Bates Method International

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Techniques: Sunning

It’s easiest to first try this out with a lamp, as the light source is constant and controllable. The best type of lamp for this is a desk lamp - something like one of those equipoise lamps that can be directed to different angles (also known as anglepoise - see photo).

An anglepoise lampIf you've not got one of those, then any lamp that can be directed up toward your face will do fine. The best light source of course is the sun, but if you find that too bright at first, a lamp is easier to manage.

I'll talk this through assuming you've got an angle poise lamp with about 100 or 60 watts for the bulb.

Sit somewhere you can palm easily after sunning and can direct the light source straight at your face - you're going to go straight into palming after sunning, so the easier you can do this, the better.

In sunning, the eyes are closed throughout

So, close your eyes, and slowly direct the light to your face. If there is any discomfort, it means the light is too close and too bright at first. One of the key things to look for is any sign of pain or strain coming into the muscles around the eyes. What I want to encourage you to do, is to go so slowly that at no point do you experience "too much". So, go slowly. If you feel comfortable, you can bring the light closer, until it feels like a pleasant warmth all over your face.

Light falls fully on the face when sunning

Think of a point far in the distance (imaginary horizon)

Imagine where your nose is pointing to, and imagine you are looking in that direction (eyes are still closed, but if they opened, would be gazing toward that far point).

Let each eye experience shade as you turn your head

Turn your head gently from side to side

As you turn, each eye goes into the shade. This movement is slow and steady, taking about 3 seconds or so to move from the left to the right (or the right to the left).

Keep in touch with the point

As you turn your head, keep in touch with the point that your nose is directed toward - this will of course be moving across your imaginary horizon, but the relationship to your sight will still be in the same place, thus your eyes and head move together.

Remember to go slow!

If your eyes are sticking or dragging, or wanting to fly ahead, take your time even more, and notice when they go into their jumpy mode. See if you can take yourself over the point of "choosing" to jump, without actually doing so (this is a lesson in it's own right)

Sun for no more than three minutes

This is all that is needed to relax the eyes.

Always palm after sunning!

When you start to palm - turn the light away, or off, and notice all the gradations from the change of light into darkness as your hands come to cover your eyes. Going slow helps a lot here.


Palm as per normal, you may notice a different quality to the palming, sometimes more images, sometimes less. Palm until your field of vision is calm, or 'normal' for you.

Instructions for Palming