Feng Shui: Achieving Balanced Spaces and a Healthy Home
Real Living chats with Feng shui expert Patrick Fernandez to delve into the science behind the Chinese traditional practice and how it can be used as a guide in improving the home.
Feb 15, 2022
What are the things that come into your mind when you hear Feng shui? Many of us have attached a supernatural vibe to the Chinese practice, thinking it holds the power to change our lives for the better. You might be reminded of a once popular Filipino movie franchise, golden lucky charms, a vintage bagua, or a list of no-nos you should avoid inside the house that our elders believed in.
Is bad luck for real? Do lucky charms really work? While we’ve grown accustomed to following tips that are said to invite luck and always being on the lookout for forecasts, Feng shui goes beyond these. As Feng shui and Chinese metaphysics master Patrick Fernandez puts it, it’s the study of energy. There’s a scientific basis behind every principle and it isn’t limited to countering bad luck.
“Feng shui is all about an energy called Chi (Qi), which is life energy. If something is alive, it has Qi and if something is not alive, it doesn’t have Chi. The more Chi we get while we’re alive, the better we’re able to make our lives,” Patrick explains..
By knowing what the patterns are, how to harness it, and making use of information dating back thousands of years, Feng shui masters can study the patterns of energy and use it to our advantage while we’re here on earth. It can be likened to meteorologists studying where the wind is blowing or how the water is flowing to make weather forecasts.
What is Chi and how can you improve the energy at home?
If you look up Qi/Chi, you’ll discover that it means “flowing vital energy” and that it’s an important part of Feng shui. It is said that people, places, and things not only emanate this energy, they can also absorb and store it.
A previously published article on Realliving.com.ph underlines the importance of a home’s entryway as it’s referred to as “the mouth of the Chi energy” and plays a role in attracting positive energy into the home. In addition to harnessing the energy that flows through the main door and entryway, Patrick says there are more ways to further improve a home’s Chi, which can easily be done any time of the year.
“In Feng shui, it’s all about balance. It’s the concept of yin and yang, light and dark, sun and moon, and so on. Yin is tied to sleeping or resting while Yang is tied to active energy. If you can, set very clear boundaries of where you’re working and where you’re resting,” suggests the Feng shui master. Since the pandemic started, many of us are working from home which makes setting boundaries between work and rest more difficult.
“In Feng shui, it’s all about balance. It’s the concept of yin and yang, light and dark, sun and moon, and so on.”
Still thinking of setting up your laptop near the bed? You may not be able to get enough rest because you’ll be on alert whenever a notification pops in. Patrick advises using dividers to separate the work nook from the bedroom or maximizing the bedrooms you have at home. “If you have two bedrooms, you can switch the other person and use his or her bedroom as your workspace, and vice versa. This way, you can clearly say, ‘this is my place of work,’” he explains.
Are you still familiar with Marie Kondo’s decluttering tips? Whether you’ve got your own ways of organizing the home or you follow another decluttering guru, keep prioritizing decluttering. As Patrick explains, “it is based on thousands of years of Feng shui belief.” A clutter-free home makes it easier for Chi to move and flow freely into the space. “It’s like (flowing) water – if you have a lot of places blocking the flow, you’re not going to get a smooth flow. This is very similar to Chi – if you have good pathways for the flow, the better. It also helps clear the mind. Oftentimes, when we have a messy home, we have a messy train of thought as well,” he expounds.
In addition to separating the areas of the home and decluttering, Patrick also shares the importance of having spaces where families can gather and enjoy shared activities, especially in homes where extended family members live together. “It’s as simple as creating space where you can prepare meals together and spend some quality time. It’s a good example of creating positive Chi, which will be good for you and everyone in the household.
Is still possible to harness and improve Chi in a small space?
It’s no secret that tiny houses are all the rage these days, with many opting to downsize and move to a smaller space. Given the limited floor space, how can you separate the workspace from the sleeping area? Patrick says that yes, it’s possible. “You can use temporary dividers which can be taken down when not in use. As long as you have an area that’s dedicated for work, even in your mind, you can think this is work mode,” he says.
Not being able to separate your place of work from your place of rest may cause your yin and yang energies to be subpar. You might feel lethargic while working and when you’re resting, you might feel restless.
“In 2022, the best energy for working is in the southeast. If you can locate your place of work or your home office in the house, you can set it up in the southeast,” adds Patrick.
