Feng Shui 101: Simple Steps to Fix Your Flow

By Jessica Howell

Feng ShuiHas your Chi checked out? If you flow is faltering and your chakras are out of whack, it might be time to take a look at feng shui: the ancient, intricate Chinese art of balancing energy in spaces like a home or office. While the concept itself can seem overwhelmingly complicated, there are a few simple rules that Westerners like ourselves can follow to infuse some Eastern-world insight into our lives.

Start at the Front Door

Chi – the energy that surrounds us – should flow freely through a home, according to the principles of feng shui. Test the flow of your home by standing at the front door, imagining a cold breeze or fluid stream coming through it. Ask yourself, where would that breeze or water travel? Would it instantly be blocked by a wall; would it flow straight to the back door? Ideally, your door should open easily, and create an open, spacious path that allows Chi to move from room to room. AVOID:

  • Direct alignment of front and back doors – which can cause Chi to flow out without fully circulating.
  • A staircase opposite of your front door – which forces Chi upstairs, rather than on the lower level first.
  • A mirror that faces your front door – since it’s believed to reflect and send away good Chi.

Cultivate Calm in the Kitchen

The kitchen, where you prepare and consume all that tasty nourishment for your body, is a central location when it comes to feng shui. Because all five of the concept’s elements live here – fire (oven), water (sink), metal (appliances), wood (cabinetry) and earth (food), balance is especially important. And, since we typically move around quite a bit when cooking up a storm, a spacious workflow is equally critical. AVOID:

  • Stoves that back up to walls – place your stove on an island or peninsula, if possible, or hang a mirror or decorative element behind it to “reflect”.
  • Relying on only one stove burner – vary the use of each burner so that all are used equally (burners represent money, so you’ll definitely want to follow this trick).
  • Sinks and stoves that are next to or directly across from one another – since water and fire elements are opposite.

Liven up the Living Room

Intended to be a gathering space for friends and family, the living room is a unique space in the house, and so it deserves extra attention when it comes to familial flow. Rather than filling a small room with bulky furniture and mammoth TVs, try to arrange furniture in a circle to spur conversation and allow guests to face one another when sitting down. Include both mirrors and leafy plants in this room, to help “move” energy smoothly around it. AVOID:

  • Carpeting that doesn’t flow in the direction of the room – which could prevent the free movement of energy.
  • Spiky plants like cacti or anything with sharp leaves – unless the room specifically needs protection.
  • A dark space – since lots of light and good air circulation promote positive flow.

Feng-Shui Your Slumber

Getting a good night’s rest is key to keeping energy abuzz. For that reason, feng shui plays an important role in the bedroom, where we seek rest, relaxation, and hopefully, something a little spicier from time to time. To keep the mood (ahem – we mean atmosphere) right, make sure that the room is uncluttered and clean. That’s right, just because it’s the one place guests rarely step foot, does not mean it can serve as a dumping ground for all of your stuff. AVOID: Positioning your bed against a wall – which can inhibit the flow of Chi; keeping a TV in the room –which creates distraction and can prevent sound sleep; relaxation-inducing fountains or fish tanks – as water in the bedroom could invite financial distress (no thanks!).

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