On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, we as Yoga practitioners expressed our gratitude towards the people of India by worshiping the sun God by practicing Surya Namaskar. Any yogic practice early morning on this day establishes more fruitful.
Makar Sankranti is the right time to speed up yogic & spiritual practices.
Makara’ means ‘Capricorn’. The movement of the sun into ‘Makara Raashi’ or the ‘zodiac of Capricorn’ is called Makar Sankranti, also called Uttarayana which marks the end of winter months and the beginning of longer days. It begins from the day of Makar Sankranti which is considered as a symbol of positivity. In this period Sun travels from Capricorn to Cancer that is from South to North. In hindi it is:
[उत्तरायण = उत्तर (North) + आयन].
It is an Indian festival, which is celebrated in honor of Surya (the Sun God) to pay tribute for the grace of his energy that has enabled life and food on earth. It is said that on Makar Sankranti the sun rays are very healthy for the body and skin. On this day, people wake up early and express their gratitude towards the Sun God. Some people take a dip in one of the holy rivers and chant mantras.
Uttarayana : the samadhi pada.
We are now at the threshold of Uttarayan, which is a period of harvest. The northern run or Uttarayana is referred to as the samadhi pada or kaivalya pada. It is a time for enlightenment & realization. This time is most important for balanced yogis to make effort towards stable spiritual attainment. It is a time of flowering. Its time to work on the art of integration of the body, mind & soul through concentration, meditation & profound absorption. These festivals are a reminder that we need to craft our present and our future in a conscious manner. Right now, we have harvested the previous year’s crop. How to create the next one is being consciously planned.
Dakshinayana: the sadhana pada.
On the other hand, Dakshinayana is the time when the Sun begins to trace a southward movement in the Earth’s sky in the northern hemisphere of the planet. Dakshinayana is significant in the life of beginners who wants to start the practice of yoga. The southern run of the sun became significant because this was the first phase of the teaching. This became the sadhana pada where Aadiyogi taught the Saptarishis what they should do. The sadhana pada is always more important because in the process of making anything happen, the most important thing is to do what is in our hands right. What is not in our hands, we only have to wait. Sadhana is something which is in our hands – we can do something about it.
Makar Sankranti is a festival to connect movement with stillness.
If we do the right things, during Saadhna Pada then , when the time to harvest comes, the right kind of harvest will come, that’s called Samadhi Pada. So Makar Sankranti is a festival to recognize the movement, movement being celebration, movement being life, movement being the process of life and the beginning and the end of life, from Sadhna Pada to Samadhi Pada. At the same time, the word ‘shankara’ is used to remind you that the one behind this movement is a stillness. Stillness is the basis of movement. When a human being makes the necessary effort to touch the stillness within himself, only then he knows the joy of movement. If you know what stillness is then movement would be a pleasure. If you do not know what stillness is, if you have no contact with stillness, movement is bewildering. If there was a taste of stillness in you, movement would not disturb you. It is something which sets a certain rhythm. Every rhythm has a beginning and an end; every movement has a beginning and an end. Movement means that which is in transition.
The significance of Makar Sankranti is to remind yourself about connection between movement & stillness . Movement means compulsiveness, stillness means consciousness.