So what is it? Sun Yoga is a way of connecting with the divine – with God – with Spirit – with the Supreme Soul through putting yourself in direct contact with the sun.
Not to be confused with Surya Yoga – also Sun Yoga (yet more focused on the physical asana sequence of the Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar).
It began with the Sun Yoga Guru – known as “Sunyogi” Umasankar who began a daily practice during his 2-year stay at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, South East India.
He sat on a rock every morning, meditating on the reflections of the sun bouncing off the waves of the sea and began experiencing “great pleasure” and then more powerful energy flowing through him.
He refined his practice to focus directly on the sun and, three months later, Sunyogi felt the rays of the sun’s cosmic energy touch his body and within him an “indescribable feeling of peace and calm” appeared. His continued commitment and discipline saw his digestive system begin to reject physical food and matter as the sun’s energy was nourishing him from within. And so it continued…. lighting him up, empowering him purely from the rays of light. Sounds good? Would you like to give it a go? The sun is much more than purely Vitamin D….
How do I do it?
The most important thing is to soften and relax your gaze – especially if your eyes are particularly sensitive, so practice doing this by fixing your gaze on a “drishti” which is Sanskrit for point of focus.
1. Practice on a candle, on a fixed point in the trees or in the sky, by keeping your gaze soft and your focus blurred, keeping the muscles in your eyes relaxed.
2. Next, turn to look upwards towards the sun with your eyes closed.
3. Inhale and fill your abdomen, then upper body, chest and heartspace with fresh air.
4. As you exhale, ground your feet into the earth.
5. As you inhale, gently part your eyelids, keeping your gaze soft and unfocused and allow the sunlight to flood inwards.
* If you have delicate eyes, or feel discomfort gazing directly at the sun, focus your gaze a short distance above it
* Avoid blinking – yet, if you do, blink several times and start again
* Repeat this three to four times and you will begin to overcome the resistance and it will be easy to look at the sun again
* Gently increase, maintaining a regular practice to allow your eyes to adapt properly.
You may experience headaches or a burning sensation in the eyes, or even a “sunspot” that temporarily hinders your vision!
How long do I practice it for?
The Sun Yoga master recommends to continue practising, building up to staring at the sun for 10 minutes, when the sun will seem to disappear – Sun Yoga
What will I experience? How will I know that I am practicing correctly? And what, after all this sun-gazing, are the benefits?
“The inside of the sun will appear as blue sky surrounded by a ring of light, sometimes as two suns rotating clockwise or anticlockwise”
Long-practising Sun Yogis report that a “black spot” appears in the middle of the sun which becomes a black hole from which seven colours emerge and move around the sun, and that a “powerful beam of light” will radiate from the spot, firstly coming to you and retreating and eventually touching the body, enabling you to attain the nirvana of mindlessness – or mind-free-of-any- cluttering-thoughts – a perfectly thoughtless condition. This is known as the stage of pratyaharam, the official “beginning” of the Sunyoga experiences.
From being touched by this light, the heart begins to vibrate, allowing the human practitioner to control shame, hatred and fear. Ongoing practice promises the conquering of 5 more negative emotions: anger, greed, narrow attraction, ego and jealousy. The next stage conquers sexual desire when the pratyaharam stage completes.
You then get to discover the dharana stage as the muladhara chakra, or root chakra, at the base of our spine, generates a vibration all the way from our internal column of energy, or “hara”, all the way to the crown chakra, connecting us completely and raising our vibration physically, emotionally and energetically, a natural, euphoric “high” that lasts! (and irons out many creaks and creases in our bones, organs and muscles.)
And so it continues, opening up more chakras, enabling and generating more energy from within so that eventually, like the Sun Yoga master Sunyogi himself, you feel less need to eat, drink and sleep. You are en-lightened!
There are 13 stages in total. You can read all about them at http://www.sunyoga.info/ sunmeditation.htm
Eventually, you become able to live from the Sun’s energy, like an advanced form of plant-life, a beautiful flower and a highly evolved human being. And of course…. it is vital Vitamin D nourishment!
Synthesising the Vitamin D given to us by our wonderful sunshine is truly revitalising. It is, in fact, the very best way to absorb this vital Vitamin and the feeling of warmth on the face and the skin illuminates us and enables the melanin to rise in the skins surface, protecting from sun damage. Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, for healthy bones, regulates the immune system and amongst other lovely values helps the brain to keep working in later life!
Vitamin D benefits include:
* Normalising your nervous system
* Prevention of stress
* Maintaining your Calcium Balance
* Aids your Cell Differentiation (which decreases the risk of Cancer among many things)
* Boosts your Immunity
* Forms a vital part of Insulin Secretion
* Helps Regulate your Blood Pressure
The best time of day: It is best to meditate on the sun at sunrise, when you have the fresh new energy of the day. You can also practice Sun Yoga when the sun is setting, although the energy is decreasing.
How can you incorporate it into other yoga practices?
Sunyoga can be an amazing way to begin your morning practice, focusing on the sun for 10 minutes before beginning the physical asanas, the Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations. Opening your eyes and then your heart wide to receive the sun in the morning is a practice that yoga has been founded on over millennia. Practicing this consciously enables the light of life to truly travel and be within us.
Books & further resources:
Umasankar – an Indian yoga and mas- ter of the practice
Sunyoga in Malaysia www.sunyogamalaysia.webs.com
Sunyoga in Germany www.sonnenyoga.org
Sunyoga in Serbia www.sunyoga-serbia.com
Sunyoga in France www.sunyoga.fr