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ACVA News Nov. 2009 Vastu and Health

By Sherri Silverman, Ph.D.

Sherri Silverman, Ph.D.Jyotish, Ayurveda, and Vastu provide remedies to “avert the danger that has not yet arisen.” Since Vastu’s guidelines are essentially the laws of nature, it enables us to gain support of nature rather than to have what seems like more obstacles thrown in our path. Ayurveda, the science of life, gives knowledge for health. As the science of design and architecture, Vastu gives knowledge for the health of buildings, which profoundly affects our health, happiness, and prosperity — and the health of the environment. Jyotish gives knowledge of cosmic influences on our emotions, relationships, prosperity, career, and health. Applying Vastu recommendations helps protect us from negative influences in all of these areas as well.

“Vastu” means “energy” or “imperishable substance.” “Vaastu” refers to humanly built forms that are filled with that space energy, what Ganapati Sthapati calls “embodied energy.” There is an expression in Sanskrit, “Vastu reva vaastu,” which means that unbounded pure consciousness, the unmanifest source of all manifestation, transforms into the manifest material world. In other words, as Einstein discovered, energy becomes matter. It is these same laws of nature, or subtle mechanics of creation, that are utilized in Vastu guidelines.

Vastu is the original green, sustainable design system: architecture, design, and sacred space from ancient India’s Vedic tradition. Vastu requires beauty, comfort, and practicality; the use of natural materials; and attunement with nature through the honoring of the five elements and the nine directions.
Vastu Living Room

Vastu creates homes in which prana flows freely and there are no structural elements that predispose us to illness or problems in life. Existing health problems ease up and can even clear up from being in buildings constructed according to true Vastu. Vastu can be applied to rectify energetic imbalances in existing homes, although building a new house according to Vastu principles produces a much more powerfully nourishing environment.

North, South, East, and West Directions

East is the most auspicious direction, since it is where the life-sustaining light of the sun rises. You have probably noticed how uplifted you feel and how sparkly your home becomes on days when the sun shines brightly and illuminates a home — you feel more energetic and inspired, as if you have come to life again. The sun’s light, warmth, and energy are vital. The early morning’s gentle ultraviolet is healing and needed by your body for optimal health. You can enhance your wellbeing by sunbathing for a brief period of ten to thirty minutes in the early morning. Clearly the east side of the house should have openings to bring the energy of the sun into the home. A properly placed east entrance to a home can improve health and is also ideal for a medical facility.

North and east provide nourishing cosmic energies, so there should be windows and doors to let in these supportive energies. The north is the area of wealth, health, and career. If you have lots of south and west windows, you can help balance this with windows on the opposite side (north or east), which is advised in Vastu anyway. A fountain or water feature to the north of the home provides some energetic counterbalance for an open south, improving health and finances. Anyone who has had a south-facing desk next to a window knows the weakening influence intense direct glare has on our eyes and energy.

Face east or north when eating, studying or meditating, for optimal benefit. Greater fatigue comes when facing south or west.

The intermediate directions of northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest have benefits that can be harnessed when they are able to collect in the corners of the building. A structure that faces these intermediate directions (rather than the correct, beneficial facing of the cardinal directions) creates a disruptive effect. In this case, yantras and application of Vastu knowledge can help.

Mars YantraThe northeast is the best place to keep medicines for increased potency. Northeast kitchens aggravate Ketu, the secondary lord of the northeast, so use a Ketu yantra at the height of your seventh chakra; northeast kitchens are missing fire energy, so place a Mars yantra next to the stove.

Kitchens belong in the southeast, where the fire element is predominant. Subtle infrared rays, Agni’s color, are most prevalent in the southeast and are beneficial, especially for women, so puttering around in the kitchen for a half hour in the morning making tea and breakfast is healthful!

An open window in the northwest helps nourish the house with prana.

The center of the house and of each room is called the Brahmasthan. It should be kept clean and clear, a revered open space. A courtyard open to the sky brings a fresh, cooling influence to this energetically intense zone. The Brahmasthan is the lung and the heart of the house. To create a home for your heart, honor the architectural structure’s heart. Women’s emotions in particular can be affected by an obstructed Brahmasthan.

Panchabhutas: the Five Elements

The five elements are space, air, fire, water, and earth. Each is energetically associated with a particular direction, an acknowledgement of subtle laws of nature.

Earth, bhumi or prithivi: The earth element is associated with the southwest direction, the best choice for the location for the master bedroom. Earth is solid, dense, and grounded. We all need a physical basis or foundation to survive in this world.

