Words: Anne Schauffer Image: Shutterstock

Elaine Hosiassohn is a master of feng shui. Her practice, Feng Shui Dynamics, focusses on creating environments which maximise the flow of positive energy.

She says, “It dates back thousands of years to the Chinese Agrarian Age. Camps were set up according to the landform – this was to ensure they had protection in the form of mountains at the back, and water in the front for their wealth, livelihood and survival. Feng shui means ‘wind’ and ‘water’, and together the words represent harmony and balance. It’s an ancient Chinese art, based on the flow of energy or ‘chi’ through the universe, and its influence on our daily lives.”

It’s very much about creating a balance – yin and yang, the opposites – and the principles are strongly aligned with nature. Elaine says, “The compatibility with nature is accomplished by the placement of furniture and other objects in the home or office. Placed correctly, it retains auspicious energy – if the energy in our environment is compromised or not flowing correctly, it can cause disharmony.”

For Elaine, it’s of no importance that we’re living in different times. “When it comes to interior design and architecture, the basic feng shui principles prove to be extremely beneficial when included in the design.”

She says by adding these principles, people increase their compatibility with their surroundings in their own private space, impacting on everything from health to relationships. “The best way to maintain auspicious energy in your home,” says Elaine, “is to follow the basic principles.” She suggests these changes to start your journey:

  1. Remove any clutter as it hogs auspicious energy.
  2. Allow fresh air to enter your home; it’s essential for the energy flow.
  3. Keep your home well maintained; anything broken has an inauspicious effect on the space.
  4. Place beds in the “power position”, so you can never be caught off guard. To achieve this, position your bed against a solid wall in the furthest corner of the room where you can still see the door and windows when lying down. This gives you a feeling of stability, which enables you to have a good night’s rest. In an office, a desk should face the door from the opposite corner, with your back against a solid wall – the “power position”.
  5. Avoid sleeping against a shared bathroom wall that has a toilet or water pipes. The water pipes create too much movement, and this can carry an illness energy. A bed placed against a shared toilet wall can carry extremely inauspicious energy, as it carries waste products on the wall where you are sleeping.
  6. Pay attention to where you place bulky objects – they restrict or interrupt the flow of energy. For example, objects or beds placed against windows, plants or trees, which restrict light (energy) coming into the house; blockages by the front door; or overgrown trees or branches that overlap onto the roof.

Carla James of CJ Interiors is a quiet exponent of feng shui principles and feels particularly strong about the effects which different colours have on us. “Pastel tones allow for more peaceful sleep – you may think an all-white bedroom (yin) would induce calm, but it doesn’t. It unsettles your nervous system. Add a few earth tones and square shapes to balance the white.” She suggests that active areas (yang) need some bold colours and even patterns to match the correct energy.