Vastu in Sanskrit means nature, a surrounding or environment and denotes to anything existing such as house, shelter, building etc. Shastra in Sanskrit means systems.
Vastu Shastra is an ancient spiritual science of architecture that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. It is a complex system of design and placement that aims to create the perfect living environment by aligning the interior and exterior setting of a home with the Cosmos. Once this delicate balance between man and nature is achieved, it is believed to bring all round happiness, health, wealth and prosperity.
Vastu belongs to the great geomantic system of the Indian subcontinent (a theory of foretelling the future by interpreting markings on the ground) and is a distant cousin (some even believe ancestor) of the more widely recognized Chinese practice of Feng Shui. It is a system that provides a set of principles for the construction, layout and interior design of dwellings, places of worship and even whole cities.
Vastu is closely linked to other ancient Indian practices, such as Ayurveda – the principal traditional medical system of India – and yoga, a path to spiritual progress via a disciplining of the mind and body. Both Ayurveda and yoga allow practitioners to harmonize their physical and mental being with the natural balance of the Cosmos. Vastu works to protect this harmony between body, mind, and universe by creating living spaces that are similarly attuned with the Cosmic balance by taking into account the movement of the sun, the electromagnetic field of the Earth, the five natural elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space) and finally the three gunas: Sattva, Tamas and Rajas. When alignment is achieved, the living space echoes the basic structure of the universe, and prana (the energy believed to sustain all living things) flows freely through the space, bringing health, happiness, peace and well-being to its inhabitants.
Central to Vastu is the importance of creating an atmosphere or mood that reflects both the function of a space and the emotional and spiritual needs of its occupants. Adopting a room-by-room approach, we can explore how to balance these demands in order to create a deep sense of harmony and tranquility specific to the interior of every room in the home, and to the workplace. By considering various arrangements of furniture pieces, accessories and even choices of colour we can discover the importance of introducing natural elements into the home thus helping us to reconnect with nature.