Feng Shui (pronounced fung-shway) refers to the idea that chi, or energy, moves through an environment via the wind and water, and the practice of Feng Shui is to optimize your environment so that the energy has the best movement.
In yoga, we call that energy pran (pronounced prahn) and we use breathing, postures and other techniques to strengthen and enhance our pran.
There are different versions of Feng Shui (just like yoga) but the one I’ve read and practiced the most is known as Western Feng Shui which uses a bagua map representing different areas, or specific topics.
The majority of this post focuses on the bagua map and how to apply it to your home or workplace, but before I jump into it, let me talk a little about my favorite form of yoga known as kriya.
Kriya, coming from the Sanskrit root of kr meaning action, and ya meaning one’s soul, is a three-stage process for cleaning up and clearing out avidya (incorrect understanding.)
The first stage of kriya is known as burning impurities and can apply to both physical or mental impurities. If you want to improve mental thinking, working on the external clutter is a good place to start. Examine how much “stuff” you have laying around, taking up space, cluttering corners and countertops. All of that excess bogs down your energy, and in turn messes up your mental clarity too.
In terms of kriya, nothing new can come into a crowded, cluttered space.
[bctt tweet=”Nothing new can come into a crowded, cluttered space.” username=”zen_shannon”]
Susan Shehata, The Space Guru, says it’s helpful to think of clutter as a messenger. “What is it telling you? Different people hold onto things for different reasons. Why does the clutter exist in the first place? Without first identifying the root cause of the clutter, external solutions may only be temporary.”
Decluttering wasn’t a part of ancient Feng Shui, probably not even yoga, because people didn’t own so much stuff. But today, clutter is choking the joy of life for too many people. Feng Shui practices are designed to enhance the flow of energy, but you may need to spend some time getting rid of the excess first.
That means get rid of the trash, paper, objects, extras. Shred old bills and insurance forms. Take the unworn clothes and unused items to a donation center. Out, out, out. Even with regularly decluttering days at my house I always there’s always more bags to eliminate.
Whether you want to only declutter your home, or you want to declutter AND apply Feng Shui, I recommend working in one room at a time. It’s too easy to start in one place, then get pulled into another one. Before long, you have your entire house torn up and feel more overwhelmed than when you started.
Not the goal of Kriya or Feng Shui.
In the Western Guide to Feng Shui by Terah Kathryn Collins describes the Bagua as “eight basic building blocks of the I Ching and each block is associated with a specific ‘treasures’ in life, such as health, wealth and love. The bagua is used to map out and enhance the energy in the home or workplace.”
To determine where the eight blocks correspond in your home, draw out the footprint–including the individual rooms–of your home, then divide the the house into nine equal squares like the above illustration.
If any part of the house juts out, such as a patio or garage, include that in the overall footprint.
This is the bagua map I did for my previous home. The front door always determines the layout of the bagua–this is where the bottom of the bagua map is situated. If you have a front door on the side of your house, then the bottom three squares (Knowledge, Career, Helpful People) would be turned to whatever side of your front door.
I’ll go through each of the eight areas, providing a few suggested enhancements, but if you’d like to really dig into working with the bagua, I’ve provided some resources at the end of this blog.
Wealth & Prosperity
The top left corner of the bagua map is Wealth & Prosperity and in relationship to your house it would be the rear left section.
You can work in this area when you want to generate more cash flow, raise money for a purchase, occasion, or charity; you’d like more awareness on the flow of abundance, or more prosperity in your life.
Suggested Wealth & Prosperity Enhancements:
- Wind chimes, wind socks, whirlygigs, and flags
- Valuable possessions such as antiques, art, coins, crystal
- Items in the colors of blue, purple and red (think the rich colors of royalty)
- Healthy plants with shiny, round (coin-shaped) leaves
- Quotes and affirmations about Wealth and Prosperity
In both my previous house and my current one, this is the master bedroom. Some enhancements I’ve done in past and present:
- Added an altar of the many gifts (including crystals, meditation beads, statues) I’ve received through work
- Paintings and the first pieces of art I purchased
- Blue comforter and pillows
fame & reputation
The top middle area of the bagua map is Fame & Reputation and is located at the back of your house.
You can work in this area when you’d like more recognition at work or home; to establish a good reputation; or be well known for something.
Suggested Fame and Reputations Enhancements:
- Diplomas, awards, prizes
- Posters, paintings, collages of animals, people, fire, sunshine or favorite celebrities
- Colors in the red spectrum
- Triangular and conical-shaped items
- Pleasant lighting including sunlight, candles
- Healthy plants with shiny, round (coin-shaped) leaves
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining and Fame and Reputation
In my previous home, this area was the master bathroom, and in my current home it’s the family room and outdoor patio.
Love & Marriage
The top right area of the bagua map is Love and Marriage and is located at the rear right area of your home.
If you’re looking for love or to strengthen a partnership, this is the area you want to focus. Look around your designated room. Is there space for another person or does everything scream single, single, single?
Suggested Love & Marriage Enhancements:
- Significant other or partner–posters, paintings, photos or figures
- Items in pairs–lovers, doves, dolphins, hearts
- Red, pink & white colors
- Anything that represents love & marriage to you
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to Love and Marriage
In my current home, this is the eat-in kitchen and laundry room. In my previous home it was the living room, and some of the enhancements I did there were:
- We had a LOT of brown (and orange) which represents wood & fire–two elements that feed each other so I toned it down by painting (hubby did really) the fireplace wall the same color. It also allowed the mantle decorations to “pop.”
