Summer is a time of full-spectrum light. The birds are chirping, the butterflies are hovering by, and the sun is shining bright. Many of us spend our summer hours locked away from the sun, shivering in cold air conditioning. But this is not a time to hide from the sun; it is a time to give thanks to it.
Every morning, when we wake up the sun is shining down and in the evening, we can watch as she sets on the horizon. Instead of living unconscious of the sun’s power, we should cherish it, give thanks for it, and harness its powerful rays.
This summer, here are five ways to give thanks for the sun:
1. Walk outside barefoot.
It’s great to feel the sun on your shoulders, but it’s even nicer to feel the sun under your feet. So often we get told that as adults, we can’t do something. Why can’t you do it? Go enjoy the earth, go give thanks to the sun; you will feel completely and utterly free.
2. Make a pot of sun tea.
In the summertime, there's nothing quite like a freshly brewed glass of ice tea. But somehow, it tastes even better if you make it yourself and you ask the sun to bless it. So make your own pot of sun tea. Boil some water, then put the water in a big glass jar. Add tea bags and any herbs you like for taste. Good herbs to add include peppermint, lemon grass, and lavender. Then take the glass jar and place it in the sun, letting the sun’s ray’s shine into the jar. When the tea reaches the color you desire, take it out of the sun and put it in the fridge. It will be your own brand of delicious sun tea!
3. Activate healing crystals in the sun.
Crystals have long been thought to hold healing powers, and each crystal carries a specific energy. They can be used for headaches, difficulty sleeping, finding love, and even healing the mind. If you buy crystals, it's important to cleanse them, and a great way to do this is to harness the power of the sun. You can put the crystals outside (or on a window ledge) early in the morning to absorb the power of the morning sun. You can also put them there in the night if you would like them to take on the energy of the moon. The sun and the moon can both be used to recharge, activate, and cleanse your crystals, and in turn recharge, reactivate, and cleanse you.
4. Say thank you to the sun whenever you can.
If you're driving down the road and get stuck in traffic, instead of thinking how angry you are that you're stuck in traffic, stop and feel the sun on your arm. Then say, "Thank you,” to the sun. I like to stop and give thanks to the sun whenever I can. I take pictures of every beautiful sunrise or sunset, I look up at the sun’s rays and feel it on my cheeks, I think about all the ancient religions that have respected and loved the sun and I try to carry that same sense in my heart. Every day is a new day and when the sun shines to wake me up in the morning, no matter what I am going through in life, I try to remember to be grateful. In Sweden (and in many parts of the world) there is a big summer festival called Midsummer in which thanks is given to the sun and the flowers and it is said to be a time of great magic. At the summer solstice and throughout the year, try to remember to give thanks to the sun.
5. Practice yoga outside
In yoga, practicing sun salutations is a way of honoring the sun. When you practice sun salutations, you are bowing, adoring, and honoring the sun. Each sun salutation begins and ends with your hands in prayer at heart center, because within each of us we carry the sun in our hearts.
I encourage you to try a few sun salutations outside this summer, feeling the sun energy working with you as you move through the asanas. You begin at the top of your mat, with your hands at heart center. Bow down and allow the stress of the world to fall off your shoulders. Rise up to a flat back and then back down, placing both your hands on the mat. Slowly walk your feet back into a high plank, then drop your knees down and with elbows close to your chest, bring your body down flat on the mat. Rise up to upward facing dog, then back down to downward facing dog. All the time, feel the sun’s rays moving through your body. Walk your feet back up to meet your hands and then slowly rise back up, placing your hands on your heart.
If you take a few moments to be thankful for the sun, to remember what summer is all about, and to really cherish it, you'll soon see the magic this universe can bestow.