Water, jala: Northeast is the direction where the energy waves of the water element collect. This makes it the best placement for indoor and outdoor water features. Water is frequently used as a metaphor for pure consciousness in the Vedic tradition.

Fire, agni: Fire element is predominant in the southeast, so it is the best placement for kitchens, fireplaces, computers, and other electrical equipment. Digestion in the body and transformation are also the realm of Agni. To add and honor this element, light fires! Enjoy indoor or outdoor fireplaces and kitchens in the southeast, and light beeswax candles.

Air, vayu: Air element is liveliest in the northwest, so put fans, wind streamers, mobiles, wind chimes, and air purifiers here. To reap the benefits of the prana in the air, practice pranayama breathing techniques, preferably with windows open enough to bring fresh air into the room. Be sure that the air in your home is fresh.

Space, akasha: This element is directly linked to sound and silence. Akasha is the expansiveness in the center of the architectural form and in the center of each room. Honor it in each area by keeping it clean and open. Don’t put heavy objects here.

Vastu recommends that homes have a clear, straight path from the front door to a back door or window. This allows the passage of light, air, and solar energy for nourishment of the house. It enhances the flow of prana to radiate throughout your dwelling.

Vastu Elements and DirectionsThe master bedroom is ideally in the southwest, the calm, grounded territory of the earth element. Northeast is a good choice for people “later in life.” Don’t sleep in a southeast room, since fire element disrupts sleep, weakens health, and inflames emotions. This tends to increase disease, especially for people with previous medical problems, and it causes couples to argue. If you absolutely cannot move from a southeast bedroom to another room, move the bed into the southwest quadrant of the room to harness its earthy nature, install a Venus yantra face up underneath the mattress, and place a Venus yantra on the wall. Venus is the planetary lord of the southeast. If you have a vata constitution, sleeping in the northwest, governed by air element, will be agitating. Usually northwest is recommended for the guest room, since you want guests to come for an enjoyable but brief visit and then move on again.

Television’s electrical radiation and stimulating subjects are not healthy or restful in the bedroom. Keep the bedroom serene, beautiful, and private, a retreat for sleep and intimacy. If there is no other place in the entire home for your work, partition it off with a screen or cover it with fabric when not in use. This will help settle down its active energy and allow better sleep.

Although they are positive features, some spiritual objects and altars can generate too much energy in the bedroom and disrupt sleep.

Position something you find truly lovely across from your bed so that you see it when you first open your eyes in the morning for emotional upliftment.

Fumes rising from a garage below a bedroom can make you sick. I advised clients whose bedroom was above the garage to have their unfinished garage ceiling sealed, clutter removed, and the garage floor cleaned. They reported improved sleep after implementing these suggestions. Vastu guidelines call for detached garages.

Natural materials enhance health and energy of a space. Before chemical/industrial pollution and man-made electrical fields, being close to the earth provided a great deal of support for human health. Concrete and steel disrupt earth energies. Metal bed frames and electrical fields from clocks plugged into electrical outlets interfere with our connection with the natural, nourishing geomagnetism of the earth.

Sleep with your head in the east or south, which is healing. Do not have your head and pillow in the north, since this is draining, aging, and does not allow as deep a rest. The human body has magnetic polar energies; if your head is in the northern polar direction, it produces a negative effect. Studies done by Maharishi Sthapatya Veda indicate that people who sleep with their heads in the north are much more likely to be anxious and depressed than those who sleep with their heads in the south or east. Overhead beams are not healthy to sleep beneath, so add a canopy or use pushpins to drape fabric above the bed to protect you from the oppressive energy of beams above your body.

May these little bits of Vastu knowledge increase your health, radiance and journey to enlightenment!

Sherri Silverman, Ph.D., author of Vastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature.Sherri Silverman, Ph.D., author of Vastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature. Excerpted from her book, courtesy of Gibbs Smith Publisher.

Bio: Sherri Siverman, Ph.D., brings impressive credentials. A Vastu sacred space design consultant with her firm, Transcendence, she holds a Ph.D. in Creativity, the Arts, and the Sacred Application of Asian Concepts.

Since 1974, she has taught yoga, meditation, and sacred text courses from India’s Vedic tradition, which lies at the roots of Vastu (and of yoga and familiar forms of meditation, in fact, she calls Vastu “the yoga of design”).

Please contact to schedule as a speaker, media interviews, book events, art shows, and Vastu design consultations for homes, gardens, and businesses, both on-site and off-site with floorplans.

Call 505.984.0108 or send an email,

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