Feng Shui is an ancient concept that combines science, art, and philosophy. It has been used for hundreds of years to influence the development and design of cities, villages, palaces, and cemeteries throughout China. Yin and yang is the most widely known model among western cultures. This is a model emphasizing balance between opposites or opposing energies. The philosophy that the natural balance of energy found within the earth that brings about change also influences our body, mind, and spirit is the basis for many of the Feng Shui practices that we will explore here.
Origins of Feng Shui
Feng Shui practices began in ancient China as part of the observation of the natural changes in seasons and the influence of energy observed from natural sources such as running water, mountains, and weather patterns that directed the wind. As early as 221 B.C ancient Chinese geographers studied mountain ranges and built huge palaces and structures such as the Great Wall based on their observations. The close relationship between geographical energy sources such as rivers, mountains, buildings, and agricultural sites is well documented in volumes of ancient literature. Throughout history many forms of Feng Shui have developed yet all focus on enhancing the natural energies of a structure or landscape to promote health, well-being, and good fortune.
Feng Shui comes from two words that are translated as wind and water. These are two basic elements that flow throughout the earth. Both wind (air) and water are essential for life. Together these elements impact the quality of life on every level. The life force provided by the balance of these energies is known as chi. Feng Shui uses the placement of furnishings as well as other design options to enhance the chi, life force, or energy within homes, offices, and landscapes.
In Feng Shui designs, furniture placement is used to encourage an open, unhindered flow of energy and to avoid congestion. For those living in apartments or small living spaces, this provides the advantage of an uncluttered area that gives the illusion of more space. You will often be advised to place desks, sofas, or beds in a command position that allows a clear view of the door but off slightly to one side. This is a position most of us naturally are drawn to.
During meetings for example, many people instinctively seek out seating in these areas. The ideal is to have enough furniture for comfort arranged to attract and encourage a positive flow of energy without cluttering your living space. Placing large pieces of furniture such as a sofa against a wall not only opens up a room to more energy but you are then free to design a cozy grouping around that area where family and guests will feel relaxed and safe.
In addition to encouraging the flow of positive energy, Feng Shui designs are a great way to organize small apartments or living spaces. Every detail is planned to work together to bring a balance into the home or office. Furniture is chosen for beauty and function while keeping clutter to a minimum.
Everything that is a part of successful design has a useful function and when not in use has a designated place. Because of the recognized benefits Fen Shui designs provide, consultants report an increased request for information and assistance to design these beautiful living spaces.
Learn more about Feng Shui by checking out these additional resources:
- History of Feng Shui – As part of a seminar series, this article gives an extensive look at the history of Feng Shui and the development of various Feng Shui techniques throughout Chinese history.
- Feng Shui and Environmental Design Principles (PDF) – In addition to explaining basic design principles used in Feng Shui, this document also explores the methods used when considering home sites.
- Principles of Feng Shui – Here you can learn more about the principles of balance between the opposites Yin and Yang. The importance of incorporating essential elements of earth, wood, metal, fire and water into your home is also explained.
- Feng Shui: The Wind and Water – The translation of Feng Shui means wind and water. This page explores the historical background of this ancient Chinese concept. The basis of Feng Shui is to align a home, garden, or place of business to obtain the best energy throughout these spaces.
- General Feng Shui Guidelines for the Home – This is a great place to begin thinking about the importance of furniture placement as well as practices to enhance the energy flow within your home. These tips from a Feng Shui consultant provide a great deal of information to consider when designing your home based on Feng Shui principles.
- Feng Shui and the Bedroom (PDF) – This article discusses the importance of the bedroom as a sanctuary of rest and retreat. As you explore the ideas in this article you are asked to consider that everything in your room is alive with positive or negative energies, is connected, and overall your bedroom should be a place of safety and security.
- Benefits of Feng Shui – There are many benefits to embracing the Feng Shui concepts. Some benefits are physical comfort, organizing to take advantage of all areas of your home, and emotional advantages that create a home that encourages a sense of peace and tranquility. Within this article you can discover more that Feng Shui can do, as well as learn about common misconceptions.
- Description of Feng Shui – The history of Feng Shui is described on this page along with some beautiful images from the Ming dynasty carpenter's manual.
- The Principles of Wind and Water – A detailed description of what was done to make one government house in Hong Kong deflect "secret sorrows" through the use of Feng Shui.
- Feng Shui and Your Health – Find out how a harmonious environment can improve your health and what can happen in a cluttered environment.
by: Kylie Richardson