Will Maharishi Vedic Architecture Improve Your Well-Being?



By Sheer-El Cohen

MSAE

804 N. Third St.

Fairfield, Iowa

Grade 8

Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………….3

Experiment……………………………..6

Discussion……………………………...10

Conclusion……………………………..13

Acknowledgements……………………17

Reference……………………………..18

INTRODUCTION

I predict that: The well-being of the occupants of Maharishi Vedic Architecture (MVA) buildings will improve significantly in comparison to their well-being while occupying previous non-MVA buildings. This will be researched by a questionnaire that will be given to as many occupants of an MVA house as possible. They will be asked to consider the following criteria of well-being after occupying the MVA building:

Quality of sleep

Level of energy

Level of health

Level of happiness

Level of stress

Mental clarity and thinking

Level of creativity

What is Maharishi Vedic Architecture:

Maharishi Vedic Architecture, otherwise known as Maharishi Sthapatya-Veda (MSV), is an ancient system of country, town, village, and home planning in accord with natural law and the natural environment. His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique, has revived this system in the last decade. The main principles of MVA are:

Right Direction: The purpose is to align the building with the earth’s magnetic field north-south and the movement of the sun, east-west. The entrance of the building should face east because the energy from the sun is greatest and most vital when rising, so it brings greater benefits to the health and the vitality of the occupants. According to MVA, a southern-facing entrance brings a negative influence to the occupants of the building.

Right Placement of Rooms: According to MVA, the sun radiates different qualities of energy as it moves across the sky. In MVA, buildings are designed so that these energies correspond to the specific activities performed within the different rooms of a home or building. Therefore, there is a specific place for the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, etc.

          Right Proportion: In MVA there is a specific proportion for every room in the building with reference to the individual proportion of the human physiology. While in a room the individual will get the maximum benefit of it.

Besides these three main principles, MVA also highly recommends using natural, non-toxic building materials and emphasizes the importance of lots of sunlight and fresh air through many windows and cross-ventilation.

I was inspired to research this topic after moving into my own MVA house and noticed a tremendous improvement in my own well-being and my family’s. I found out that there has never been a research project or experiment conducted on the effect of MVA buildings on well-being. Therefore I decided that it would be interesting and important to do such an experiment and see the results. If my prediction is correct then this could have an impact on society and could improve the quality of life for people all over the world.


THE EXPERIMENT (protocol)

The sociological experiment was done as follows:

1)   In December 2000, I wrote a questionnaire that was approved by Dr. Fred Travis, Head of the Psychology Department of Maharishi University of Management.

2)   In mid-December 2000, approximately 200 questionnaires (sample below) were given to occupants of MVA buildings via e-mail, fax, mail, or by hand. They were given out to people who currently live or work in an MVA building. I only gave the questionnaires to adults over 20 years of age. I got the information of occupants of MVA buildings through people I know and by reaching out and finding such buildings in my community.

3)   By mid-February 2001, 82 completed questionnaires were returned mainly from Fairfield, Iowa, but also some from N. Carolina, Israel, and New Zealand.

4)   After gathering all of the questionnaires, I analyzed the data by this method:

A.    For each question I counted how many people answered that specific question.

B.     Then I classified each multiple-choice answer for each question, according to the multiple-choice options (for example, the first question: Did you notice any general change in your well-being since you occupied an MVA building?

82 people answered this question

My general well-being is:

_Better–79 People chose this answer

_Same–3 People chose this answer

_Worse–0 People chose this answer

_Other–0 People chose this answer

C.     Then I converted these figures to percentages of each question. (for example: 79 out of 82 means 96% have better well-being)

D.    Then I graphed the percentages of all the questions.

Sample Questionnaire:

Maharishi Vedic Architecture (MVA) Questionnaire for Occupants

Please check the most appropriate answer.

Name or initials (optional):________________________________

Age: __20-29 / __30-39 / __40-49 / __50-59 / __60+ Gender: F__ / M__

State/Country:_________________________________________

How long have you been occupying an MVA building?

__1-6 months, __7-11 months, __over a year.

Please check the most appropriate answer and tell what affected your answer.

Did you notice any general change in your well-being since you occupied an MVA building? My general well-being is:

__ Better______________________________________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ Worse_____________________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

Did you notice any general change in your quality of sleep? My quality of sleep is:

__ Better______________________________________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ Worse_____________________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

Regarding the time it takes to fall asleep, I tend to fall asleep:

__ Quicker____________________________________________

__ Same time as before__________________________________

__ More time than before_________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

Most of the times of waking up in the morning I feel:

__ More refreshed & energetic than before___________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ Less refreshed & energetic than before___________________

__ Other______________________________________________

Most of the time during the day I feel:

__ More energetic than before_____________________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ Less energetic than before_____________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

Coming back home after traveling or a long intensive day. I feel:

__ I get “recharged” quicker_______________________________

__ There is no change than before coming in_________________

__ I feel more worn out__________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Since I moved to an MVA building, my general health has:

