Embracing Vastu House Design for a Healthier Lifestyle (Interview)

Did you know that the way your home entrance faces could make a difference to your health and wellbeing?

In this interview, we have a fascinating discussion with Jonathan Lipman about Maharishi Vastu, an ancient Indian system of architecture that is based on natural laws.

Maharishi Vastu aims to design homes that have a positive impact on health, happiness, and spiritual growth. Although our focus is tiny homes, all types of homes (prefabs, modular, 3D printed etc) can benefit.

During our conversation, we'll explore several key principles of Maharishi Vastu. One important aspect is orienting the entrance or door of the home to face east or north, as this aligns with the rising sun.

Additionally, incorporating natural and non-toxic materials, precise measurements, and proportions that are in harmony with natural laws are emphasised.

Living in a Vastu (or Vedic) home offers numerous benefits, including increased happiness, enhanced health, improved family harmony, and more.

Could your living environment become a more harmonious space? Is having a home that faces a south west direction or north or east really be important? Let's find out...

Quick overview of Vastu tips for home design:

  • An east facing or east direction main door entrance is preferable
  • North direction is an alternative
  • Use non toxic materials as much as possible
There are some important Vastu tips in this interview! (Above: A Vastu home in Brazil).

What is Vastu and how does it apply to tiny homes or houses?

Vastu (or Vastu Vidya) is an ancient, even eternal knowledge about the architecture of nature and how those same natural law-based principles can be designed, and can be applied to the design of buildings of our own houses.

And it comes from the ancient Vedic tradition associated with ancient India.

But what might be the value in inquiring into an ancient system like this?

It's because, first of all, the system posits that if you use laws of nature correctly in the design of buildings then you can create influences promoting good health, physical and mental happiness, family, harmony, success, and growth to enlightenment.

Even to align our individual intelligence with the intelligence that operates all of nature.

And that would be a wonderful thing given that we spend the great majority of our days inside of buildings.

The renowned Vedic sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi spent about 15 years investigating the ancient systems of Vastu Vidya that survived.

And as the fruit of a 15-year research project, he restored this practice to its ancient natural law-based basis in Veda, which we understand to be really the vibrations of nature's own intelligence.

Such that it really does seem to have these effects, these ancient effects. And so the particular system of Vastu that we are talking about is identified as the system as Maharishi, restored it by, we call it, Maharishi, or Maharishi Vastu.

A Vastu aligned home in New Zealand. (Looks like a 'normal' house eh?)

How would it apply to tiny homes or housing in general, or a place for someone to live?

What people generally find overwhelmingly living in Maharishi Vastu homes, whether a tiny home, kind of standard size or large home, is that they feel a superfluidity, a peacefulness, an unboundedness.

We could just say a happiness that they do not generally feel. And everyone should have this. And as I said, it is true, no matter what the size of the house is, these qualities of natural law integrated into the design and construction of the house are independent of its size.

And for that reason, we have done a number of tiny Maharishi Vastu homes, and the people who have lived in them have been very, very happy with them.

Positive energy from the correct Vastu direction? (A Vastu pine house in Canada)

What are some of the key principles of Maharishi Vastu that we should consider?

Perhaps the single most important influence of natural law and the quality of our life inside of a home arises out of aligning the house with the natural environment.

Now, we often use that a phrase like that, but really what is the natural environment that we build on? It is planet earth.

And planet earth has a couple of primal architectural characteristics. And the houses that we build, which are kind of intermediaries on the surface of the earth, need to be built in harmony with those primal architectural qualities of the planet.

What are those? Well, the earth is a sphere, and it rotates about its axis, which runs through the north and south poles from west to east.

And therefore the sun rises in the east everywhere on planet earth and sets in the west. And that's because the earth is rotating towards the east. The sun has no say in that matter.

Everything on the surface of the earth directly or indirectly is as it is because of the sun and its energy. And so we could say that the sun is the most powerful influence of natural law on the surface of planet earth.

And it comes at us from the east and the Vedic literature, which we hold in high regard, I think, for good reason, tells us that if you align yourself with natural law, the natural law will support you.

Well, if we were to take that, even if we don't have to believe it, but just thinking about it for a minute, if we were to take it on a surface literal level, how do we align ourselves with natural law, if natural law is coming at us from the east?

Maharishi Vastu for home design (big and small) is suited for any environment.

So main entrance door facing in an east direction

Well, it could be that there's some advantage, therefore, to facing east.

