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What is Feng Shui?

June 12, 2021

On the Holistic Havens blog I share what inspires me about simple, intentional design, and how it affects our mind, body, and spirit.

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What is Feng Shui? Part One.

Feng Shui, which literally translates to “wind water”, is a method of enhancing a person’s wellbeing by channeling the positive energies in a space. Contrary to Westernized beliefs, Feng Shui is not a religion or an interior design style, but an art that is actually very accessible to everyone.

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is an ancient mindfulness practice dating back to 7th century Buddhist Indians. Over time this practice molded and shaped itself into the modernized version of Feng Shui that we hear about today, and yet there are many layers to the practice of Feng Shui – more than placing a mirror here, or painting a wall over there.

Over time, the art of Feng Shui was verbally communicated from teacher to student, and from India to Tibet and then China, picking up characteristics from practices like Tibetan Buddhism, Toaism, and Chinese Folklore along the way. But, Feng Shui is not a religion, nor is it too “woo woo” of a philosophy. When we think about it in simple, pared down terms, Feng Shui is something that anyone can practice.

If someone were to tell you that there was a way to enhance how your home or office supports you both physically and mentally, would you agree to try it?  It’s safe to say that majority of people asked this question would say, “Yes, How?” And, really, there’s a variety of ways to answer that question…

There’s the physical placement of objects – removing clutter so that the occupant can easily move through their space, or organizing an office closet so that they can find what they need to perform their job. There’s also cleanliness – keeping a bathroom clean to promote a sanitary, healthy environment, or wiping down the refrigerator and throwing away old, rotting food.  And, there’s decorating – choosing colors for the walls or furniture that uplift the inhabitants spirits, or placing photos of family and friends in the home to remind them of their support network.

These can all be considered Feng Shui practices…

And, it makes sense, doesn’t it? The stressful, heavy feeling that a home or office seems to exude when it’s cluttered, dark and dirty, can be reversed. And, it can promote the opposite feeling.

And, it makes sense, doesn’t it? The stressful, heavy feeling that a home or office seems to exude when it’s cluttered, dark and dirty, can be reversed. And, it can promote the opposite feeling.

Where it gets even more interesting is when we start to look at the deeper layers. According to Feng Shui, that “feeling” is part of something bigger – our “Ch’i”, life force, or energy. It’s the balance between yin and yang, physical and spiritual, masculine and feminine, mundane and transcendental, and inner and outer. It’s a holistic practice of improving environmental ch’i to, in turn, promote wellbeing for the inhabitant.

When we think about Feng Shui as more than a mirror or accent wall, we arrive at a mindfulness practice linking our personal energy with the energy of our physical surroundings.

How do you practice Feng Shui?

Now that we’ve established what Feng Shui fundamentally is – creating a harmonious environment to promote an inhabitants wellbeing – let’s talk about how to practice it.

There are things that anyone can do around their home or office to enhance ch’i, and there are consultants who can come into the space and help on a deeper level. Both ways are helpful as long as intentions are coming from a place of mindfulness.

Mindfulness and Feng Shui go hand in hand. In order to call something into your life, the intention must first be pure – and that’s where mindfulness comes into play. To break it down even more, let’s think about a yoga instructor.

Yoga instructors go through trainings, and while trainings differ, most ask the instructor to first be a student. A yoga teacher cannot safely guide and adjust students if they do not understand how a pose feels in their own body, or how to be present in their own practice. It’s safe to say that a majority of people would not enjoy a yoga class from a teacher who’s thoughts were scattered during class, or who took them through poses in way that felt painful or wrong in their bodies.

The practice of Feng Shui asks you to be the student first – to take care of yourself first. It’s about knowing the root behind your desire to call in a new partner, or to advance in your career. For it to be energetically effective, for the adjustment to manifest, it must first feel right to the person who is calling in the change.

Taking it one step further, asking this question of, “How do I practice Feng Shui,” first ask yourself, “Why do I want to practice Feng Shui,” and see what comes up.

Yes, there are some Feng Shui adjustments that you could easily implement today, and that could have very impactful results. However, if you want to dive deeper into this practice – the mindfulness, intention, transcendental, etc. – then it’s worth it to take things slower. Explore the meaning behind your desire for change before you begin to make adjustments.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog series, “The Feng Shui Bagua” to learn how to lay the bagua on your space.


Want a little bit more?

Stay tuned for practical, accessible tips to implement Feng Shui in your home by joining the Club Haven Newsletter, and following along on social media @HolisticHavens.

Have more specific questions? Feel free to contact me.  

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