__ Improved___________________________________________

__ Hardly any improvement_______________________________

__ Become worse

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Since moving to an MVA building, I feel about my dietary habits that:

__ I’m more aware regarding what and how I eat and therefore has improved my habits_____________________________________

__ No change in this area________________________________

__ My dietary habits became worse_________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Concerning my mental feeling:

__ I feel more happy & satisfied____________________________

__ I feel the same as before_______________________________

__ I feel more unhappy and frustrated_______________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Concerning my stress level while in the building. I feel:

__ More relaxed than before______________________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ More stressful_______________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Concerning my mental activity while in the building. I feel that:

__ My mind is clearer and my thinking is more orderly__________ _____________________________________________________

__ There is no change___________________________________

__ I feel that my mind is less clear and orderly________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

While acting or working in the building I feel that:

__ I’m more efficient than before___________________________

__ I didn’t change_______________________________________

__ I’m less efficient______________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

Concerning my level of creativity, I feel that:

__ I’m more creative_____________________________________

__ There is no change___________________________________

__ I’m less creative_____________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

In general, what do I feel regarding my moving into an MVA building:

__ I’m satisfied with this decision___________________________

__ I regret this decision__________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________

 

For those who work in an MVA building.

At the end of a working day I feel:

__ Less exhausted than in my previous office_________________

__ The same__________________________________________

__ More exhausted_____________________________________

__ Other______________________________________________



DISCUSSION

 

According to the MVA theory, if the MVA principles (as listed in the intoduction) are applied correctly we one expect a significant change in the well-being of the occupants. Some of the positive benefits according to MVA are: increased happiness and better health, more energy and less fatigue, less stress and greater peace of mind, and a decrease in anti-social behavior, anxiety, and depression. (See reference #1, 2, 3, and 4)

My findings support the above theory of MVA.

          Discussion of Other Theories and Studies: In addition, while I was searching for information concerning the effect of buildings on the well-being of the occupant, I learned about more studies in this area. In the last two decades, there has been more public awareness and studies regarding the effect of modern buildings on mental and physical health as well as social behavior. Due to these studies the trend is to emphasize more natural building materials, better ventilation, and less artificial lighting (see reference #5 and #6).

Another two studies were conducted recently. It was found that non-MVA buildings with southern facing entrances had more burglary incidents than other neighboring houses did.  Also that wrong direction (according to MVA) had a negative effect on the occupants’ quality of life (See reference #7). My findings support the theory and data of these studies.

                Discussion of Variables and Possible Errors: I was fully aware that this research could have been much more accurate and objective. I know that I can’t draw a strong cause-effect relationship between dependent and independent variables from this study. This is because I didn’t have the resources and time to have a control group and a long-term study. Secondly, I am aware of the issue of subjectivity, which could be an extraneous variable. Many of the subjects build their house because they were expecting some benefit, and this might affect their answer. However, I got a relatively big number of subjects who represent a large cross-section of individuals with different genders, ages, and living in different locations. Also they volunteered to answer the questionnaire, and didn’t have to identify themselves, giving them more freedom to be honest and objective. It is also very interesting to note that 56% of the subjects were over fifty years of age. Even though, this is in general a period of transformation in hormonal and metabolic levels that may affect qualities of sleep, mental activity, energy, etc. The data shows a significant improvement in this area.

In light of all the possible errors, but also in light of the significant improvements of well-being I highly recommend a thorough and long-term research project on this topic. I recommend that subjects be given questionnaires before and repeatedly after moving into an MVA building every few months to follow the changes. Also another possibility is to take occupants that are completely neutral and don’t know anything about MVA and about the purpose of the study. Then place them in an MVA building like a hotel. At the same time place an identical control group in a non-MVA building in the same area. In addition, it would be better to have the occupants examined by a medical doctor to get real accurate medical results and so the occupants cannot affect the results in any way. Naturally I didn’t have the time, resources, and volunteers for such an experiment. Nevertheless, I feel that my research as a primary experiment can contribute to future professional studies.

Analyzing the Questionnaire and the Results: Because I was aware of the problem of subjectivity I built up the questionnaire in a special way. I didn’t just ask the occupants about the relationship of their house and their well-being, but also “broke” the quality of well-being into different, detailed criteria through different questions. I think that usually people don’t expect a house to improve their creativity, efficiency, dietary habits, etc. I also left room for comments. By doing this I was able to draw more detailed and accurate information. For example: According to the general question about well-being 96% showed improvement. In a statistical analysis of all the other specific questions of well-being, the average result of improvement is 81%. This is lower than the general question’s results, but more detailed and accurate. Even with that result, I still got a significant improvement of well-being.



