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What Is Feng Shui & Harmony with the Bagua House Map

How to achieve concentration of life energy, or Chi, into your home through Feng Shui's Bagua map

Feng Shui
What Is Feng Shui & Harmony with the Bagua House Map | iSTOCK

Since the year 300 B.C., the date of the first known text where feng shui -also called Chinese geomancy- appears, it has evolved into an efficient science of channeling life energy or Chi in your home. Find about the benefits of this practice that can make your home a source of positive energy.

What is feng shui? 

Rooted in Asian metaphysical theories, feng shui is literally the science of life energy (chi) on the earth and landscapes. Its goal is to study the behavioral patterns of that energy to optimise its benefits in the home: by starting at the cardinal points and the chi flow, feng shui attempts to incorporate natural elements into home arrangement and housekeeping.

That's why it's necessary to take into consideration on the one hand, distribution of mountains and rivers; on the other, streets and houses; and finally, how the home's different areas are scattered. From the combination of these three pillars we create feng shui, which is divided into two schools: one emphasises natural elements (San-He School), and the other follows cardinal points (San-Yuan School).

However, all of them come from the same basis: the Theory of Five Elements. Nature's energy or chi is composed of five elements: fire, water, earth, metal and wood. The way they combine with one another -that is, the understanding of the chi flow- is the basis for the science behind feng shui.

Therefore, feng shui is an old tradition that favours the flow of positive vibratoins and its uses for human beings through the distribution and boosting of elements around the home.

The Bagua map of feng shui

The entire idea of feng shui is based on the premise that, when chi progresses in a straight line, it has a negative connotation, while contours and edges help to appropriately make energy flow. Through the distribution of our physical space is how we can manage to create a chi focus, or in other words, avoid it from scattering all around the house.

To make chi flow, water and wind are two essential elements, but we need to use them right by putting into practice the theories of feng shui.

In order to do that, feng shui has got the Bagua map (also known as Pa-kua), which is an old-age symbol composed of the circle disposition of eight trigrams. A trigram is a three-line figure including full lines and cut lines.

Since every trigram represents the trinity of Man-Cosmos-Earth, and because full lines represent Yang and cut lines symbolise Yin, the fusion of the trinity and Yin-Yang brings about eight symbols that embody every manifestation possible in cosmos.

This seems very complicated and is one of the oldest binary number systems, but it's actually a map to optimise the space, which is the ultimate goal of feng shui. It allows to combine orientations, colours and materials with the most appropriate shapes for each area by creating an energy map that can be applied into any space.

The importance of colours in feng shui

We'll give you some instructions right away to start getting familiar with feng shui, but you should know that colours are essential for this technique. Have you realised how colours affect your mood? Then, you'll see why they are important to feng shui. 

According to the Theory of Five Elements, red is connected to fire, yellow to earth, blue to water, white and grey to metal, and green to wood. From there, all the other meanings behind each colour unfold: warmth, introspection, light, darkness, relaxation, dispersion, focus, nature, artificiality, and so on.

The perfect colour swatch for your bedroom, for instance, are temperate colours that induce peace and calm; but you can break it up with some red, yellow or orange shades, for the bedsheets, for example, so that the couple doesn't lose its passion. On the other hand, the living room is better off going for ocre shades which promote communication.

For the bathroom, the best shades are earth tones, so you can go for green or orange. Red and other warm colours can also be perfect for the kitchen, while lounge and study areas should be more neutral and soft.

Starting ideas: Bedroom feng shui

Feng shui can be as complex as you want it to, but it's actually not hard at all to get started, and all you need to do is follow some tips. Little by little, you'll absorb concepts until you have a full grasp and dominion of feng shui. 

According to feng shui experts, one of the home's most important spaces is the bedroom, because we're more vulnerable to both good and bad energy when we're asleep. That's why it's very recommendable, if you're ready to start with feng shui, to begin working on your bedroom. Here's some tips.

1. Find stability

The square is the geometrical shape connected to earth. That's why it's preferable to give our room a square shape, so that we can achieve better stability and a balanced chi.

The second thing to keep in mind is where you place your bed. To rest well you need to attract Yin energy. Windows and doors, which involve movement and light coming in, are Yang, while walls and partitions, which imply quietness, are Yin. Therefore, you should aim your bed header towards a partition or wall, with no windows or doors. That's how you'll manage to focus Yin. See how simple it is? Moving on!

2. Stay away from dispersion

When you've achieved the basics, get into the roots. It's not just about focusing energy into one place, but also about avoiding it from dispersing all around. There's some basic tips to do that, and you can start with colour and light.

Visual elements are essential. You need to avoid bright colours and flashy lights. Limit light-based devices as much as you can; that means, among others, alarm clocks, computers, phones and TVs. All of this, along with mess and noises, acts as an energy vacuum that stops you from resting properly.

Other useful tips: avoid lots of mirrors in one room, and try to avoid them from reflecting on your bed. Also, remember it's important for your bed to have a header, because no matter how simple, it'll avoid Yin from dispersing.

3. Reaching harmony

To perfect your bedroom to the T, think about how feng shui can help to create an intimate, harmony-based shelter. The essential goal is pursuing stability and balance, so the perfect thing would be to find a large bed with no openings or light near, and with elements equally distributed to each side.

Warm lights and soft tones will give the environment the calmness it requires: salmon, pink, pastel colours, vanilla and shades of green and light blue can perfectly combine harmoniously with elements tidily arranged. Avoid discordant, abrupt shapes.

Light is also essential. Avoid only having direct lighting from the ceiling. It's very interesting how some strategically placed lamps around a space can create different environments within one single room, and boost retreat, intimacy and meditation.

Using plants and mirrors in the living room's feng shui

There's two elements that are quite crucial to our home decoration. You need to keep it in mind to avoid dispersing energy and boosting benefits of chi in your home to the max. Pay attention!

Mirrors: a double-edged sword 

Mirrors are a magical element that have great potential to make the most of a space, although they could also become an element of dispersion. For instance, try not to have a mirror opposite the bathroom door, because it's the easiest way to see energy flying away.

You've now seen that in the bedroom, large mirrors are counterproductive, but in the living room, they promote communication and boost its social area.

In feng shui, there's something called missing areas, which are sort of great space vacuums in areas around L or U-shaped rooms. To fill that space, mirrors will be your best allies, because they create a feeling of wideness and depth. On the other hand, a long mirror on the north-west of your home will improve your self-esteem.

Also, did you know that mirrors are very useful to keep trouble at bay? Is there a nasty landscape you don't like, or an annoying neighbour? If you place a mirror in the direction of the problem, it'll go back to where it belongs and disappear from your daily life.

Plants and their potential

There are two essential spots for strategically placing plants: the kitchen and the home's entrance. In the kitchen, the place for fertility, prosperity and richness, the presence of scented herbs acts as a powerful booster of positive energy, while they favour the entrance of chi if they are placed at the home's entrance.

There are some plants considered magnets for good luck and money, such as the so-called money plant or plant of riches. In this case, the best place to set them is the kitchen, and they should be made to grow as vertically as possible.

One of its essential feng shui uses is attracting and repelling positive and negative elements respectively, and that's why it's best to keep plants around entrances, balconies and windows. Plants act as a filter and protective barrier for excessive noise or strident lights.

Vertical or spike-leaved plants are chi activators, so place them in dark spots or corners. For plants inside the house, especially those in the living room, you're better off with those that have round and oval flowers, but it's always important to take proper care of them and keep them well.