How can health and safety be maintained in the house following Feng shui principles?
Aside from making the most of our spaces given the changes brought about by the pandemic, ensuring health and safety has also become a concern. From a Feng shui perspective, Patrick says there are two things to consider – forms and formulas.
Forms take into consideration the physical space and how the house is arranged. For example, in a two-storey home, the bedroom shouldn’t be located on top of the kitchen or where the stove is. “The belief is, if the heat is rising, it will affect the body temperature and the temperature of the room above it,” explains Patrick.
Secondly, in some homes, especially in condo units, there are beams that are very much visible in the common areas and bedrooms. In a bedroom, having a beam above the head is a no-no. Beyond the old Chinese belief that it creates a coffin position, the Feng shui master says it has something to do about wind tunnels.
“Think of it as a corner – whenever there’s a 90-degree angle, there are two air flows that go through it and when they meet, they go down to a 45-degree angle which hits, for example, the bed. So imagine, if you have an electric fan and it’s not rotating and it’s just on you all day and all night versus if it were rotating. It will get people sick, partly the science behind it in terms of wind drafts,” Patrick says.
In terms of energies, locating the sickness star in a home is important. According to Patrick, the sickness star in 2022 is located in the southwest. “If people can avoid the southwest and subdue the energy by not staying there and keeping it quiet, that would be ideal,” he says. It will also help if homeowners will avoid using the color red in the southwest to help diminish the energies in that area.
Are lucky houseplants and charms useful?
It’s easy to hoard different charms and fixes, hoping each one will bring in luck, prosperity, and love, but do we really need to have it all in the home? According to Patrick, there are five different elements that govern in the framework of Feng shui, which are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.
Plants, he says, serve a dual purpose. First, since it belongs to the wood element, you can use it to enhance the wood energy. “The second is, plants are living things. If you put it in an area that’s lucky, it will tend to enhance that energy,” he says.
One thing we can avoid? Bringing in too many plants at home. “Feng shui is all about balance. Try to find strategic places where you’re able to add them. This is where the Feng shui master comes in and makes recommendations. You can move the plants around depending on the energy you want to enhance whether it’s for relationships, health, or money,” Patrick explains.
“Feng shui is all about balance.”
The same rule applies when it comes to charms and decorative pieces – there are specific elements that can be used to subdue negative energies or even foster harmonious relationships.
Is one home’s energy different from that of a neighbor’s house?
Each home is built differently and the energies of the people who live in it also differ. In suggesting ways to improve the Chi in a space, Patrick says Feng shui experts look into not just the individual space, but the energies of its occupants as well.
When it comes to considering the actual home, Patrick shares how they look into the direction the house is facing, where the different rooms fall under, and the yin and yang energies, to name a few. “On the personal side, if you know the lucky colors of the person, where their academic or work corner is, we’ll be able to match it better. For example, when a mother is deciding which room her child should sleep in, if the child has good energy in the northeast, let’s put him or her in the northeast bedroom, and so on. It’s almost like if this were an equation, there are multiple variables. We put them all together and then at the end is the ideal solution for the person,” he says.
Yin and Yang Shop of Harmony, the Fernandez family’s shop of select Feng shui items, Chinese antiques, and natural crystals, offers consultations and personalized decorative pieces that can enhance the luck of a space. “Some of our clients have been around for decades now and there are some who consult with us every year. When we’re able to explain Feng shui to them and they’re able to learn more about it, they get intrigued,” Patrick adds.
At the end of the day, it’s not enough that you solely base your decisions on Feng shui and bet on lucky charms to do the work. As Patrick shares, “it’s only one lens and if it’s something that resonates with you and makes sense to you, that’s when you adapt it.”
Feng shui’s principles can be used as a guide in helping us achieve a space with good Chi where we can work smarter, get enough rest, and spend quality time with the family. With everything that’s going on in the world today, achieving a balanced space filled with positive energy is a goal worth pursuing. Our home is our safe haven, after all.
Special thanks to Feng shui Master Patrick Fernandez. Yin & Yang Shop of Harmony is located at Lagoon Area, Lobby Level, New World Makati Hotel, Esperanza St. corner Makati Avenue, Makati City. Visit their website: http://www.yinandyangshopofharmony.com/. You can also follow them on Facebook: YinAndYangShopofHarmony.