And so for those activities that we spend the bulk of our time doing sort of in a stationary position (ie; sleeping and being at a desk), we recommend that we be oriented to the east when you're in a bed.

That means your pillow at the east end of the bed. And there are second choices as well for sleeping and for working at a desk.

This does affect the layout of a tiny home, but it depends upon what direction the home itself is facing.

So the Vedic literature strongly proposes that not only the direction that we face impacts our alignment with natural law, but also the direction that our dwelling faces.

Therefore, to give the briefest of answers, tiny houses should face east. Ultimately, they can face north.

Sometimes people design a tiny house having in mind that it will be mobile, and it may be oriented in different directions arbitrarily depending upon where it is.

We strongly recommend that when you fix it somewhere, you fix it so that it faces east or alternatively north. What does it mean for a tiny home to face a direction? Well, it means that's the side that the door is on. (The side where you come and go from).

A house in Fairfield USA using Vastu rules and guidelines for construction.

What about a south east or north east direction?

So that's the first and primary element of Vastu that we can apply to a tiny house. And you may say, well, this doesn't really affect my tiny house design because when it comes to installing it, I can just make sure I install it that way. Well, that's fine. That's great.

Still there is this really important principle. There have been two studies today that went through peer review and published together in an important scientific journal that examined the statistics for people who live in houses that face different directions.

We say that east and north are the best and south is the worst. And what these studies found were number one that people live in south facing houses are far more likely to get burglarised. And this is just based on an analysis of police crimes statistics.

Based upon a survey of patients in a physician's office, it turned out that people who live in south facing houses score worse on a financial survey and worse on a mental health and mood survey than people who live in east and north houses.

Note: A south east or north east facing dwelling is generally not recommended.

So there is actually a little bit of objective validation of this ancient precious knowledge from the heritage of the Vedic tradition.

Can a south facing home create negative energy? (A simple studio using Vastu principles shown).

It is also very much the anecdotal and the personal experience of many people.

There have been any number of cases where people closed up a west entrance and opened up an east entrance to an existing house. And other people who are not familiar with Vastu, but were in the houses remarked upon changes in their quality of life.

Does having the perfect Vastu mean we need to demolish buildings?

Yes, there will have to be a lot of demolition of a lot of buildings, ultimately. And that may sound extraordinarily painful and unlikely.

But the truth is that as we uncover new laws of nature, that affect quality of life and ultimately, eventually the world shifts so that we can benefit from those discoveries.

For instance, when I was a young man, if you went on an airplane, your lungs were filled with smoke because many people on the airplane were smoking - or a theatre or a restaurant.

And today, not many people smoke at all. And of course, nobody smokes in public places because it's illegal.

That was a very, very huge shift. And it happened. There many more such examples. And so it's not that it's impossible. It's rather - is this really impactful enough that cities should be rebuilt?

So far the preliminary evidence is yes, it is. And we think that over time as more research is done, the evidence will only grow.

And the way that cities will get rebuilt is that we work with developers who are building the new communities on the outskirts of large cities, integrating the elements of Maharishi Vastu.

Eastern orientation is only one of these elements. But it's the first one that I talked to you about. And it's the most important.

A small, Vastu cabin home / studio in Denmark.

Positive energy and transformation

As they build those subdivisions and people who live into them, people experience the transformations in their lives.

That causes the other developers to want to have the same customer satisfaction. And so we believe that over time more and more developers will insist on using the principles of Maharishi Vastu.

And then eventually the people who are surrounded by these vast communities and the older parts of cities will say, well, I want to have that too. And the value of the non-Vastu neighbourhoods will drop.

So some kind of dynamic like that over maybe generations will eventually cause everyone to benefit from this.

It's profound but very far reaching technology.

Interior of a light-filled Vastu home in Switzerland.

What are some of the challenges of designing a tiny home?

Well, there aren't really challenges. In fact, it's a pleasure to have Maharishi Vastu tiny homes (and other home styles) built in a factory because another one of the several major elements of Maharishi Vastu is that there are proportions and measurements integrated into the buildings which are based on the most deep level of natural law.

And they resonate with us as a result of these buildings and that has a real influence. And that may seem hard to imagine.

But just imagine if you play any stringed instrument. Let's say it's a violin or guitar. If all but one of the strings are properly tuned and one is out of tune and you pluck it, nothing happens to the other strings.

