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Your Environment Can Affect Your Health
by Shreelata Suresh

There are many factors that can cause your physiology to move away from that state of balance in which you enjoy perfect, complete health. One big factor is environment. Climate—temperatures outside, amount of humidity or number of sunny days, for example, the altitude of the place where you live, the levels and types of environmental pollution, the type of vibrational energy in the environment and the presence or absence of stress in the environment are all factors that can affect your health and well-being. For many of us, the place where we live may not always be in our control, but there is much we can all do to create microclimates and mini-environments in our homes and workspaces to suit our constitutions and needs for balance. Here are some suggestions to start you off; tune in to your mind and body to create even more individualized healthful spaces.

1. Set indoor temperatures to comfortable levels. If you are trying to keep Vata dosha in balance, you’ll want warm temperatures and no drafts. Get extra humidity in the home or room by using a humidifier or setting pots of water on the radiator to counter the drying effect of Vata. To balance the heat of Pitta dosha, keep indoor temperatures relatively cooler. For Kapha, choose warm temperatures and a dry environment to counteract the dampness of Kapha. Dress in layers if you are trying to stay warmer than other folks at home.

2. Living 24/7 in climate-controlled environments can gradually weaken natural immunity, and resistance to weather fluctuations, allergens, pollutants and the like can diminish over time. If possible, let in fresh air into your living areas once in a while when it’s comfortable outside, and let in natural early morning sunlight as well.

3. Green plants in living spaces are soothing to the eyes and the mind as well as suppliers of oxygen. According to ayurveda, the Holy Basil plant helps purify the environment of garavisha, environmental toxins. Holy Basil can be grown from seed in a pot on a sunny windowsill. Grow culinary herbs such as cilantro on your kitchen windowsill and snip them fresh when needed for garnish. Fragrant indoor flowering plants offer aromatic healing value. A quiet indoor water feature offers serenity if you are trying to balance Vata or Pitta.

4. Try to maintain the integrity of the different areas of your home. Do not bring work or entertainment into the bedroom. Do not work at the dinner table. If you exercise at home, get equipment that can be put away after use unless you can dedicate a separate area for exercise. Create personal spaces, however small, for every member of the family. Have a quiet space for the spiritual practice of your choice and/or for meditation. This space should be silent, clean and free of clutter. Diffusing aromas such as sandalwood can enhance the meditation experience.

5. Aromatherapy is a powerful means of creating balance in your environment. Aromas work through your sense of smell to balance the mind, heart and emotions. You can use single aromas or aroma blends. Use relaxing aromas such as Sweet Orange, Ylang ylang and Lavender to balance Vata, soothing aromas such as Rose to balance Pitta and spicy aromas such as Rosemary or Basil to balance Kapha. Aromatherapy is useful in creating positive vibrational energy in your immediate environment and in creating mental and emotional balance when you are feeling out of sorts. Aromatherapy at bedtime can help promote sleep and improve the quality of sleep.

6. Colors and décor have an important role to play in the way we feel. If you are trying to balance Vata, choose relaxing but warm colors, harmonizing tones, heavy materials like silk or wool and simple arrangements that don’t distract the mind. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. For fiery Pitta, choose cooling, soothing colors, cool textures and fabrics (cottons and linens are ideal) and a clean, elegant look. If you are trying to balance Kapha, have fun mixing it up. Choose a palette of colors with plenty of contrasts, warm lively tones, and whimsy or a dash of frivolity in décor.

7. Finally, keep your living and work spaces scrupulously clean. Use natural cleaning materials—they won’t damage your health and won’t damage the environment. A clean, well-cared for home or work area is nurturing for the mind, the senses and the emotions.

See Also:

Holisticonline.com Ayurveda Infocenter
Comprehensive resource on Ayurveda.

Holisticonline.com Herbal Medicine Infocenter
Comprehensive resource on herbs and herbal medicine including safety of herbs.

Holisticonline.com Aromatherapy Infocenter
Comprehensive resource on aromatherapy, and essential oils.

Holisticonline.com Color Therapy Infocenter
Comprehensive resource on Color Therapy

Shreelata Suresh is a yoga instructor who lives in the Bay Area. She writes for various publications on yoga, ayurveda and Indian culture. For more articles on ayurveda and premier ayurvedic products, please visit http://www.ayurbalance.com

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