Saturday, August 23, 2008

Healthy Homes - An Introduction to Vastu and Feng Shui

Today I was reading Yoga+Joyful Living Magazine, and I learned about Vastu, or the "yoga of design." It's like feng shui, which I've been thinking a lot about lately as we try to make our home more healthy and comfortable.

What I've always liked about the yoga/ayurvedic/Indian systems is that their five elements are: fire, water, earth, air and space, which makes more sense intuitively than the Chinese five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Of course, having studied the Chinese five elements and the whole acupuncture system, it makes a lot of sense to me now and I love working within that tradition. Yet the five elements of fire, earth, water, air and space are what I would have guessed the five elements to be, looking around at the world.

Vastu and Feng Shui (which translates as wind and water) are both about how the energy flows in the home. The ideal of course, is to have a smooth flow, a sense of harmony, without energy becoming stagnant or rushing out anywhere.

In Vastu as in Feng Shui, different areas of the home correspond to the different elements. The correspondences are slightly different between the two, and being more familiar with Feng Shui I am a bit more comfortable with their corresponding directions/areas. However, there are certain principles of Vastu that stuck with me after reading the article:

  • "The principles of Vastu connect the dweller of the Vastu home with the subtle laws of nature, such as the energy grid of the earth, beneficial earth energies and cosmic energies from the sun." (from p.58 of the July/August, 2008 issue of Yoga+Joyful Living.)

  • I love the idea of space being an element, versus being ignored. The universe (and ourselves) is mostly space, but we are always so much more focused on the stuff.

  • In Vastu, as in most philosophies of healthy home living, there is emphasis on natural materials: tile, stone, wood, brick, bamboo, etc. Natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool, hemp, flax and linen are also nice elements to bring into the home decor.

  • Beauty is an important element of Vastu. You can follow all the rules of good energy flow, but if the space is not beautiful it is not fully Vastu.

  • The way to beautify the home is to look to nature: space is decorated with stars and luminous bodies, the earth is decorated with plants, trees, mountains, oceans, etc. The beauty you choose for your home should nourish your soul.

I'm going to try to include more posts on Healthy Homes, Feng Shui, and healthy cleaning tips (using essential oils is an amazing way to enhance good qi in the home!), since that is so much of my focus right now!

Peace and Health,
xoxo ~ Melissa

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