Sun is the physical and spiritual healer and our ancient Ayurveda and modern medicine have shown the significance of sun in our daily lives.

International Yoga Day

In modern medicine, we have learnt how vitamin D supplementation is important for building our immunity, controlling blood sugars by reducing insulin resistance, uplifting our moods, prevention of cancer, and many more.

Interestingly, our yogic lifestyle has honored the sun through adaptations of various asanas. On this International World Yoga day, let us discuss ways how we can practice yoga and absorb super vitamin simultaneously.

What is the significance of the sun in yoga?

In yoga, Surya Namaskar, Trataka and the practice of Surya Argya are significant. Surya namaskar is a series of asanas that are performed as an honor to the first light of the day. It is a mild form of aerobic exercise that takes 60 to 150 seconds to complete one round of practice. Surya Namaskar is a traditional Indian yogic practice that includes the practice of 12 physical postures involving alternate backward bending and forward bending postures with inhalation to total lung capacity.

Modern science has found the benefits of suryanamaskar and yogic techniques on health. In yoga, the sun is represented by surya nadi, the pranic channel which carries the vital life-giving force. Suryanamaskar is the combination of asana and pranayama which improves cardiorespiratory
performance and reduction in blood pressure and help in weight loss.

What is the significance of sunlight?

Sunlight is a super nutrient. Our junk light is an unnatural light that should be replaced with sunlight. We will perform better and live longer when real, unfiltered sunlight bathes the skin and enters our eyes for at least 10 minutes in a day. It will improve sleep and will also act as an antidepressant. A small amount of sun exposure every day also stimulates collagen production in the skin and is good for brain and mood.

Is there any sun hymn in yoga?

Yes, there is a hymn for every source of energy in Sanskrit. This hymn is chanted while performing Trataka or during Surya Namaskar and I translate that in English. "Salutations to that, red as a hibiscus flower turning to white, pure as the saint, Kashyapa, To, that which is grand in shimmering brightness, which takes the darkness away and annihilates all saints, I give pranam to He who creates the day".

What is the practice of Trataka in yoga?

Trataka is a way of life. It involves stilling the voluntary movements of the eyes. One must fix their gaze on a non – moving object and try to hold a gaze for a minute or more. The key is to keep eyes still. One may also apply ghee before forming Tratak. One can practice Trataka through the sun. Remember to practice Trataka only until sun touches the horizon. Once it stops touching the horizon you should not look directly at the sun.

Our eyes are a gateway to our brain, hence, nourishing our eyes through Trataka is adding fuel to the brain. It boosts concentration, memory and healthy eyes. It can be practiced looking at a candle, any object or a symbol or sun. Surya Argya on the other hand is different from Tratak. It is a meditation practice which is performed by
offering water to the sun.

When should you look at the sun?

One should look directly at the rising sun if it is still touching the earth. Remember, sun should still be touching the horizon and should not be above.

Is there any particular place where we should watch the sunrise or sunset?

Greet the sun- either from the verandah, atop the roof or outside on the grounds, yard or driveways.

What is Ez water? Can we form Ez water from sun exposure?

According to Dr Gerald Pollack, "Ez water is a special type of water that is formed in our cells. It can store energy and can deliver energy to the cells when needed. It is an antioxidant that protects our body from stress, reduces ageing and assists in recovery. It is formed in the body after drinking vegetable juice, spring freshwater or exposure to the sunlight".

How is Ez water formed through sunlight?

Ez water is formed in our cells when we expose our skin to the unfiltered sunlight for a few minutes everyday without sunglasses, clothing or sunscreen. It is 1,200-nanometer wavelength light that creates EZ water. The red light found in sunlight is absorbed by the hemoglobin in our blood and by mitochondria, which adds electrons to our cells. When we expose ourselves to the sunlight, light enters our body through our eyes and makes its way directly to our brain, where we first feel the impact. Light makes EZ water in the brain and it helps build melanin deep inside our brains to create extra oxygen for cognitive function.

Does sunlight also assist us in good sleep and mood?

Yes, adequate sunlight supports our circadian rhythm so we get good quality sleep. Our body produces serotonin "the happy hormones" through sunlight which furthers breaks down into melatonin which helps us sleep.

Any facts about excess vitamin D?

Excess Vitamin D can temporarily stop melatonin formation. Hence, it should always be taken in the supplement form in the morning and not at night.

How can we practice the above techniques in our daily life?

It is simple, wake up early around sunrise, offer water to the sun, or gaze at the sun for 2-3 minutes until the sun is on the horizon. Post this perform 5 rounds of Surya namaskar.

Disclaimer - The above advise is generic considering no significant medical history, please consult your doctor if needed.