Many people believe that by simply staring at the sun, the body can simply take in a large amount of solar energy. Our ancestors from more than 2,000 years ago recognised this relationship between the human body and the sun. From then on, many people continue to believe in the wonders of sun gazing.
While sun gazing can be great for you, some people do go about ‘sun gazing’ the wrong way. There is certainly a right and a wrong way to do it, and it’s important we understand how to do it right so we don’t hurt ourselves.
But what exactly is sun gazing? Can it really benefit one's health? Isn't it harmful to the eyes? Read on to find out everything you need to know about sun gazing and how to do it right.
What is sun gazing?
The meaning of sun gazing, as its name implies, is the act of staring intently at the sun. The sun is the main source of energy here on Earth. Because of this, people do sun gazing to soak in this natural energy for physical, mental, and spiritual stability.
According to Hira Ratan Manek, a researcher and a sun gazer, the sun is the main source of energy energising our brain. The sun's energy can only enter the body through the eyes. Sun gazing is therefore the only way where you can receive this energy that is essential to the human body.
What are the benefits of sun gazing?
The benefits of the sun gazing are believed to be the energising of the mind, body and spirit. Since it is also a form of meditation, you can also experience similar benefits from other meditation practices.
There are also a range of sungazing benefits to the body you can take advantage of because of sun exposure.
- Helps you concentrate - According to one 2014 study, focused attention meditation such as sun gazing can help people struggle to concentrate or have short attention spans.
- Vitamin D production - The sun’s rays consist of ultraviolet B rays or UVB. Once the skin gets exposed to that, there will be more vitamin D produced in the body. If you have enough vitamin D, you can strengthen your immune system, lower your risk of having type 2 diabetes, fight other types of cancer, improve bone development, and help your skin glow.
- Serotonin production - Exposure to sunlight can also affect the release of a hormone called serotonin, also known as feel-good hormones. Serotonin helps you manage your mood, focus, and calmness.
- Melatonin production - Aside from serotonin, sun gazing also improves how the pineal gland functions. That’s the gland responsible for the production of melatonin or the hormone responsible for sleep. If you practice sun gazing for at least 30 minutes every day, you may notice an improvement in your circadian rhythm, resulting in better quality sleep.
How sun gazing benefits your eyes
There are studies conducted (but haven’t been proven just yet), how sun gazing and exposure to sunlight may reduce chances of myopia or nearsightedness, especially among children.
Regular sun gazing during sunrise and sunset may also promote better eye health. During those times, the UV index is at its lowest and won’t typically cause damage to the eyes.
But isn’t staring into the sun harmful?
Yes, staring into the sun can cause harmful damage because of the UV rays. That’s why there are only certain hours of the day where you can practice safe sun gazing - 30 minutes during sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset.
If you happen to stare at the sun when the UV index is higher, you may suffer from different eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis (sunburned cornea), solar retinopathy (retina burn), and pinguecula or pterygium which affects the sclera or the white part of the eye. You are also at risk of eye cancer because of too much sun exposure.
If you suffer from any of these eye conditions, you should seek immediate treatment. If not, you can get your eyes permanently damaged.
You would therefore want to avoid sun-gazing in the middle of the day – as there is a risk of obtaining significant damage to your retina
How to sun gaze properly
With proper method and practice, you can enjoy sun gazing without worrying about damaging your vision. Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow:
Prepare your schedule
Schedule sun gazing within 30 minutes during sunrise and another 30 minutes before sunset. During these times the UV index is at its lowest level. Thus, it is safe for the eyes to stare at the sun. They are also ideal to start and end your day right.
Pick your spot wisely
Choose an ideal spot where you are in a direct hit of the sun's rays. You can go to an open area or a higher ground. But we would stay away from the roof.
If possible, do it on the beach, on a grass plain, or anywhere with soil ground. Some sun gazers believe that being barefooted can make the result more effective as you are more connected to nature.
Don’t wear glasses
Standing in an open area where you can have a better view of the sun is not enough if you do sun gazing while wearing eyeglasses or a contact lens. The glass or the lens may filter the sun's rays.
In the same way, make sure you are not also behind any window glass panes.
Sungazing requires direct eye contact with the sun, so make sure nothing will block off your vision.
Time your gaze properly
If it is your first time sun gazing, stare into the sun for at least 10 seconds. Over time, you can increase your time by 10 to 15 minutes. Just make sure you are not exceeding 30 minutes.
If you pass the sunrise, the UV index will increase; whilst at sunset, there is not enough light to gaze at.
Again, do not sun gaze in the middle of the day.
Change your angle if it’s too bright
As soon as you stare at the sun and you find it too bright, you can change your focus to it by 15 degrees on either side.
If you feel that your eyes are slowly adjusting to the brightness, you can slowly focus on the sun again. You should also relax and blink from time to time to avoid getting your eyes strained.
In case it is cloudy, and the sun is hiding, you can still practice sun gazing. Try to locate the position of the sun where it is hiding behind the clouds and stare at it. The benefits you will receive will remain the same.
Sungazing is also a form of meditation. As you practice it, you can also try to clear your mind and focus on your breathing pattern at the same time. In this way, you can maximise the benefits you can receive from the sun's energy.
Sungazing offers several health benefits to one's body, mind, and soul. Though there are not enough studies yet to prove some of the aspects of sun gazing, many people testify to its effectiveness.
But we can all agree that having enough sun exposure can help the body to stay active and energetic. As long as you stay within the safety limits, you can feel the amazing benefits of sun gazing.