Feng Shui are words you’ve heard before, probably many times. Something to do with interior design, something Chinese, something foreign...it’s one of those catchphrases you know, but you don’t quite know.
Feng Shui, meaning wind and water, respectively, is a tool that was originally used thousands of years ago to choose a home, farm, or burial site; one that was safe from typhoons and floods. Today, it’s known as the “art of placement”: the idea that the proper placement of any given thing can allow for energy to flow freely and without blocks.
Traditionally, these principles have been implemented in our physical spaces: home, garden, and office. By removing physical blocks and nurturing a free-flowing environment, space is often opened up in our mind, allowing for balance and harmony. Fortunately, the principles of Feng Shui can be applied to any area of life. Because mindfulness and wellness have become catchphrases in their own right, it can often feel overwhelming understanding what your body needs. Incorporating a little Feng Shui into your routine can go a long way, so here are five principles to get you started.
View Your Body, Mind, and Spirit as One
In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, the human form is seen as one whole, with each part intricately connected to another. When something is affecting your heart, it’s likely affecting your stomach as well. Because of this, one element cannot be addressed while others are ignored. Likewise, eating a healthy diet won’t get you far if you’re not keeping your body moving, and vice versa. Finding ways to treat the whole system instead of isolating (and obsessing on) a single issue will prove more effective and gratifying.
Try this: Analyze your fitness routine. Do you do cardio every day, or only yoga? Are you focusing on one muscle group and neglecting others? Use each day to feed a different area or element of the body.
Ever Moving, Ever Changing
We are not static beings. It would be nice at times if we could just get everything into place and live in that safe space. Life ebbs and flows, however, and as individuals it can feel like we’re constantly reacting to change in our personal, work, and health lives. Rather than working toward everything going in the same direction, embrace the movement around you.
Try this: When your workout becomes stagnant, try something new, and different! New studios always have first time student offers, so you can go to a new class without it hurting your budget. Or, take your exercise to a new environment - a walk in a state park will stimulate your eyes and your mind.
There it is - that elusive state that never seems attainable. Though it may feel like it, balance is anything but a trend - it’s an element used in philosophy, architecture, politics - the list goes on. In TCM, it’s represented by the Yin and Yang: Opposites that flow in a natural cycle, one creating, one receiving, always replenishing each other. In order to Feng Shui your routine, you may have to receive for a while. Rather than pushing for a goal or trying to master something, step back. Let the intensity of your labor settle. Let your body and mind rest. Think of your routine as a fire meant to last all night: It begins with ambitious flames, but soon it’s the embers that are heating the home.
Try this: Always bring a rest day (or two!) into your weekly routine. It’s essential for the body to recoup, and your mind has space to focus on other areas.
Bring Attention to Problem Areas
We’ve all had the experience of trying to maintain a routine, and failing miserably. Perhaps we give it a whack every few weeks, only to get discouraged and ignore it. It is difficult to face problems, fears, and bad situations, but it is far worse to avoid them. By identifying the source of the issue and choosing to give it your attention, you’ve already made progress. Come up with small, accessible steps that you can accomplish, and don’t worry about how long it takes. Odds are you’ll feel better just from working on it.
Try this: Identify the areas you struggle with, and try to come at them from another angle. If you’re too distracted in a class setting, try a video at home. If talk yourself out of exercise by the end of the day, give yourself every opportunity to get it done first thing in the morning. Grab a friend and work together toward a finite goal.
Energy Influences Environment
Chinese medicine is concerned with your Qi. Qi is the life force, the energy, the essence of everything around you and in you. Feng Shui exists to remove Si and Sha (bad energy) and replace it with Sheng (good energy). By opening yourself to Qi, your personal energy is strengthened. It may sound trite, but your thoughts can greatly affect your energy and your environment, thus affecting the energy and environment of those around you. How can you make your thoughts more positive? Surround yourself in beauty. It could be the food you eat, your favorite sweater, a beautiful sky, or a kind word to someone. By placing yourself in the way of beauty, good energy flows freely.
Try this: Choose a favorite piece of art or memory to meditate on while you exercise. Change up your playlist to songs that only put a smile on your face. Build goals that are in tune with your nature and the nature around you, rather than against it.