Vastu – Yoga for your home!
What is Vastu, and how can it help me?
Walking into some spaces, you feel light and happy and energized; while some other spaces may make you feel dull, lethargic or even unwell. How often have we been to someone’s house and expressed how nice it looks and feels, or thought to ourselves how it brings us down?
I know I always feel the ‘vibe’ of a place as soon as I walk in, and I am sure we all do.
Well, this is not something purely psychological. Every space has its own energy field and vibrations. When these vibrations come in contact with our own magnetic field, they create either a sense of elation, joy, lightness or can also bring us down, depending on how they react with our energy. A lot of the ‘vibe’ of a particular space depends on the way it is constructed – the materials used, the direction of doors and windows, placement of objects, and functionality of various spaces within the house/office/building, amongst other things.
Often when we change the orientation of our living room or office space, we feel an immediate change in the energy of the space. Partly because we like a bit of change-up every now and then, and partly because by moving the objects within the room, we have modified the energy flow in the room – and it has an effect on our own energy.
Very simply put, this is Vastu. The Vedic science of architecture, design and space is called Vastu Vidya.
Vastu Vidya is a collection of ideas and concepts for organization of space and form within a building or groups of buildings, based on their functions in relation to each other and their usage. These concepts serve as models for construction, organization, design and usage of space. Vastu Shastra is the textual form of this Vastu Vidya.
Synergy and Harmony in Vastu between man and material using Natural Laws:
As per Vastu, it is important to integrate architecture with nature, the relative functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefs, using geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry and directional alignments.
To understand this yogic science of design, it is important to understand the connection drawn between our homes and our physical bodies. Often you will read that in dreams, homes usually signify our bodies. Also, the way your house is organized reflects a lot about your state of mind, and many such commonly used connections between our selves and our homes.
To add some more perspective, most ancient Indian sciences are holistic in nature, i.e. your mind is connected to your body, is connected to your surroundings, is connected to your home, is connected to nature, to your place of birth, your place of residence, your date and time of birth and so on… how you feel, behave and an act in this world is an interplay of all of these factors in relation to each other. As you may notice, most ancient sciences were spiritual in nature.
Coming back to Vastu, the science travelled from India to South and South East Asia, like many other forms of Vedic and ancient Indian knowledge. Similar to Yoga, Vastu is a universal science for everyone to benefit from. It not a specific style of architecture or design. It is more of a holistic system of design principles based on natural laws, ensuring harmony within and outside while working with your individual sense of style and beauty.
Very simply put, Vastu pertains to the physical, psychological and spiritual order of the built environment. Vibrations are created by the flow of energy. The flow of positive energy creates positive vibrations, and favours good mental and physical health of the people living in the space.
Vastu: The Yoga for your home:
Just as the aim of Yoga is the union with Pure Consciousness, the aim of Vastu is also to bring us closer to this union by ensuring complete synergy amongst our inner selves and our surroundings. Nature and man are harmonised to bring about movement towards Pure Consciousness. To achieve this goal, Vastu Shastra utilises sacred geometrical patterns like ‘Yantras’ and natural laws.
Having said that, you do not have to be a Yogi to benefit from Vastu. You can turn your home into a Yogic sanctuary by applying Vastu principles.
It is believed that each element of nature exerts a subtle influence on the energies inside and around a home/office/building, such as temperature and sunlight. Just as Yoga works to balance our energies and vayus to ensure optimal flow of Prana through the body, Vastu works to balance the energy fields at home with respect to natural elements. The activities of the inhabitants of such a space, thus begin to move with the forces of nature, not against them; leading to more harmony and less obstacles in life.
Basic Principles of Vastu:
Intricate details of this science is not something I can cover in its entirety, and definitely not a matter of one single article. Broadly, however, here are a few basic Vastu Principles-
The 5 Elements (PancaBhuta): Yoga and Ayurveda declare that everything in this world is made of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space). The principles of Vastu Shastra are also dependent on the arrangement of these five elements within their corresponding directions/areas:
- S and SW are the areas for Earth
- N and NE are the areas for Water
- SE is the direction of Fire
- Center is the area for Space
- NW is the direction of Air
- The Sun: Depending on the distance between the Sun and various points on Earth, there are positive or negative rays which affect our physical and mental health. For instance, morning rays are considered positive rays, and afternoon rays are considered harmful. Since your home is static it should be designed such that its windows and all sources of ventilation absorb as many positive rays as possible.
- Earth’s Magnetic Field: Blood contains haemoglobin, which contains iron. Since there is iron in the blood, magnetism affects its circulation. If the collective magnetism of your body is taken into account, your head is the north and feet south. So, as an example, when your head is facing towards the north, like poles repel and the blood circulation to the brain decreases and if the head is towards the south blood flow increases. During sleep you require minimum circulation so it is best to have your head facing either East or west.
- Gravitation: You are constantly being pulled to the centre of the Earth. The force pulling towards the centre of the earth is also concentrated at the centre of the object. Your house is also an object, and within your house there is a point which acts as the centre of gravity. Laying excess pressure on this point by placing heavy objects could be detrimental to the structure.
- Cosmic Forces: This factor links Vastu Shastra to astrology, which considers all planetary positions and distances. The astrological chart relating to the layout of the built object, Vastu Purush Mandala, dictates the most beneficial way of planning the site.
Based on the above principles, directions play an important role in constructing a building using principles of Vastu.
The practice of Vastu orients the placement of your home and its features with the four cardinal directions. To apply Vastu to your own home, begin by drawing out your home’s floor plan and identify the directions on it. Now, superimpose or place the Vastu Purusha Mandala over your home’s floor plan with the top of the grid pointing north. The grid of the Vastu Purusha Mandala is a map of the position of each element of nature in the home. This can serve as a guide for constructing or modifying your home.
Note: This article is by no means a Vastu consultation, and the best home layout and design for you would depend on a number of factors like your date and time of birth, the people who reside in the house, the direction of the house, the surrounding area, location etc. To have your home evaluated as per Vastu, it is best to consult a qualified Vastu expert.