A beginner's guide to feng shui and how to harmonise your space

A beginner's guide to feng shui and how to harmonise your space

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Text: Adibah Isa

Image: AkzoNobel,
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We’re well into the second month of 2016, but it’s only the 11th day of Chinese New Year. We pick up tips from Yi Culture’s feng shui masters and find out why AkzoNobel is right on the money for their colour of the year

Why practise feng shui?

You don't have to move mountains to effect change. Sometimes, all it takes is a little nip and tuck. Whether you're moving into a new home, setting up an office or looking to redecorate, it doesn't hurt to take a stab at ancient wisdom to steer you in the right direction. People consult feng shui masters to better their space: To minimize conflict and tension, bring more luck, and avoid certain things. Most importantly, feng shui is practised to cultivate a good relationship among the persons utilising the space.

Contrary to popular belief, feng shui masters aren't psychics, as Jet Lee and Desmond Wee from Yi Culture are quick to note. Instead, they make predictions based on the rationales of ancient wisdom, which are connected to ancient astrology.

The basics: Feng and shui

Feng means wind, while shui means water. It's all about living a moderate life: For good feng shui, you need those two factors. The qi (energy) will disperse when it meets the wind, and it'll subside when it meets water. The wind will carry the energy and makes sure that an exchange of energy takes place. The water will regulate the energy, amplifying it to a higher level. Similar to blood circulation within the body, you need a circulation of energy in your space.

To ensure there's enough wind, you need to ensure that your space is well ventilated. You can't have overwhelming wind as it'll carry away all the energy. If you stay near a body of water, it'll ensure a good supply of energy — as water, it'll hold on to the energy.

The tai chi sign

Three factors to be successful

According to Chinese beliefs, you need the trinity of heaven, earth and human interaction to be successful. Heaven relates to timing: "Is it the right day and time to do this?"; earth looks at the environmental aspects: "Is this the right location for the office?"; lastly, human interaction looks at our relationship within: "Am I in the right capacity to do this?". With the trinity, it then directs to tai chi, most commonly recognisable by its yin and yang signs.

Yin refers to femininity, while yang refers to masculinity. But looking at the black and white portions of the signs, you'll notice that nothing is completely black and white — so whatever you do, moderation needs to be exercised. In every femininity, there should be a masculinity, and vice versa.

The year of the fire monkey

The fire monkey is witty, playful and mischievous — knowing its characteristics will give you a reflection of the year. Judging from this alone, expect to attempt various things at the start of the year, while things start slowing down and be steady down the months ahead. Good to note: This year, energy from the monkey actually started kicking in on 4 February, even though Chinese New Year fell on 8 February.

A special edition scarf from Louis Vuitton celebrating the year of the monkey

The five elements and their relationship with colour

According to your date of birth, you belong to a specific element that foretells your characteristics. There are five elements to fall under: Metal, water, wood, fire and earth. Complementing each other interchangeably, this cycle of production is believed to be what the world was created upon. When you have too much of one element, it upsets the balance — something that's fundamental in the study of feng shui.

Certain colours evoke certain elements which represent your aura: Colour projections that are derived from blood circulation and energy flow within the body. The colours attune to different elements as follows:

Metal: White or gold
Water: Blue or black
Wood: Green, dark green, jade, turquoise
Fire: Orange, red, purple, pink
Earth: Gold, brown, grey

The monkey is a metal element in fire — and as fire burns metal, you should paint the right auspicious colours to get the best energy out of the year. This is where paint comes in: It's the easiest, most affordable and convenient way to change the energy field. Presenting a palette of solutions is AkzoNobel's Colour of the Year 2016, Monarch Gold. Representing the earth element, gold is a colour that evokes stability and perseverance. Grey and brown colours also complement.

AkzoNobels' Monarch Gold in a study

Locations to paint

The feng shui masters suggest four locations to paint these earth colours: South-west, south, south-east, east and north-east. By following these locations, you'll enhance the good and suppress the bad. They also suggested a rationale for the different rooms in a home:

Living room: The first thing you see after you enter the home, painting it gold will enhance the riches of the breadwinner.
Kitchen: Belonging to the matriarch, gold promotes harmony in the home.
Study: The gold palette will provide this room with focus and determination for intellectual and creative breakthroughs.
Bedroom: Gold promotes harmony, security and sincerity for you and your partner.
Bathroom: For determination, gold lends a helping hand when things get stuck.

Monarch Gold in the bathroom

For more inspirational ideas from AkzoNobel, follow them on Instagram here.