Tap into this ancient philosophy to transform your surroundings for a more harmonised and peaceful living space
Evolving from a realisation that we are affected by our surroundings, feng shui was born. Have you ever walked into a place and picked up ‘bad vibes’, or felt that you could cut the tension with a knife? That’s feng shui at work! This ancient Chinese philosophy is a system used for creating balance and harmony in our lives through the cultivation of the energy flow, or ‘chi’, around our homes. We show you how to harness its powers in order to make your home more Zen for a better well-being.
Why feng shui?
“Feng shui teaches us that nothing stays the same,” explains expert Davina Mackail. “The state of impermanence is the only truth. Within this state of change, we are working with the totality of parts to create a constantly mutating, holistic harmony in our homes and lives.” Everything in our lives and the world is energetically connected. This stems back to our immediate surroundings – our homes. “Everything in our homes has a corresponding impact on our lives, either positive or negative, because we are energetically connected with them,” says Davina. “It is relatively easy to see how colour in a room or natural light, the style of furniture, type of art, ornaments, living plants and so on can affect our experience of a place and determine whether or not we feel comfortable.”
What is chi?
Chi is an invisible energy – a life force that permeates all things, and its existence is prominent throughout many cultures. It’s the philosophy of the cosmic dance between heaven and earth. In order to understand feng shui, you must be able to identify, understand, harmonise and transform chi.
Balance your sheng chi and sha chi
Within feng shui, there are two primary conditions we must seek to balance – sheng chi and sha chi. Once these are balanced, you can ensure a harmonious home where good energy flows through freely.
This is the beneficial chi that spirals around a clear, clean space. It’s able to spiritually nourish the occupants that enter. We can cultivate sheng chi by practising the following:
• Clean, clutter free environments • Vibrant and healthy plants and flowers throughout • Beautiful music, artwork and décor • Incense and scented candles • Soft textures • Vibrant woods • Clean water • Positive vibes and good feelings
This is the harmful chi that collects in dark areas, accumulating in obstructed passageways. You need to redirect this from places where it gathers, such as:
• Damp and rotting food • Chronic clutter • Loud noises • Overflowing rubbish bins • Broken items • Toxic fumes • Bad vibes such as toxic thoughts and negative feelings
NOW TRY THIS…
1 Pause for a moment and rub your hands together vigorously several times.
2 Bring your palms close to your face, but not touching. You should be able to feel a ball of invisible energy between them. That’s chi.
3 If you can’t feel it, rub your hands together longer and harder to try again.
Yin & yang
“After chi, yin and yang is the next fundamental feng shui principle,” Davina tells us. “If we understand this, then we can develop the confidence to alter our space intuitively. Yin and yang represent the two primary forces of chi, which has been a part of Chinese philosophy for thousands of years.” To be able to work your magic with feng shui, you need to understand the fluctuating nature of the two energies and how chi drives them. “Feng shui is all about finding the balance in a constantly fluctuating universe, and this is beautifully represented in the ubiquitous yin and yang,” she explains. What drives these two opposing forces is what we are looking to achieve in our living spaces, with some rooms more yin, and some more yang. Across are some of the energies and qualities of the two, but remember that nothing is ever fully yin or full yang.
“Now walk around your home with the above list of yin and yang qualities, looking for the interplay of the two. For example, you want your bedroom more yin, in order to sleep better, whereas your living room should be more yang so it is energised and vibrant for socialising. Feng shui helps us restore and maintain this balance. If something is too sharp, add softness. If it is too cold, add warmth with colour. If it is too bright, add some shade.”
• Feminine • Nurturing • Night-time • Moon • Water • Creativity • Meditation • Reading, sleeping, resting • Soft lighting and shadows • Softer, muted colours
• Physical manifestation • Natural lights • Masculine • Dynamic • Daytime • Sun • Fire • Working • Sports • Vibrant, louder colours
The Yellow Emporer, in 2,600 BCE introduced a deeper look at the yin and yang cycle, and included the five elements of transformation. These make up the universe, with the elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal forming the basic building blocks. Davina explains, “Good feng shui requires a balance of these five elements, both within a home and within a room. We naturally feel more comfortable in a balanced environment, and feng shui considers the relationship between the particular elements.” The five elements can be expressed in the home in the following ways:
• Fire: Purple, red colour spectrum; electrical items such as televisions and radios; candles, lights, fireplaces
• Earth: Yellow, orange, brown colour spectrum; crystals, rocks, statues, tiles floors, ceramics, plants
• Metal: Gold, silver, white and metallic colour spectrum; metal frames and appliances; metal wind chimes
• Water: Blue, black colour spectrum; water features: ponds, fish tanks, fountains; paintings of seascapes
• Wood: Green colour spectrum; upward growing plants such as bamboo; tall wooden furniture; standing lamps; paintings of trees and forestry
“Feng shui works best in the utter simplicity of small daily actions”, explains Davina Simple steps can bring calm to your surroundings and yourself. Start with a bright vase of flowers to help raise your home’s earth element, or a small water feature in your bedroom to activate yin energy. “Enjoy creating a healing sanctuary for yourself. Let it evolve as you evolve and before long you will have created a harmonious haven that becomes your healing hub.”
The 10 Commandments of Feng Shui
1 Clear the clutter
2 Keep the front entrance of your home well maintained
3 Allow chi to flow freely
4 Contain the chi energy, i.e don’t let it rush by too quickly
5 Make sure everything works
6 Check out your home for negative earth symbols
7 Be aware of the images and symbols in your home
8 Create a quiet sanctuary in your bedroom
9 Make the kitchen a centre of calm
10 Love your home and it will love you
Want to read more?
Davina Mackail is a feng shui and space clearing expert who has studied and practised in the field for over 20 years. Read more in Feng Shui (£8.99, Hay House), out now.