Balance, Light and Energy
Create a harmonious home by using feng shui to mimic balance in nature
The itch to touch up walls and rearrange furniture comes on strong when spring wildflowers bloom. The season of renewal compels us to throw open our windows and let the energy, light and life flow in.
Feng shui helps us do just that. For thousands of years, the practice has served to bridge the gap between nature and the home through thoughtful architecture and design.
“Feng shui includes two Chinese characters, feng and shui, which translate to wind and water,” said Yanning Wang, associate professor of Chinese language and literature at Florida State University. “What we care about is the spiritual influence of these elements.”
Wind and water represent the balance that exists within nature. The feng shui philosophy calls for extending that balance to the home by creating a free flow of positive chi, or lifeforce energy.
The principles of feng shui can be applied to many aspects of home design, all in the interest of promoting wellness in areas including health, family, wealth, reputation, love, creativity, friendship, career and spiritual growth.
Joey Yap, chief consultant of the Joey Yap Consulting Group and a popular YouTube personality, has spent his life studying feng shui and teaching others how to utilize the practice. He and Wang combined to provide a few guidelines for using feng shui to create harmony in your home.
To begin with, look for a house that faces south. Why? It’s all about sunlight. Feng shui posits that a home bathed in light benefits from the sun’s energy in much the same way that plants do. Sunlight is nourishing, energizing and illuminating.
Inside, too, light is important. Feng shui refers to the space directly inside the front door as the “bright room.” It is the first thing you see when you arrive home from work. It sets the tone for guests who come calling.
Foregoing lamps and other forms of artificial light in favor of large windows and open blinds makes a home feel warm and inviting. Additionally, the bright room should be free of any obstructions, no matter how stylish. Connection between the natural environment and the home is an essential principle of feng shui, so you want this space to be clear and open.
Couches, tables or large plants positioned at the entry of your home block light and the flow of the positive energy coming in through your front door.
Using feng shui to balance the energy within kitchens is especially important for families who regularly cook and eat together. The layout of the kitchen can affect health, especially if it presents a “fire and water clash.” Feng shui, like many ancient Chinese practices, relies on a symbolic elemental system, which includes earth, wood, fire, water and metal.
Pairing fire and water creates friction. For this reason, the stove and sink should not be side by side or face one another directly. If necessary, balance can be achieved by adding a wood element, like a plant or bowl, between appliances.
People are working from home today more than ever before. Creating a home office that promotes focus and productivity can be both appealing and essential. Rather than pushing your desk up against the wall and sitting with your back toward the room, flip things around. Staring at a wall all day stifles creativity and may lead your mind to wander away from the task at hand. Rather, pull the desk out a bit and sit with your back against the wall. This is often referred to as a “position of power” in feng shui, and is said to open up your field of vision and invite positive, productive energy.
When the workday is done, we need a place to rest and reset. This is where the practice of feng shui calls upon the idea of yin and yang. This circular black-and-white symbol represents a balance between passivity, or yin, and activity, or yang. Windows and doors represent yang, as they allow light, activity and energy to freely move in and out of a given space. Sleep, however, is a yin activity. Therefore, feng shui maintains that your headboard should rest against a wall without windows or doors whenever possible.
Whether magic, myth or lingering lessons of enlightenment from days gone by, the principles of feng shui have survived millennia. It couldn’t hurt to try them out in your space and time.