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Why We Need the Sun – Use Your Portable Zen Timer to Meditate Outside

why we need the sun

why we need the sun

The sun is the center of our lives. It gives us day and night, seasons, light, heat, colors, wind, plant life, moonlight and a sense of direction and time of day—not to mention awesome sunrises and sunsets. Solar heating, daylighting, and solar electricity reduce our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources. And the absence of sunshine can be debilitating, as any sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can attest. Yet sunlight can degrade fabrics, overheat our homes, encourage cataracts, and cause our skin to age and develop cancer. We are urged to go outside only under cover of hats, sunglasses, sunscreens, and tightly woven fabrics. What we rarely hear is that sunshine is also an important element of good health.

Why we need sunlight

According to Zane Kime, M.D., M.S., in Sunlight (World Health Publications, 1980), the ultraviolet (UV) portion of sunlight helps our heart, blood chemistry, immune system, energy level, and sex life, while its absence weakens our body’s systems and contributes to disease. Furthermore, we rely on the sun’s daily and annual cycles to regulate such bodily functions as heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, metabolism, and immunity. When modern living throws our biological rhythms out of synch with solar rhythms, the results can be fatigue, depression, insomnia, digestive problems, poor coordination, loss of mental ability, and loss of sex drive and fertility.

Sunlight also improves our attitudes and behavior. Studies have shown that students in daylit schoolrooms performed markedly better than their non-daylit peers. Daylit retail stores experienced increased sales, less absenteeism among employees, and fewer employee mistakes. One survey of indoor workers, from warehouse employees to upper management, found a strong correlation between job satisfaction and the amount of sunlight entering the workspace. There’s even a link between sunny mornings and positive stock market returns.

In addition to its health effects, we can all benefit from developing a richer relationship with the sun. Do you awaken gradually in the mornings with sunlight, or does an alarm clock interrupt your sleep cycles? Does sunshine enter the rooms where you spend your days? Do you get outdoors with some skin exposed every day? Do you notice that the color of the sun’s light is different in the morning, noon, and evening—different in summer and winter? Do you notice the sun’s path being higher in summer than in winter? Do you watch the sun rise or set?

If your life is less than sun-kissed, here are some suggestions. Learn to identify the compass directions, and observe the sun’s path across the sky regularly. Notice where sunlight falls at various times of day in your home, yard, and workplace. As appropriate, move furniture to bring your activities closer to daylight. Create a sculpture or sundial that makes the sun’s motion visible. Grow plants. Rise with the sun and slow down after sunset. Move some activities outdoors. Cultivate a life within walking distance of home. Listen to your body and mind to create your own right relationship with the sun. ­

CAROL VENOLIA is an architect, author of Healing Environments: Your Guide to Indoor Well-Being.

adapted from Natural Home Magazine, July/August 2002

Portable Meditation Timer and Yoga Clock

Portable Meditation Timer and Yoga Clock

Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga & Meditation Timer.  It features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings your meditation or yoga session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal. Our Yoga Timer & Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation or yoga session or periodically throughout the session as a kind of sonic yantra. The beauty and functionality of the Zen Clock/Timer makes it a meditation tool that can actually help you “make time” for meditation in your life. Bring yourself back to balance.

alarm clocks with chime for a gentle awakening

alarm clocks with chime for a gentle awakening

Now & Zen – The Zen Timer & Alarm Clock Store
1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO  80302
(800) 779-6383

Posted in Well-being