Get new deals I come across here 🎁

Sun Gazing: An Ancestral Healing Practice


My mom caught me and I promised not to do it again. Staring at the sun will blind you.

So I believed for the next two decades.

Until I came across Ayurveda. Not only did ancient humans stare at the sun, but sun gazing improved their eyesight and overall health. Passed down generation after generation, this practice has transcended millennia. If it didn’t matter, surely it would have died out long ago.

Yet even today you’ll find sun gazers in every city around the world.

Similar to charging a battery, sun gazing charges your mitochondria which increases your energy and heals your body. Click To Tweet

I now sun gaze regularly, and my vision hasn’t deteriorated. On the contrary. My appetite has also slightly decreased, and I feel more vital than ever.

But you must sun gaze properly.

Today I’ll cover how to safely sun gaze, the unexpected benefits of it, and everything I’ve learned from personal experience.

What is Sun Gazing?

Nick Sun Gazing NYC Early Morning Sun Rise
My first session of sun gazing in NYC.

Sungazing is a fancy name for the process of closely observing sunrises and sunsets. Done properly it realigns the circadian rhythm, produces feel-good neurochemicals, improves sleep, activates the pineal gland, and can even regenerate vision.

To address the elephant in the room: isn’t staring at the sun dangerous?

Sun gazing is safe when practiced properly. There are two criteria that are crucial to safely sun gaze:

  1. Throughout most of the day, you absolutely should not stare at the sun. As I wrote about in choosing healthy lighting for your home, bedroom, and office, the spectrum of the sun’s rays changes throughout the day.For the first and last 30 minutes of the day, there is zero ultraviolet light emitted. Eye damage comes from over-exposure to UV, so sun in the narrow pre-day and pre-night bands is safe.
  2. Staring at the sun should not hurt. Discomfort comes from ultraviolet. Stop immediately if you feel pain.

The practice is one of those “miracles” hiding in plain sight. It’s less known because it challenges the status quo of natural light being dangerous. Sungazing realigns humans (circadian rhythm) with the Earth’s natural rhythms. The way we lived pre-electricity; sleeping with the onset of darkness, and rising with the sun.

Sun gazing is all about connection: to the cosmos, planet, and humanity. Click To Tweet

Full-Body Healing Effects & Benefits of Sun Gazing

Enjoying the sunrise and sunset is becoming more mainstream with the endorsement of celebrities and professional athletes.

Sun gazing sets the tone for an effective day

There are two categories of sun gazing benefits:

  1. General light exposure
  2. Specific to sun gazing

Dusk and dawn resemble watercolor-like glows. They soothe the nervous system and ease the transition into the day or sleep. Light during these hours is high in the healing infrared spectrum, and lower in the harsh ultraviolet. The infrared spectrum balances the destructive artificial blue spectrum omnipresent in daily life and spewed out by technology (see my IrisTech review for software that makes technology less damaging).

Sun gazing physical, mental, and spiritual benefits include:
  1. Better sleep. Serotonin from morning light increases nighttime melatonin and sleep quality.
  2. Deeper connection. Activates the pineal gland which is associated with bliss, feeling connected, and transmuting melatonin into powerful spiritual metabolites.
  3. Healthy pineal gland. Sun gazing stimulates and helps the pineal gland decalcify and grow.
  4. Normalizes hormones. Light balance hormones, including a lesser-known hormone called MSH.
  5. Alleviates stress.
  6. Heals skin. Infrared light reduces inflammation and increases natural collagen production.
  7. Natural antioxidant. Sun gazers have naturally higher levels of melatonin, one of the most potent antioxidants.
  8. Improves eye health and vision.
  9. Increases alertness and cognition. Morning light stimulates the hypothalamus and improves brain function.
  10. Overcoming emotional blocks.
  11. Reduces inflammation. Standing barefoot on the earth (as recommended while sun gazing) allows electrons to flow freely, using your body as a “ground”.
  12. Improves mood. The feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin spikes in response to sunlight, potentially inducing happiness, joy, and a general feeling of peace.
  13. Reduces appetite. Regular sun gazers report eating less. This effect takes 6+ months of daily practice.
  14. Encourages life balance.
  15. Increases vitamin D. Exposure to light increases vitamin D, and immune-boosting antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) like LL-37, and cathelicidin.
  16. Enhances blood flow. Light boosts a dilatory neurotransmitter called Substance P which also regulates mood and immune function.

How to Sun Gaze Safely & Effectively

Note: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your doctor before trying sun gazing.

Three Tips to Proper Sun Gazing

  1. Timing is crucial. Only sun gaze within the first 30 minutes of the sunrise, and within the last 30 minutes of sunset. Staring at the sun outside this window is dangerous and not recommended.
  2. Stand barefoot while sun gazing. Solar rays are full of energy and information. Standing with your feet on the earth, or submerged in natural bodies of water is like a surge protector for the body. It helps dissipate energy when it builds too high.
  3. Transition slowly. Start by looking at the sun for ten seconds and work your way up by another ten each day. Continue slowly building up to 30 minutes.

Prefer visuals?

How to do Sungazing : HRM Method of Sun Gazing - Protocol and Tips

Step 1: Start Small

I made the mistake of starting too big. I felt “off” because I stared at the sun far longer than recommended.

How to start sun gazing (step by step):

Minutes 30 hours

  1. Find a good spot

    The least obstruction of the sunrise or sunset the better. Parks are one great option.

  2. Go at the right time

    Practice when the UV index ≤1

  3. Remove glasses or contacts

    Eyewear obstructs the light and change its natural properties.

  4. Remove shoes and socks

    Make contact with earth to take advantage of grounding the electron flow.

  5. Carefully look towards sun

    For your first time, either look to the side of the sun or with eyes closed for only 10 seconds.

  6. Relax

    Take a moment afterward to reflect before going about your day.

Step 2: Build Exposure

After a few sessions, you’ll get tempted to skip straight to staring longer. Resist the temptation as the body needs all the time to properly adapt.

Most of us spend our days indoors and wear sunglasses at the first sign of bright light.

Start with ten seconds, and add ten more every session.

If you skipped grounding initially, find a patch of bare earth and expose your feet.

Better to progress too slowly than risk permanent eye damage.

Step 3: Have Patience

Sun gazing isn’t a quick miracle fix.

Some effects are immediately apparent: I felt heightened clarity, peace, and calm energy. I left my second feeling focused and compassion for others.

Benefits like repairing vision, and reducing appetite take months.

The profound benefits take daily practice of:

  • Mental benefits: 3 months
  • Physical benefits: 6 months
  • Spiritual benefits: 9 months

Sun Gazing For Optimal Health

Awaking before the sun itself is empowering. And in line with 5,000+ year-old Ayurvedic principles. After every session, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and restful alertness watching the golden orb lift above the horizon. In the morning, it’s like a coffee without the jitters. In the evening, I get enough energy to carry me through bedtime.

I take a brief moment out of the chaos of modern life to appreciate something small. At the same time, I bask in the healing infrared light spectrum and get stimulating energy unlike that of a stimulant. My skin blemishes are disappearing, I sleep better, and begin my day elated.

I encourage you to research sun gazing become giving it a try. When you do, start slow and safe. 10-seconds at a time. Let me know how it goes.

Nick Urban

Nick Urban is the Founder of Outliyr, an expert biohacker of 10+ years, Data Scientist, Certified CHEK Practitioner, host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast, and a High-Performance Coach.

Affiliate Disclosure

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase to support my work at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Leave a Comment