In many ways, our homes are reflections of our inner selves. They’re not just the physical spaces we fill with furniture and décor. They’re also expressions of our values, like health, family, security and harmony. The challenges brought by the pandemic this year have caused many of us to take a good, hard look at our homes and question whether they are working for us. Some of us have responded with decisions to move to new homes that better accommodate.
Eastern feng shui techniques may provide us with a blueprint.
Based on the idea that the energy of the universe, known as qi, is tied to harmony in your life, this 5,000-year-old Chinese art and science has never had more practical implications than it does today.
After all, what could be more beneficial than inviting more health, happiness and peace into our homes at a time of chaos and when we’re spending increased time at home?
With that in mind, we spoke to Rodika Tchi, a feng shui expert in Vancouver, Canada, who has been consulting on feng shui for 21 years and practicing it for most of her life.
She shared her insights on the ancient healing tradition and offered some practical advice for creating healthy and harmonious homes this year.
You lead several virtual feng shui makeover courses. What are some of the techniques you explore?
I think it’s so important to empower people right now and to let them know that they can live with calm, clarity and confidence, even in the midst of great chaos.
My seven-week course covers feng shui foundational basics like yin and yang and the five elements, but it also goes into much greater depth on how to work with energy, giving people the tools to clear both their energy and the energy in their home.
We talk about clearing away clutter. And then we also dig into anchoring specific qualities of energy in the home, defining the bagua, or feng shui energy map, of their home and how to transform their life with feng shui, including improving their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
It’s quite comprehensive and helps people look at their lives honestly — so they can use feng shui to help them live with clarity, calm, confidence and inner joy.
Can you walk us through your general approach when working with clients?
The first part of the consultation is clients walking me through their home and sharing all that works and doesn’t, and their goals and dreams for their home and their life. I have strong energetic skills, so I listen to the words but even more so to what is not being said and to what the place is actually telling me. A typical consultation lasts about three to four hours, although many go for as long as six hours in one visit. After the tour is finished, I will take several feng shui compass readings and spend about 15 to 20 minutes doing analysis and calculations. From there, I offer my feng shui recommendations and specific feng shui cures to transform the space. It often involves moving furniture, repositioning art, and letting go of some items. It’s a very hands-on process.
I also do long-distance sessions via Zoom and can provide everything from a new house feng shui assessment to a bagua map and a complete feng shui analysis. The results are as powerful as the in-person sessions.
How do you see the principles of feng shui fitting into our overall health and well-being as we are spending more time in our homes?
It’s not about fitting the principles but rather using them to strengthen one’s well-being at home and in the world.
One area to be aware of, especially right now, is indoor air quality. Often, our indoor air quality is worse than the outdoors. Air-purifying plants are the easiest way to start cleaning the air in your home, as well as air-purifiers and ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers with high-quality essential oils (for example, eucalyptus, peppermint or rosemary).
The quality of natural light and color are also vital nutrients for your health and well-being. If you have to spend a lot of time indoors, be sure to invest in full-spectrum lights that will nourish your energy. The use of color is also very important in feng shui, because each color is an expression of one of the five elements: wood, earth, fire, water or metal. Color can bring balance, harmony and good energy to one’s space. One of my favorite ways to bring in color is to add vibrant art or fresh flowers, but it’s whatever object naturally brings you joy throughout the day.
Each home has specific areas that are responsible for different areas of your life, according to the bagua. Your health, of course, depends on the overall energy of your home, but there are two specific areas that are connected to the state of your well-being on a deeper energy level. The first one is the center of your home, and the second one is the so-called Health and Family bagua area. There are numerous feng shui cures — both traditional and modern — that you can apply to improve your health in these areas. There’s simple use of wood and water elements. There are colors, too, or even the famous feng shui lucky bamboo plant. I encourage my clients to choose what works best for them in their space.
How do you determine if a home is healthy or not healthy, from a feng shui point of view?
There are many layers that determine a good feng shui home. Making that determination is always a process, and not a quick fix.
I might pay attention first to the front door. The stronger your front door, the more positive feng shui energy it can absorb. A strong front door is proportionate to the size of the house, one that opens easily and freely, enjoys beautiful paint in the right feng shui color and has good door hardware. A strong front door is also one that is well-lit, has a good pathway leading to it, and opens up into an inviting main entry. In short, you want a door that invites both respect and admiration but also looks good and feels good.
The main entry is also very important in feng shui, as this is the space that has the ability to draw in and further invite and direct the incoming energy into your home.
Another area I pay close attention to is the kitchen, because it is connected to the health and wealth energy. It is very important to take good care of your kitchen.
As I tell all of my clients, the bedroom is the most important room of the house. Is your bedroom filled with things that make you feel loved and cared for?
Another thing to look for is whether the natural rhythms of the house are expressed visually through decor. By that I mean, does your home have a balance between areas that are busy and lively with colors, images and textures, and those areas that visually promote rest, stillness and repose? A house that is decorated for all stillness or all activity is not a good feng shui house.
You want a house that has good energy, and good energy is fresh and moving. How do you create a constant flow of fresh energy? Ensure plenty of natural light, live items such as plants or flowers, vibrant art, good sounds, etc.
But having said all that, it’s not about me; it’s how you feel when you are in your home. Do you feel at ease or happy with yourself? Do you feel good in your relationships with yourself and those around you? Are you in good health? Is there a sense of exploration and wonder in your life? Is there laugher and a sense of joy in your home? If you feel stagnant in any of these areas, it might be time to improve the flow and quality of good feng shui energy in your home.
In your experience, which rooms tend to have the worst energy or the worst health?
The bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. We are not raised with the awareness of how energy works in our homes, and how important it is to clear it on all levels, as well as to honor the nature of the space.
With so many people working from home, do you have any tips for improving the positive energy in this space?
The main focus is to differentiate between office/work energy and home life, as well as to have order and regularly clear the energy.
Why do you feel feng shui is more important than ever right now?
What these times are calling for are calm, strength and clarity, and you can only sustain this vital energy in yourself when you have a place to recharge, rejuvenate and replenish. Feng shui has the tools to help create a wholesome home with good energy, from a bedroom in which to feel nourished to a home office area that doesn’t take over your life. Or perhaps it’s a living room where your family can truly relax or a bathroom that is refreshing.
We need to create strong, harmonious and vital energy in our homes that can nourish, calm and protect us from the chaos of the turbulent times in which we are living.
Rodika Tchi is the author of “The Healing Power of Smudging: Cleansing Rituals to Purify Your Home, Attract Positive Energy and Bring Peace into Your Life“ (Simon and Schuster, 2017) and “Feng Shui for Healing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Wellness in Your Home Sanctuary” (Rockridge Press, 2019).