Makara Sankranti or Pongal is an important Hindu festival, that marks the first day of sun’s transit into the Makara Raasi (the zodiac sign of Capricorn).
Sun, has always been revered as a God in Indian culture and He holds a significant place in many rituals, yogic practices like Surya Namaskaar.
Science defines Sun as a star at the centre of solar system and according to Hindu calendar Makar Sankranti signifies the beginning of Uttarayana Punya Kala, the auspicious six months period, that also marks the arrival of longer days.
However, the sun is much more than a star or a religious symbol according to modern medicine.
It is the major source of Vitamin D, acts as a mood enhancer, helps human body release right hormones at the right time.
On this festive day, learn why you should be spending more time under sunlight daily, for health and fitness.
Daily Dose Of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is important to keep your bones happy, muscles healthy, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairment in children and to prevent cancer. The best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to stand in the morning sun for 10 minutes and to soak in ultraviolet B rays. Scientists recommend people with darker skin to spend more time under sunlight than with the lighter complexion to get a good amount of vitamin D.
Melatonin, the sleep releasing hormone is all dependent on warm sun rays. If you are not able to catch proper sleep, make it a habit to stand under the sunlight every morning as it is known for triggering melatonin at nights. Melatonin contributes towards towards sound sleep, health and happiness.
Lack of exposure to sunlight can make the levels of serotonin dip, causing Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as SAD. It is a form of depression that depends on seasonal changes. Standing under sunlight cues certain areas in the retina triggering the production of serotonin that plays a vital role in calming the mind. Also known as phototherapy, this treatment is strongly recommended for those battling depression and other mood disorders.
Studies reveal that people who do not spend enough time exposed to sunlight are more prone to various types of cancers like colon cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. Standing under morning sun, where sunlight is moderately warm brings a whole lot of prevention against cancer.
Sunlight is like a natural medicine for those suffering from chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, jaundice, acne. Dermatologists recommend light therapy – standing under the sunlight for 10 minutes to heal the affected areas.