What is Feng Shui?

Laughing Buddha"Feng" means "wind" and "shui" means "water" . In Chinese culture gentle wind and clear water have always been associated with good harvest and good health, thus "Feng Shui" came to mean good livelihood and fortune. It is one of the most ancient Chinese Arts of placement that balances the natural forces of the universe to help Chi (positive energy) flow in the best possible way.

It is the study of energy that surrounds us and the placement of objects within the environment that helps you to live a healthy life, enhance your career luck, attain recognition and the respect from your family and colleagues etc. Therefore, we need make sure that every object is placed in an appropriate position to practice the art of Feng Shui.

Origin & History of Feng Shui
The mystic art of Feng Shui came into practice in the West Han dynasty around the third century BC. It started with the belief that the earth is a living thing and has life and energy. The energy or of a site depends on its topography and the physical surrounding. A site under the influence of positive energy is healthy and a site with negative energy is damaging for those, who inhabit the place.

Ever since, Feng Shui has been incorporated in Traditional Chinese architecture and has been followed till date by modern Architects and interior designers.

Foundation Theories

Feng Shui states that cultural and social issues are influenced by natural, metaphysical and cosmological factors. To bring Feng Shui into application it is important to understand the influence of cosmology on earth, should have a knowledge of how vastu shastra influence the placing of buildings, understand the Confucian classic, understand the weathering process and understand the forces of nature acting on buildings and their surroundings.

Some current techniques of Feng Shui can be traced to Neolithic China, while others were added in later times (most notably the Han dynasty, the Tang, the Song, and the Ming). In order to develop better understanding of the mystic art one should have clarity of the following theories and concepts:

  • Qi or ch'i
    Qi or ch'i is either a movable positive or negative life force that plays an essential role in Feng Shui. However in martial art, the term Qi refers to the internal or physical energy.

    Qi that relates to the Fenghsui include the orientation of a structure, its age, and its interaction with the surrounding environment including the local microclimates, the slope of the land, vegetation, and soil quality. A Luopan may be used to detect the flow of the energy (Qi or Ch'i).
  • Polarity
    The polarity in Feng Shui is expressed as the Yin and Yang Theory. This concept can be compared to bi-polar magnetic field, That comprises two forces: one creating force and the other receiving it. Yang is the force acting and yin is receiving. This principle applied to is meant to be limitless as an expression of a universal theory applying to everything The elements of Feng Shui (water,wood,fire,earth,metal) are all elaborations of yin & yang yin. Where Yin is water Yang is fire, Where Yin is metal (exerting force) Yang is wood (the receiving end).

    The theory states that Earth is an equilibrium achieved when the polarities mix and cancel each other out, creating balance. This is why Fenshui is said to bring harmony by balancing the forces of nature.
  • Bagua
    In ancient China "Bagua" means “eight areas” (“ba”=eight, “gua”=area). Feng Shui bagua is a map or chart that relates the various areas of the life to the eight sections of the living space. These eight main section are represented by "Guas" in the Bagua map. There may also be ninth center section that corresponds to the eight major corresponding life areas. So, the layout of the Bagua map depicts the nine major areas the Fenghui practitioners value the most

    In Feng Shui, Bagua is the most valuable tool used to help understand how environment relates to the various aspects of life. Wealth, love, reputation, family & health, travel & acquaintances, career, wisdom, children and creativity are few other major areas of life that can be represented by a corresponding area on the bagua map. The center bagua is reserved for all other areas.
Feng Shui Techniques
Classical Feng Shui can be associated with the following techniques. This list merely includes some of the most common techniques used to bring peace and harmony within the environment or space.
  • Bagua (relationship of the five phases or wuxing)
  • Five phases (wuxing relationships)
  • Xuan Kong (time and space methods)
  • Xuan Kong Fei Xing (Flying Stars methods of time and directions)
  • Xuan Kong Da Gua ("Secret Decree" or 64 gua relationships)
  • Xuan Kong Shui Fa (time and space water methods)
  • Zi Bai (Purple-White Flying Stars methods)
  • Ba Zhai (Eight Mansions)
  • San Yuan Dragon Gate Eight Formation
  • Major & Minor Wandering Stars
  • San He Luan Dou (24 Mountains, Mountain-Water relationships)
  • San He Shui Fa (water methods)
  • Qimen Dunjia (Eight Doors and Nine Stars methods)
  • Zi wei dou shu (Purple King, 24-star)

Practical Applications of Feng Shui

Feng Shui makes it possible to make changes and corrections to any space, no matter how small or large. It can be applied to architecture and design -- or it can pertain to anything from choosing your house site to increasing your wealth or choosing the name of your business.

Architecture & City Planning
Architecture & city planning has been clearly a part of the origins of the Chinese tradition. The basic concept is that our homes and offices should be built in harmony with nature rather than against it.

In city planning, grids with courtyards at the center of town allow the ch'i (energy) to move without "rushing" it.

While, in the architecture horseshoe-shaped structure, with the entrance facing a courtyard, allows chi to flow in. According to the principles of Feng Shui, a house should be built on slightly elevated ground with its back protected from the wind by trees, another building or earth (like a hill). Building on dead end and irregular land form is not desirable because it blocks the flow of energy. A rectangular plot of land is considered to be ideal for building home, offices and commercial complexes.

Offices
In the west, hospital was the first to recognize the benefit of applying Feng Shui to hallways. It replaced the concept long, narrow and straight corridors. Feng Shui practitioners believed this construction makes energy accelerate unnaturally, which causes stress. Now many hospitals & offices break up the straight lines by widening hallways and placing plants and paintings to create a rejuvenating and soothing energy.

Benefits

  • An uncluttered work space with sufficient room to move will help you think more clearly and productively.
  • Utilizing the office feng shui guidelines will help you stay organized. Any form of simplification will also reduce stress.
  • The Feng Shui model helps you focus on the task at hand. If you remove all uncompleted projects and potential future ones to a separate storage area (where you won't see them from your work space), you'll eliminate a key source of distraction.
  • Creates esthetically pleasing, inspiring and motivating workplace with all the tools placed within easy reach.

Modern Usage
According to a recent survey most of the architects from Sydney and Hongkong preferred to use ideal Feng Shui model for all their buildings and layout

The hospitality industry has documented expensive retrofits to design the interior and living space in concurrence with the principles of Feng Shui.

Prince Charles of Wales and Donald Trump consulted Feng Shui experts regarding the headquarters offices of DirecTV after News Corp acquired that company in 2003.

"Boogie Woogie Feng Shui" was an episode on the television that combined the Feng Shui principles and the use of of a luopan with some sci-fi elements to locate the lost father of a girl. The man was successfully located at an unexpected place.