CONCLUSION

 

 

My hypothesis was proven right. I predicted that the well-being of the occupants of MVA buildings will improve significantly in comparison to their previous non-MVA building. Below is a summary of the results after a statistical analysis:

General Well-Being: (82 answers)

Better–79 People, 96%

Same– 3 People, 4%

Worse– 0 People, 0%

Other–0 People, 0%

 

Quality of Sleep: (81 answers)

Better–63 People, 78%

Same–16 People, 20%

Worse–0 People, 0%

Other–2 People, 2%

 

Time it Takes to Fall Asleep: (81 answers)

Less timer–45 People, 56%

Same time–33 People, 40%

More time– 0 People, 0%

Other–3 People, 4%

 

Waking Up: (81 answers)

More refreshed and energetic–62 People, 75%

The same–17 People, 21%

Less refreshed and energetic–1 People, 1%

Other–2 People, 3%

 

Energy During the Day: (80 answers)

More energetic–62 People, 78%

The same–11 People, 14%

Less energetic–2 People, 2%

Other–5 People, 6%

 

Coming Back Home: (76 answers)

Get “recharged” quicker–68 People, 90%

No change–1 People, 1%

More worn out–0 People, 0%

Other–7 People, 9%

 

General Health: (74 answers)

Improved–55 People, 75%

Same–12 People, 16%

Become worse–1 People, 1%

Other–6 People, 8%

 

Dietary Habits: (77 answers)

Improved habits–60 People, 78%

No change–15 People, 20%

Worse habits–1 People, 1 %

Other–1 People, 1%

 

Mental Feeling: (81 answers)

More happy and satisfied–74 People, 91%

The same–6 People, 8%

More unhappy and frustrated–0 People, 0%

Other–1 People, 1%

 

Stress Level: (77 answers)

More relaxed–70 People, 91%

The same–5 People, 6 %

More stressful–2 People, 3%

Other–0 People, 0%

 

Mental Activity: (81 answers)

Mind is clearer–75 People, 93%

No change–5 People, 6%

Mind is less clear–1 People, 1%

Other–0 People, 0%

         

While Acting or Working: (79 answers)

          More efficient–64 People, 81%

          Same–12 People, 15%

          Less efficient–0 People, 0%

          Other–3 People, 4%

         

Creativity: (79 answers)

More creative–60 People, 76%

No change–17 People, 22%

Less creative–0 People, 0%

Other–2 People, 2%

 

Working At an MVA Office: (49 answers)

Less exhausted–45 People, 92%

Same–3 People, 6%

More exhausted–0 People, 0%

Other–1 People, 2%

 

General Feeling About Moving: (81 answers)

Satisfied with the decision–81 People, 100%

Regret the decision –0 People, 0%

Other–0 People, 0%

 

As I already stated in my discussion, the results are very significant. I’m also aware that more expanded research is needed. This subject has vast application for people all over the world. In our modern society we spend most of the time indoors in our homes, offices, shops, etc. Therefore it is very important that the building will have a positive, life-supporting influence. It was shown that MVA expands the range of an ideal architecture – not only natural building materials, fresh air, and daylight, but also aligns the individual life with nature’s intelligence through specific direction and orientation.

My research is a primary experiment. I encourage other scientists to do more accurate, objective, and long-term research studies on this topic. I intend to send the results to other scientists, and I hope that this area will be more enlivened for the benefit of all mankind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

 

Sheila Ross, Science Fair advisor–For giving me tips on how to write a good paper and making everything clear.

 

Mary Tarnoff, science teacher at MSAE–For guiding me through the process and making sure I had everything done.

 

Cynthia Cornell, English teacher at msaE–for proofreading my paper and helping me with the grammar.

 

Dr. Fred Travis, Ph.D., Head of the Psychology department at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA, USA. For helping me write an accurate questionnaire and giving me his research on house orientation. (see reference)

 

Dr. Eike Hartman, Department Head of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda Architecture for Maharishi Vedic University in Vlodrop, Holland–Under the guidance of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he made this ancient system of architecture applicable for modern life.

 

Billie Jean Billman, Manager at Maharishi Global Construction–For exhibition materials.

 

Randy Wood–For helping me distribute questionnaires among a community of MVA houses and for telling me about people who occupy an MVA building

 

Yehoshua and Phalya-Estee Cohen, Parents–For the knowledge and information about MVA, and methodological research. Also for financing and sponsoring all of the expenses.

 

I would also like to thank all of the people who filled out my questionnaire and helped with this experiment.

 

 

 

 

REFERENCE:

 

1.     Designs According to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda Introduced by Maharishi Global Construction, (1997).

 

2.     Maharishi Global Construction web-site

http://www.mgc-vastu.com

 

3.     Veda-House web-site

http://www.vedahouse.com

 

4.     Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Building for the Health and Happiness of Everyone: Exhibition. The Netherlands, Maharishi Vedic University Press, (1998).

 

5.     Ivy. R, “Standing Up to Sprawl” Architectural Record 1,15, (1999)

 

6.     Bonshek, A. Mirror of Consciousness: Art, Creativity and Veda Delhi, Motilal Banarsidas, (1990).

 

7.     Travis, F., Bonshek, A., Butler, V., Rainforth, M., Alexander, C.N., Khare, R., Lipman, J, Can a Building's Orientation Affect the Quality of Life of the People Within? Testing Principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, Maharishi University of Management, (2000).