Sunning

As the sun touches our lives less and less, as we progress towards winter, it is all the more important to get regular doses of its healing, harmonising and stimulating rays.

And it is easier to do than getting on plane - and hell of a lot less expensive, both for you, and your grandchildren !

The sun was the single common subject of all ancient people's veneration, as they recognised our reliance upon it, not just for food and weather, but that it is the furnace in which all atoms are formed.

Principle

The sun is an unparalleled source of health and well-being - despite what the sun cream adverts would have you believe !

Receiving its light through your skin is marvelled at as the best method of producing Vitamin D – vital in so many immune and structuring roles.

And its ambient rays falling into your eyes is enough to provoke the creation of endless top-end neurotransmitters which increase our sense of well-being and positivity.

This retinal stimulation shunts energy from the epithelial cells, through the optic nerve and enlivens the hypothalamus – a major gland in the back of your brain that increases endocrine function.

This is what creates the overall lift for your body and your sense of yoursel.

These physiological impacts are one of the major connections between summer joys and winter suicide rates – proving once again that your emotional sense of yourself, and your physiological states, are interwoven.

Practice

When there is sun and it's not too cold, get outside for a walk – thus exposing your eyes to the ambient sunlight around. It sounds so simple, and it is.

Better still, go for a walk in running shoes, and when you feel the urge, jog for a while instead of walking.

This has the added advantage of making it a more aerobic activity – sending blood into all the tiny capillaries in your extremities, and getting that healthy glow back. It is also the best possible influence upon your lymph system - those of you that have been on retreat with us know how important it is to stimulate that system in our woefully sedentary lives.

But don’t push yourself to begin – try to take in the beauty of your surroundings: walk as much as you like, and run when you have the energy – don’t make it a chore.

However, the more you jog rather than walk, the more heat you generate, and if you do it enough to get hot, you can start to expose your skin to the sun as well - this is great for the Vitamin D levels we've been hearing about.

Whilst out, you can also practice sunning proper : without glasses, repeatedly glance at the sun for as long as possible without strain - bare trees make a great filter, allowing you to hold your gaze for longer.

Do this with more caution if the sun is high in the sky, but if it is very low on the horizon you can hold this glimpse for a long time - as long as there is no strain in the eyes.

This is the kind of exposure that gives a big boost to the whole endocrine system.

Obviously be careful not to overstretch this into damaging the retina - when it gets too much and you are forced to squint, look away, until the area around your eyes has fully relaxed, and repeat...

And keep jogging !

As Old As The Sun

It is worth noting that this practice is thousands of years old, scripted in endless ancient texts across the planet. But really it is millions of years old, as every animal on land is subjected to constant stimulation from the sun.

It is only really us that lacks it – because we shelter in homes, cars and offices.