But if you properly tune that string and you pluck it, then you will get sympathetic overtones and the other strings.

This is a way of conveying as an analogy that proportion alone has a field effect, it has an effect at a distance.

And that's a way for us to start to think about how the proportions and measurements of the Maharishi Vastu house may in fact have some effect upon us.

So building in factories is a setting in which great precision can be carried out in the dimensions of the construction. And so that's very compatible with building Vastu.

Some factories that build tiny houses (or factories that build houses period) - there are many different niches - have particular pallets of materials that they stock and that they are comfortable using and they know how to price together.

Another Vastu house, this one in North Carolina, USA.

Using natural and non-toxic materials

Another aspect of the built environment that influences our health is the materials of which a building is made.

If it is not made of natural and non toxic materials, then who knows what the outgassing or other influences may be and they may be harmful.

And so as a shortcut to ensure good health in this area of construction, our principle is very simple, which is to build of natural and non toxic materials.

When we come to a factory that's going to build tiny homes, then we do have to look at the pallet of materials that they build with.

And in some cases, we certainly may say, well, we recommend that you not use this insulation, but see about using this other common insulation, which doesn't have any any synthetic chemicals.

For instance, use a mineral wool instead of the most common form of fibreglass, to give a single example.

Paint is another example. The highest standard is to build using only natural paints, made completely of natural materials. Those are more expensive in some cases. They apply a little differently, so painters are not so comfortable using them the first time.

There is a lower standard in the United States anyway, which is zero VOC paints, and the national standard is low VOC paints in the US now.

Interior of dining room and living room of a Vastu home in New Zealand.

Zero is certainly better than low. We always settle for that as the lowest standard, but it's not the best because there are, at this point in time, many tens of thousands of chemicals that are used in industrial processes.

We don't know how many may find their way into a bucket of paint. And there is a very, very limited prescribed number of those chemicals, which are on the official VOC list, which stands for volatile organic compounds.

There are many other organic compounds, not on that list, which are also volatile, and which therefore may be inhaled by occupants and may be harmful.

So simply the standard of zero VOC is better than no VOC, but a higher standard would be all natural.

How can we find a Vastu expert or architect?

There are qualified accredited trained Maharishi Vastu architects all around the world - in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, North America, South America.

And they can be found by contacting MaharshiVastu.org.

Send an inquiry to us, tell us where you are, and we will point you to the contact information for the nearest Maharishi Vastu architect.

Now in some cases, you may not want to hire an architect because for tiny houses, people often design them themselves, or get the factory to design them.

We are also happy to work simply as consultants with you or your factory during the design, and we will work very closely, hand in hand with you to make sure that the resulting design contains all the elements of Maharishi Vastu.

There seems to be an infinite number of possible variations, but for a very, very small house, there's limited possibilities for layout, ie: how to integrate the kitchen or the bathroom and the big space, and do you have a loft for sleeping?

Vastu expert Jon Lipman graciously jumped on a Zoom call for this interview.

Any Vastu related do's and don'ts to be aware of

There are a number of do's and don'ts and we would go over them for your individual situation, your home site, your building, or your first site, in any case.

That's the most complete answer, but I can still give you some, some general answers. I've already mentioned that you'll want to install the house so that it faces east or possibly north.

You'll want to lay it out so that when you do that, the head of the bed is to the east or to the south, and that your desk is facing east or north.

When we're designing a house from scratch, as would be the case in each of these cases, we can integrate several - actually three or four different aspects - of the house so that its orientation is completely unambiguous.

But if you're talking about just in a casual way, not not being done formally, the single quality that most affects the influence of orientation is what side of the house you come and go from.

And in the case of a tiny house, the main entrance is probably the only entrance. So the entry influence would be unambiguous.


What is Vastu Shastra and what are some Vastu Shastra tips?

Vastu Shastra is a traditional Indian system of architecture based on ancient texts, while Maharishi Vastu is a specific approach to Vastu Shastra that focuses on creating buildings to promote health, happiness, and prosperity in individuals as well as peace and harmony in the home, environment, and community.

Some Vastu Shastra tips to promote positivity and harmony in living spaces include:

1. Organizing spaces and forms in a room or a group of buildings to create harmony between living space and nature.

2. Considering the orientation and layout of buildings for domestic dwellings, places of worship, and civic and business purposes.

3. Following flexible design guidelines for space, sunlight, flow, and function.

4. Avoiding housing locations that may bring negativity to homes.

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