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 Environmental Health & Green Living

March 2011
In Pursuit of Happiness
Rekha Reddy
Happiness! Man’s one point agenda in life. By and large at least, if not each and everyone’s. And in pursuit of that happiness, we realise that superseding the basics of health, wealth and good luck is peace of mind.

Today’s world is a whirl, with life seeming to spin faster than the earth on its axis. Most essential in these times is measures to rest the mind, helping cope with the rest of the day. There are several means to this and one delightful way is through the practice of flower arrangement, especially the Japanese way of Ikebana.

Ikebana is a traditional art. In the Japanese language, ‘Ike’ means to arrange and ‘hana’ means flowers. The main aim of Ikebana is to observe nature and bring it indoors. Fresh leaves and flowers along with dry sticks and twigs can be arranged in a simple manner bringing beauty and even more important, serenity, to the area where they are placed.

Soothe the Mind
The arrangements are pleasing to the eye; they add to the aesthetics of a room and soothe the mind. Those with bright sunny colours can elevate the mood of a person and help to think positively. Arrangements with white and pastel flowers or landscape arrangements with an expanse of water being can calm the mind. The fact that the practice soothes the mind may eventually help cope with or get over psychosomatic disorders.

From conditions like depression, headaches, even Attention Deficit Disorder in children, flowers and foliage work in some way on the brain chemistry making them feel better.Flowers and their fragrances can reduce stress, working positively towards elevated blood pressure levels.

Practising Ikebana is not only a creative exercise but also a journey towards personal development.Ikebana has the nuances of Zen philosophy to it. It becomes a way of meditation and a route to inner peace if practised well. It creates patience and understanding at a subtle level, which results in a calmer nature. This in turn means less tension and stress.

As one delves into flowers and nature, the soothing elements it has to offer are absorbed leaving the path to the pursuit of happiness smoother.

BOX 1-Basics
The basic materials necessary for doing a flower arrangement are,
  • Container or vase [suiban]-These can be of ceramic, glass, brass, plastic, terracotta and many more materials.
  • Pinholder [kenzan]
  • Cutter [hasami]
  • Flowers and leaves- Ordinary garden flowers like kanakambaram, bougainvillea and hibiscus or exotic flowers like orchids and anthuriums can be used in arrangements.
  • Driftwood, dry twigs, painted sticks etc 
BOX 2-Tips
  • Cut flowers and leaves from the garden early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Give stems an angular cut so that they absorb more water.
  • Arrange material in different heights and angles for a natural look.
  • Use common garden material as much as cut flowers from the florist
  • Observe and imitate nature in you vase AND respect it!
  Ohryu Rekha Reddy President, Ikebana International Hyderabad Associate 1st Master, Ohara Ikebana

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