Hatha yoga – sun and moon. The summer solstice is an appropriate time to talk about the sun, something I have been reluctant to do because as much as I love the sun, I don’t want to be condemned for heresy, a serious offense in America today which could result in imprisonment. Oh, I’m already a heretic, of course, for various theological reasons, depending on whom you ask. But we don’t lock people up anymore for heresies regarding God and the nature of existence. The Church no longer runs the Inquisition. That function now belongs to the new Priesthood – the Mainstream Medical Establishment. So, before I talk about how wonderful the sun is, I need to make this disclaimer: “The information provided in this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The opinions expressed are for philosophical purposes only and not presented as medical advice.”
The disclaimer is necessary because it is illegal in America to give medical advice which could be construed as “practicing medicine without a license.” Additionally, even if you are a licensed M.D., you are not allowed to give medical advice that contradicts the established dogma. (But that’s a whole ‘nother topic – don’t get me started!) What on earth does this have to do with the sun and yoga?!
The mainstream medical High Priests have been telling us for years that the sun is bad and dangerous, specifically that it causes cancer, and that we must completely avoid exposure to sunlight by slathering toxic chemicals all over our skin and/or covering up with clothing or best of all, staying indoors. Nature is not to be trusted, and the sun is essentially the devil.
By contrast, in the ancient Vedic culture of India everybody knew that the sun was good, the source of all life on the planet. Just imagine for a moment where we would be without the sun. Plants would not grow and therefore life would not exist on the planet. No food, no flowers. No oxygen. No warmth. The ancient yogis appreciated the sun as a manifestation of God in and through nature. When we do the Sun Salutation (which, by the way, was intended to be done outdoors – in the sunshine!), we are receiving and participating in and honoring the Source of all life. The same Life that makes the stars shine, pulses through our own body. The sun is a source of healing and regeneration.
Our body was designed by God, or “naturally evolved,” if you’re an atheist, to produce vitamin D3 by means of the sunlight falling on our skin and interacting with cholesterol (also an evil substance according to modern medicine).
The medical High Priests have only just recently and reluctantly begun to acknowledge the importance of vitamin D3 not only for bone health, but also for immunity, including prevention and healing of cancer. Recent statistical data has demonstrated that people who live in sunny climates have significantly fewer deaths from cancer than people in dreary climates, according to the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, the incidence of skin cancer has risen proportionally with the increased use of sunscreens. There is also some question as to whether sun avoidance may be contributing to the growing epidemic of osteoporosis. The data which supports the health benefits of sunlight is problematic because it plainly contradicts the established dogma that the sun is evil. Not wanting to publicly admit that they were wrong, the medical priesthood has continued to advise sun avoidance, and the few doctors who bravely dispute this have been denounced as heretics. Instead, the priesthood is promoting oral synthetic vitamin D3 supplements which are conveniently provided by the same chemical industry that manufactures sunscreen.
I am skeptical that oral synthetic D3 can be adequately utilized by the body without sunlight, based on my experience over many years raising pet reptiles including Day Geckos. When these animals are kept indoors during the winter, even under artificial UV lights and on high doses of calcium and vitamin D supplementation their bones become frail, their egg-laying is impaired, their skin quality suffers and they develop metabolic abnormalities. We are not geckos but our bodies require vitamin D3 the same as they do.
So, I am a heretic. I do not believe the High Priests who insist that sunlight is bad because radiation causes cancer, while at the same time they tell me with a straight face that mammograms, chest x-rays and CT scans, which inflict much higher levels of radiation, are perfectly safe. I’m just not buying it. Since childhood, sunshine has healed me or at least made me feel much better when I was sick, more consistently than the Priests have. I am not afraid of the sun. I love the sun. I trust Nature of which I am a part. I trust God who created and manifests through Nature, my body and my senses.
I won’t tell you what to believe. I would, however, encourage you to go outside in the sunshine at least a few minutes every day and do some asana and pranayama. Allow the warmth to caress your skin, breathe deeply the energy of Life, and see how you feel.