Doing the Sunning practice 3x/day for a few minutes each time will help to balance out your neuroendocrine system. This practice is especially recommended if you are challenged by any conditions which are hormonally related, including PMS, peri-menopause, menopause, stress, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyper- or hypothyroidism, seasonal affective disorder, depression, insomnia and anxiety. Basically this practice helps to lower adrenaline and boost serotonin production. This helps create a more alkaline chemical environment in the body, which is conductive to healing naturally from within. Within the pineal gland, serotonin converts into melatonin at night, so the Sunning practice helps with sleep as well. You will begin to notice changes in your mood after the first day.
Basic Sunning Practice: Do 3x/day for 3-5 minutes each time. Face the sun with your eyes closed, glasses off. Breathe deeply. Absorb the sun’s light through your closed eyelids, via your optic nerves into your brain. Run the energy down your central nervous system and radiate out through the rest of your body. This stimulates your body to produce serotonin, which turns into melatonin at night to aid with sleep. NOTE: If you do not have access to direct sunlight (it must be direct, not filtered through a window), then you can use full-spectrum lighting. If it is cloudy, look at where the sun is behind the clouds. You can also softly gaze at a beautiful object such as a bright flower to stimulate serotonin production.
Longer Sunning Practice: Sunning Exercise to Support and Balance the Neuroendocrine System. Do 3x/day for a few minutes each time. Stand facing the direct sun with closed eyelids. Move your eyeballs back and forth under your eyelids as if you are REM sleeping. It is important to keep moving your eyeballs back and forth as this engages the nervous system as well as massages the internal muscles of the eyes. Draw the warmth and energy of the sun into your mid-eyebrow ("brow chakra") - the spot right at the center of your forehead - and breathe it all the way into the center of your brain, to where your pineal and pituitary glands reside. Feel the energy of the sun activating these glands and stimulating the production of serotonin (the Happy Hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone).
Next bring this warm energy down into your throat to your thyroid gland and feel the energy activating and stimulating the production of your thyroid hormones, helping to balance out your metabolism.
From your thyroid, let that warm energy trickle down into the center of your chest to your thymus gland where it will activate and stimulate the production of your T-cells, bringing balance to your immune system.
Next let that wonderful warm energy from the sun flow down into your solar plexus to your pancreas. Feel it activating and stimulating the production of insulin and glucagon which are responsible for balancing your blood sugar levels.
Next feel the energy and warmth of the sunlight flowing to your adrenal glands on top of your kidneys. This will help to balance the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and to hydrate the adrenals which have been overworked and stressed out on most people.
Finally, let this warm sunlight energy travel down into your lower abdomen to your ovaries (for women) or testicles (for men). This helps to balance out the sexual hormones.
Feel all of your endocrine glands strung together like a beautiful string of golden pearls, illuminated with the warmth, light and energy of the sun. If any of your endocrine glands have been surgically removed or are not functioning, then feel the other glands taking up the slack for these glands and bringing balance to your entire endocrine system.
Now that you have energized all of your endocrine glands, go back up to your mid-eyebrow. Breathe the warm light and energy of the sun into your eyes and draw it all the way along your optic nerves to your brain. Feel your brain becoming illuminated with this light and energy. Let it flow down the entire length of your spinal chord and then feel it radiating out along your central nervous system to the periphery of your skin. Feel yourself relaxing more and more into the comfort and warmth of the sun's light and energy as it bathes your nervous system, helping to balance it out so that you can easily switch between sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic (rest and relax response) when necessary. This will train your body NOT to stay stuck in the stress response.
Just relax and keep breathing as your body is bathed with the beautiful healing sunlight both inside and out. When you are ready, open your eyes and look around you. Notice a bluish-gray tint to your vision - this is natural polarization, your body's own sunglasses. Also notice the improved clarity of your vision, and the vibrancy of the colors around you. Be aware of how your overall mood feels.
Gilles Marin has a guided Sunning Meditation audio recording available for download, with the five levels of practice:
The Eye Level
The Nerve Level
The Endocrine Level
The Skin Level
The Internal Organ Level
Download the guided Sunning Meditations here!