Mind-Body Health

Create an Outdoor Sanctuary in Your Own Backyard

Create an Outdoor Sanctuary in Your Own Backyard
From relaxing in the hammock to barbecuing or gardening, your yard becomes a sanctuary in summer. Whether you work or play outdoors, your surroundings can help foster your well-being beyond the benefits of fresh air.

This summer, turn your outdoor space into an oasis of health for you and your family. The key is to balance the five elements—air, water, fire, earth, and space—within your sanctuary.

The Science

Thousands of years ago in India, seekers spent their lives in deep meditation contemplating the workings of the universe. They found that different environmental influences affected not only man but all living things. They contemplated the effects of stellar, lunar, sun, and earth energies on the human physiology, as well as how the slope of the land, the makeup of the soil, and pollution influence our innate connection to the environment in which we live.

Additionally, they found that the shape and placement of buildings upon the land also had an impact on the health and vitality of its inhabitants. These observations became known as Vastu Shastra, the science of building and living in harmony with nature and the five elements.

Your Sanctuary

When you create your sanctuary, there should be a healthy balance of the five elements. The best indication of healthy environment for you is one that allows your plants to grow free of disease and stress. You want the right quality of soil pH (earth), the right amount of water, wind (air), sun (fire), and enough space to plant so the roots will grow strong. If these elements are out of balance, the plants will become stressed, diseased, and stunted.

By honoring the environment in this way, you will experience the gift of peace, a deeper connection to the earth, and enhanced energy.

To boost the positive energy in your outdoor sanctuary, follow these five easy steps:


The northwest is associated with the air element, influencing your mind and your relationships. The right amount of airflow in an outdoor sanctuary will support the cross-pollination of plants and communication between people.

Use wind chimes or a bird feeder to balance the air element in this direction. In Vastu, blue is the color that symbolizes the northwest. Enhance the influences coming from this direction by planting bluebells, forget-me-nots, and irises.


The northeast is connected to the water element, impacting your abundance and your connection to spiritual growth. In your garden sanctuary, the right amount of good water is key to life, helping plants grow strong.

Use low plantings in this direction that will allow the positive solar energy that comes from the east and the positive magnetic energy that comes from the north to enter your garden.

Water magnifies the ultraviolet light that comes from the northeast, which is essential for plant growth and good health, so you can add a fountain, a reflection pond, birdbath, or pool in this area. White pansies, geraniums, and herbs do well in this direction.


The southeast is connected to the fire element, which impacts your good health and vitality. When this element is in balance, it supports disease-free plants.

Enhance this element with a barbeque or fire pit. Mirrored reflective balls or solar lights can also strengthen the fire element. The color red can be used in this direction in plants such as tulips, geraniums, and dahlias.


The southwest is connected to the earth element and your work in the world. In your sanctuary outdoors, this element has a sustaining, grounding quality.

To enhance the stabilizing quality of the earth element, create a rock garden, plant tall trees, or place heavy statues in this area. These will help to collect and hold the positive solar and magnetic energies that enter your sanctuary in the east and north.

Yellow is the color associated with the southwest, so plant yellow roses or daffodils here. You can also place a potting shed in this direction.


In the center of your sanctuary is the space element, which supports your health, abundance, career, and relationships. This is the element that nourishes all the other elements and ensures their balance.

The center space of your sanctuary should remain open to allow proper energy flow. This central area can be a patio, grass, even a labyrinth if the area is large enough.

Use your outdoor sanctuary to connect more deeply with the natural forces inherent in our world. This connection will help you feel healthier and happier and bring you peace of mind.

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