One of the most beautiful moments in this human experience, again and again, is the rising of the sun. The majestic moment in the daily cycle when the glow on earth's horizon intensifies and the light sprays all over the surroundings, a fire burning, welcoming the new day.
Not five kilometers from my family farm in Australia, the eastern coast line stretches, rugged and wide. There is a perfect surf spot, known to locals only, on a slight peninsular, creating peeling waves and a protective corner at the south end of the cove. The sun rises here to silence, apart from the waves crashing and a soft breeze--until the light hits a magic point and the birds start up, chirping, screeching and whirring.
Watching the sun rise here fills you with an energy, a glow. It rejuvenates and revitalises. There are yogis that practice sun-gazing, to receive nourishment, and can sustain life with only this practice. The sun is even more powerful than we know.
The rising sun is not only breathtaking, but can become the catalyst for something wonderful, as it brings you right here, to the very vibrant, yet very grounding, present moment.
In our asana practice, this same power can be found within one of the first series of poses many of us learn - Sun Salutations. This sequence of postures not only stretches our limbs and develops our physical strength, but grounds and centers us too. When we reach our hands up, in anjali mudra, we offer a prayer to the heavens and we open our hearts, finding connection to the sky. When we place our hands to the ground, bowing down and then flowing into our lunges, downward dogs and cobras, we find our connection to the earth.
As we flow, we follow the breath, making it difficult to be anywhere else in our thoughts. These movements help us to process our life experiences and transform the energy we are holding into something bright and energizing. After all, the sun is the element that gives illumination and our salutations emulate this.
These movements have the potential to fill us with our own inner light. Just as the sun rises every day, sun salutations are a great daily practice. In my experience, ten rounds of sun salutations are a good cure for just about anything. Sometimes it is all we need to re-connect, to open our hearts and to ground us in the present.
The sun gives us life, energy and clarity. Whether your day begins with sun gazing and meditation by the ocean, or with a series of sun salutations, there is always a source of light available for those who seek it.