Shri Sarbananda Sonowal
(The author is Union Minister for Ayush and Ports, Shipping & Waterways)
The sun will rise a little north on Makar Sankranti, January 14— bringing along many cultural, spiritual and agricultural messages with it across the country. The word Sankranti signifies transitional movement, the movement for betterment within and without, transitions on a cosmic level and in zodiac signs. It is a churning of the universe and the beauty of this occasion is that it reminds us to reflect that this churning has to be both within human body-mind-consciousness and in the outer world—that both should go hand-in-hand.
This Ministry of Ayush has decided to utilize this occasion to reach out to humanity with a special and topical message of rejuvenating ourselves through Surya Namaskar – the Yoga Asanas to 'salute the sun'. Yoga has been serving humanity for ages, but since Hon'ble PM Narendra Modi Ji took the initiative, Yoga has gained global acceptance on a scale that was unheard of earlier. Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, in his September 2014 United Nations General Assembly speech, urged the world community to celebrate Yoga at the international level. Following his appeal, the United Nations has proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.
The recent surge in Covid-19 infection across the globe make it more relevant that we train our body-mind-consciousness to withstand any kind of health hazard. Most of us must have heard about Surya Namaskar, although the number of people doing it regularly would be much less. The significance of this set of Yoga Asanas goes much beyond the salutation to the sun. It has a very profound impact on the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of humans. When performed appropriately regularly, Surya Namaskar not only improves our vitality and immunity but also helps maintain mental balance in the current fast-moving and stress generating world.
Building upon the whole government approach of Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, the programme is launched in line with the tribute to 75 years of India's independence 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'. The Ayush Ministry has not only engaged other ministries and State Governments but has involved all major stakeholders of the global Yoga fraternity in this mass demonstration programme. The universal appeal of Yoga is further embodied in Surya Namaskar. As the sun is the source of vitality for all living beings, Surya Namaskar is the sure-shot doze of vitality for humans without any side effects. The world is realizing that vitality and strong immunity from within is the most pressing requisites to negotiate the re-resurfacing Covid-19 infection. And for this reason, Surya Namaskar becomes even more important. It is because of this that we have involved all major stakeholders including the central ministries, state governments and all major Yoga institutions and Yoga gurus for this programme. Our approach is not limited to one-off events as the ministry strongly believes in creating lasting impact, focusing more on building synergies and continuum— both in the design and implementation of our action strategies. This demonstration event of 14 January is also a part of a continuum and I had said this at Hyderabad too when we recently embarked upon an initiative of organizing 75 crore Surya Namaskar.
Surya Namaskar is a combination of eight asanas performed in 12 steps. The beauty of these asanas is that all age groups can perform these without much difficulty and regular practice of these 12 steps makes the whole human system resilient enough to take health attacks from outside head-on. I would not go into the details of the benefits of performing regular Surya Namaskar here but would like to just remind you that its practitioner, like I, is bound to feel energised and overall well-being throughout the day, thus saving personal and national expenditure on health-related issues to a great extent.
I am sure that this Makar Sankranti will herald the beginning of a novel resolve of a global community in making natural resources of energy, like Sun and Surya Namaskar, our best and most dependable friends and strive to continue this friendship for all days to come. This will help our planet in ways more than one.