The benefits of getting a little sun go further than just skin deep; vitamin D, enhanced mood, increased oxygen and better sleep.
Humans and so many other species have evolved under the loving warmth of our beloved sun, our core energy and life-giving force for Mother Earth. Without it, we couldn’t survive. Yet, we now we live in a world flooded with information on how detrimental sun exposure can be.
Our sun is so dearly cherished, the ancient Yogis worshiped our sun through the timeless practices including Surya Namaskar, Atapa Snana, and Sun gazing.
1. Surya Namaskar
Perhaps the oldest if not the most known and loved Yoga sequence. Surya Namaskar translates to Sun Salutation. Comprised of 12 powerful Yoga asanas, one round is practiced on the right then left which equates to 24 movements, representing 24 hours in a day. Surya Namaskar heats the body from head to toe, provides a cardiovascular workout and tones core muscles including your abs. The Rishis, sages believe that the body is governed by Devas, divine light and that the Manipura, Solar Plexus chakra, located behind the navel is connected with the sun which increases creativity and intuition, which is activated by practicing Surya Namaskar.
2. Atapa Snana
Atapa Snana is the yogic phrase for the healing science of sunbathing. Using solar energy, a sun-bath is taken during the hours when the sun index is low. Diseased parts of the body, usually skin ailments are exposed to the sun’s rays, whilst the remaining parts of the body are kept in the shade. Once the affected area becomes hot, it is brought into the shade and the part of the body is massaged with oil such as neem oil, and then cooled down.
3. Safe sun gazing
Safe sun gazing is a simple practice where you watch the Sun. It’s imperative to practice mindfully, and only during safe hours when the UV index is either 0 or 1. Generally the first hour within sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Beginning with no more than a few seconds a day, and gradually building up your ability to gaze over time. Yogis believe this ritual improves vision, induces spiritual awareness and invokes peace, calmness and clarity.
Like the best things in life, our sun is freely beaming life-giving rays upon us. So sunshine, go on and soak up a little healthy dose of sun, just remember be mindful of practicing safe sunlight exposure.