“Chi Chi” is just one of the many absurd names I call my dog, Ice Cream. “Chi” without my high pitched baby voice and when left unrepeated actually refers to the positive “life breath,” or essentially the energy present in life. Chi runs through the limbs of your body, our Earth, the heavens, your home.
“Sha,” however, is the opposite of Chi (or Qi) and is generally negative. Phone lines, highways, canals promote Sha. Chi is more associated with organic or less uniform, curvey shapes. The more Chi your dwelling harbors, the more positive your life’s setting can be.
Feng Shui is the practice of enabling, embracing or encouraging Chi by design. With Feng Shui you can encourage Chi and discourage Sha.
Regardless of your knowledge, experience or opinion of Feng Shui as a system, its emphasis on promoting the presence of nature in the home indisputably lifts moods, improves mental and physical performance and lowers stress-levels. As Adam Altar explains in his research-based piece, “How Nature Resets Our Minds and Bodies” from The Atlantic, “People who are exposed to natural scenes aren’t just happier or more comfortable; the very building blocks of their physiological well-being also respond positively to natural therapy. Natural environments promote calmness and well-being in part because they expose people to low levels of stress.”
The nice thing about Feng Shui is that it offers us a strong, ready-made blueprint for adding the balance of nature into man-made/designed buildings. Additionally, the philosophy of Feng Shui has been globalized, commercialized and promoted. Its accessibility makes it an excellent starting point for those looking to not only improve the interior design of their homes but also for those who may be looking to remove stress from their lives.
While Feng Shui requests specific structures and placements in home design, not all are realistically attainable in rental units, location and budgets. For example, designing a round driveway rather that a straight and skinny one is not an option in your apartment building. You probably can’t afford to remove the stairwell in your entrance way. But, there are much more affordable ways of ensuring Feng Shui in your home, particularly in the realm of decor.
Because one of the many positive aims of Feng Shui is to include, emulate and reflect the balance of nature within the dwelling, appealing details apparent in nature can be presented into the home by adding some basic, mainstream decor or simply by rearranging some of the decor already present in your home.
7 Easy, Effective Feng Shui Ingredients that Increase Chi in Your Home
1. Plants. Perhaps the most obvious method of inserting nature into the home is by growing and maintaining indoor plants. Ideally, potted, healthy plants work best to enliven and relax moods. Also they work to clean up the air in your home, and they smell great. Cut flowers can also harness some Chi and bring nature into the setting.
2. Water. Here’s another place where cut flowers are effective because they are placed in water. Fish bowls, floating tea lights, cut bamboo all allow water into the home. Another method of adding water’s peace into a dwelling, is with water imagery by way of paintings or photography. No wonder that magnet with an image of a beach on it pleases you when you open the fridge.
3. Crystal. Yep, here’s another nice bonus of cut flowers; if they are placed in a crystal vase they also encourage more Chi. Crystal shows its glimmering presence in nature through ice and rock, where it captures and reproduces light in an almost magical way. A gorgeous rock on display in the home is the most loyal to Feng Shui. However, a crystal vase, a chandelier, a crystal candle holder can all produce similar benefits.
4. Glow. Glowing light, similar to the hues of sunsets and sunrise, enable the presence of Chi. Particularly, on the weekdays, after spending an unnatural amount of hours in cheap efficient neon lighting, a small lamp, a few candles and even a string of lights calms me down. Also, small lighting like a candle can enliven a dark corner.
5. Mirror. This one can be tricky because a mirror’s Chi greatly depends on its placement in the home. Mirrors, like calm water, reflect vivid scenery. When finding a spot for a mirror, aim to have it reflect natural, calming views. A mirror can reflect the view of your garden when placed in front of a window, thereby increasing the benefits of the pretty view. However, mirrors can also function as a kind of Chi or Sha shepherd by rerouting with their reflections. The Sha of a highway outside your window can be bounced off a mirror instead of directly moving around your place.
6. Metal. The tinker and chime of metal, especially when produced as a result of wind, harness the Chi of the breeze and herd it into the home. I have a wind chime on my balcony that can lull me to sleep. Another effective location for metal is in windows or entrances, so that outside Chi can be further welcomed into the interior of the home.
7. Garland. Because Chi is closely tied to organic rather than geometric design, you can add Chi to Sha building elements such as stairwells or columns with garland. The curving of the garland dilutes the Sha. Not to mention, it’s just pretty and fun to change with the seasons.
Feng Shui is about reclaiming your life’s energy and directing it towards balance and purpose. The result is greater harmony in your space and life. — Wahida Young
Suggested Further Reading:
The Zangshu or Book of Burial by Guo Pu
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