- The large mirror helps bring in a water-type element to balance the overabundance of wood & fire.
- Next I changed out the trunk coffee table to the fabric ottoman. The “new” coffee table brought in softness & texture to the and has softer corners for my lil one who is learning to walk.
- My paired items: 2 candlesticks on the mantle, 2 lamps flanking the couch, 2 baskets under the ottoman, 2 decorative wall pieces.
children & creativity
Children and Creativity is located on the right middle side of your home. For my house this is the kitchen.
Enhance this area when you want to get pregnant, be more creative, creatively blocked, or improve your relationship with children.
Suggested Children & Creativity Enhancements:
- Posters, paintings, photos, figures of children, or created by children
- Supplies for creating art, crafts
- Whimsical toys, stuffed animals
- Colors in white and pastel
- Things made of brass, steel, pewter, silver, gold, copper, etc.
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to Children & Creativity
In both my previous and current home, this is the kitchen area.
In my current house, the kitchen was super dark with dark cabinets and countertops. My husband and I remodeled to all white cabinets, quartz marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances. This is the heart of our home and where all the kids drift to do homework and hangout.
There’s also a desk in the kitchen and I use it to hold all the kid’s crafting supplies, paints, etc. The island is extra large with plenty of space for three kids to spread out and be creative.
Helpful People & Travel
Helpful People & Travel is located at the front right section of your structure, or on the bagua map the bottom right square.
Enhance this area when you want to attract mentors, clients, customers, colleagues; you’d like to travel or a specific destination; planning to move to a new home or work; or feel more connected to your spirituality or religious beliefs.
Suggested Helpful People & Travel Enhancements:
- Pictures of places you’ve traveled
- Pictures of mentors
- Colors in white gray and black
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to spiritual guidance, helpful people or travel
- Places that are special to you in the world.
Your career center is located in the bottom middle or the front of your home.
Enhance this area when you are looking to or changing jobs or careers; you are going from one type of work to another; or you want volunteer or do community work.
Suggested Career Enhancements:
- Water–streams, oceans, lakes, ponds, waterfalls in pictures, posters, photos or fountains & aquariums
- Very dark colors–black, navy blue, maroon, chocolate browns, charcoal gray
- Randomly shaped or free-form items
- Mirrors, glass & crystal items
- Anything that represents career to you
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to Career
My husband and I had only been together a few months when I lost my corporate job. We were in the middle of building a house so I needed another job quickly in order to close on time. This was the first instance he’d seen me put Feng Shui into practice, and it came with a few eye rolls from him.
In our small apartment, the dining room corresponded to Career and I went out and bought a few items to enhance the area, and a week later when I’d secured another job (with more money), my husband was less dismissive.
Now this area gets a regular boost, and my husband usually asks me to check in this area when he’s looking to make a change or wants a promotion.
In my current house this is the entry and part of the formal dining room. In my previous home, it was also the formal dining.
- I added visual interest by doing some stenciling. Then I moved a small entry table (until I find a glass & swirly chrome one) onto the wall so it could display my career enhancements.
- The pictures are in black frames & one photo is a favorite–Monaco Harbor
- Decorative books with black & navy blue covers
- Mirror hanging over the table (already a part of the room)
- To the right are two art pieces that are blue & black with swirly centers
- On the table are 2 glass candle holders
- The small table & dining table are dark brown wood
I put some focus on the fall holidays by changing out my table centerpiece & setting the table with my beloved Grandma’s original Apple dinnerware. Not really career related but it makes me happy & that’s always important for positive energy flow.
And since according to the bagua layout of my house, the entry is also part of my career center, I included some enhancements there. **After working on this area at my previous home, two checks finally came in the mail I’d been not-so-patiently waiting for.
Knowledge & Cultivation
Knowledge & Cultivation is the front left section of your home, or the bottom left area of bagua map.
Enhance this area when you are a student of any subject; you’re in counseling or in a self-growth activity; or you want to cultivate a more peaceful mind or lifestyle.
Suggested Knowledge & Cultivation Enhancements:
- Books, tapes, and other material being currently studied
- Posters, paintings, photos of mountains, quiet spaces, wise people
- Colors in black, blue and green
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to knowledge and self-cultivation
This area is always a good place for a book shelf with your favorite books, or any of the enhancements listed in the above bullets. Bring in the colors and find some quotes, and your knowledge and cultivation area is good to go.
Health & Family
Health & Family is located in the left center area of the map or the middle left of your home.
Enhance this area when your health needs a boost; planning or recovering from surgery; want a relationship with your family to improve, or want your social life or “family of choice” to grow.
Suggested Health & Family Enhancements:
- Healthy plants of all kinds
- Fresh cut flowers in all kinds
- Posters, paintings and photos of ideal body images, family and friends, plants and flowers
- Items in blue and green
- All things made of wood
- Quotes and affirmations pertaining to Health and Family
This is one area that’s always good to keep up-to-date because who likes being unhealthy as well as family being an important focus in many of our lives.
Want to learn more about Feng Shui?
- I’ve curated a board for you on Pinterest.
- Check out the free resources at my favorite site, Western School of Feng Shui.