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What Is Feng Shui: Understanding the Ancient Art of Harmony and Balance

Feng shui is an ancient practice that originated in China. It is a set of principles designed to create balance and peace within a living space. The idea of feng shui is to transform or rearrange your living or working space to foster an optimal environment that best aligns with your goals while maintaining a sense of harmony and peace.

While the practice has grown substantially over recent years, with feng shui consultants across the United States and minimalist, clutter-free lifestyles promoted by Marie Kondo, feng shui is an old practice with roots in Chinese culture.

Feng Shui Principles and the Elements of This Practice

Feng shui is centered around five elements: wood, fire, earth, water, and metal. Each element plays a significant role in arranging your living space to balance the energy flow, which creates harmony.

Fire signifies boldness and a sense of leadership, wood symbolizes creativity and inner growth, water is inspiring, metal symbolizes a sense of order and focus, and earth resembles strength.

When you work with a feng shui practitioner, the aim is to balance these five elements within your home so that you can thrive and enjoy harmony in your personal space. Feng shui is associated with balancing energies that bring about a sense of peace.

When you work with a feng shui expert, they will assess your apartment or living space to determine how well-balanced your home encompasses yin, feminine energy, and yang, masculine energy.

It’s essential to ensure that your home embodies both energies to achieve balance. Yang often includes heat, social ability, and daytime or sunlight, whereas yin includes coolness, solitude or quiet, and the nighttime.

Using the Bagua Map in Feng Shui

Feng shui masters often use a Bagua map, an interactive tool that lays out various stations or areas that symbolize marriage, fame, wealth, health, and other attributes that contribute to a balanced, meaningful life.

This map is lined up with a floor plan of your living space, which helps you optimize where to place particular objects, furniture, and colors to create an optimal interior design that best matches your needs.

The idea of using the Bagua map in conjunction with your home or workspace is to shuffle or rearrange your items to maximize positive energy flow. For example, moving artwork from one wall to another or placing furniture differently may “correct” an area in your life or space that feels off or unbalanced.

Modern Applications of Feng Shui in Everyday Life

Incorporating feng shui may seem challenging, especially in smaller living spaces like urban homes and bachelor-sized apartments. It’s often easy to accumulate a lot of items within a short period, which creates clutter, especially in poorly designed spaces with limited windows or sunlight exposure.

Fortunately, feng shui offers a solution where you can improve energy in your home, to bring about happiness and better health.

When redesigning your living space with feng shui principles, this practice, which means “wind and water,” with connections to Taoism. The idea of organizing your living space based on feng shui elements represents the greater flow of energy in your life and how you react to them.

While smaller spaces aren’t necessarily a problem, they can quickly become overcrowded and stressful when there’s too much clutter and a lack of space.

While significant changes are needed to achieve a balanced living space, many feng shui experts recommend just a few shifts or simple steps. These small steps towards creating a healthy environment can improve various aspects of your life, including love, prosperity, and health.

Women meditating in a yoga class

Taking the First Steps: Practical Tips for Feng Shui

If you’re just starting with this ancient practice, helpful feng shui tips can help you improve the positive energy in your life and home. You may live in a small, older home that requires major renovations or a modern, small apartment or mixed living and workspace that could use a few adjustments.

When you plan a major overhaul of your space, either with renovations or interior design, it’s easier to incorporate feng shui practices. However, you can make simple changes, or shifts, in your home to accomplish significant improvements.

Maximize Sources of Natural Light

Natural sources of light are vital for our mental health and positive energy. If you have small windows or limited exposure to sunlight, clear any items from the window sills or immediate areas to get the most out of them. Skylights are an excellent way to increase natural sunlight, though this solution isn’t always available or suitable for every living space.

Reduce Clutter to Create More Space

Whether you have a large house or a small apartment, clutter can quickly accumulate, especially in areas of your home where you spend the most time.

While it can be challenging to sort through excess items to decide which ones to keep, it’s important to remember that decluttering is more about reducing stress and negative energy than creating an aesthetic space. Marie Kondo is one of the world’s leading experts on creating a functional, healthy living space, and her methods have helped transform many homes.

Add a Few Plants to Your Living Space

Whether you add a collection of plants, or just a tiny cactus or succulent, adding green to your home or working space is a great way to incorporate the wood and earth elements into your life. It’s a great way to increase financial success and opportunities while softening the visuals of your desk or home office.

It’s vital to clear other items from your desk and working area, leaving just the main goals or focus visible. Focus on keeping only the essentials, including your business card, project, or strategy, next to one or two symbols of luck and good fortune, such as a lucky cat or figurine.

Create a Space Focused on Growth and Happiness

When you remove clutter and rearrange your space to maximize natural light, you’ll increase the potential for productivity and wealth. It’s essential to consider the theme or essence of each room in your home and focus on these as you redecorate or move items around.

For example, your bedroom should be a space of relaxation, peace, and calmness, with soft light and artwork or designs that encourage a good night’s rest.

On the other hand, your work area should focus on building wealth, productivity, and networking for tremendous success and opportunities.

Consider Your Home as an Extension of Your Personal Space

Our home is where we retreat to unwind after a long day, and feng shui can optimize our space to create a beautiful realm with positive energy for our benefit.

Whether you live alone or share your space with others, it’s crucial to make improvements in accordance with feng shui, as if other people live with you. This process will not only prepare your home for guests, but it gives a sense that you can provide for more, even in small ways.

For example, you can add two towels to your washroom towel rack instead of one and create a space in your living room or dining area to seat one or two more people.

Even if you don’t usually entertain guests or family, this accommodation allows for more space for you. It creates an inviting, welcoming presence for the next person who enters your living space in the future.

Adapt Your Space to Your Current Life

Major changes, such as the breakup of a relationship or the loss of employment, can impact lives significantly. It can be tempting to hold onto items symbolic of the past, even objects that embody negative emotions, though ultimately, removing or minimizing them as much as possible is best.

While you may want to remember positive memories and photographs, parting with anything that stirs adverse reactions or creates tension in your mind and body is crucial.

Feng Shui stone lantern

Feng Shui and Managing Your Expectations

Feng shui is a wonderful practice that brings renewal and positivity to your home and workspace. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on new opportunities and possibilities that improve your life. While there are many benefits in following feng shui practices, it’s essential to manage your expectations and be open to a wide range of results.

Initially, feng shui offers a practical way to clear your space of excessive clutter while bringing a sense of balance and inspiration. While many people expect experiences of life-changing benefits with feng shui principles, it won’t resolve all matters, and it may take a while to notice positive results.

Instead, feng shui unlocks your inner potential by creating more space for positive energy flow, so you can embrace change for the better, which can lead to many benefits in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Whether you take minimal steps towards incorporating feng shui into your life or plan to consult an expert on the practice, you’ll learn and experience many benefits in your home or office.

Feng shui also brings many practical advantages into your life, which can help you organize and maintain a living space that’s more productive and positive for you. You can start slowly, make small changes, or dive into a complete transformation along with renovations or redecorating your home.

Feng shui design is a great option when you buy or rent a new home or office space, as it will help you incorporate positive chi energy from the start. It’s a beautiful practice that brings harmony and peace into your space and life.