Sanskrit word namaskar means “to bow” while the word surya refers to the sun. The sequence of poses that make up the sun salutation are meant to be practiced in the direction of the sun while cultivating gratitude, awe, and respect for it. Start your practice with 8 to 12 sun salutations in the morning at sunrise (or even at dawn during the sunset).
Take a Midday Rest
Those who live in warmer climates may be familiar with what’s called the “Spanish siesta” — a midday rest or nap that’s typically taken during the heat of the day. As the heat continues to build up past the noon hour, the hottest time of the day usually hits around 3pm, which is convenient for many people who stick to a normal daytime schedule because their circadian rhythms will generally dip between 1 and 3pm (otherwise known as “the afternoon slump”). By squeezing in a midday nap, you are recognizing and honoring the power of the sun at its daily peak.
Offer Water to the Sun
An Ayurvedic practice for honoring the sun called Arghyam is one that practically anyone can do, which involves offering water from a copper vessel. Simply fill your copper vessel with water, go outside in a garden or any area with green space and slowly pour the water on the ground around yourself as you turn in a clockwise direction. Once you’ve finished pouring out all the water, gaze toward the sun (but try not to look directly at it), place your hands over your heart, and silently affirm the inner power in you.