Feng Shui Going with the flow

With the new moon upon us, there’s no better time to reorganise our homes (and our lives, cupboards, kitchens and bathrooms for that matter) than now. We’re all about balance this year and have turned to the principles of feng shui (pronounced feng shway) to assist us. In this four part series, we’ll take you through the essentials of feng shui and the ways in which you can use it to transform your own home into a balanced and perfectly tranquil space. The first step? Demystifying and understanding the essence and intention of feng shui.


Have you ever walked into a room and just immediately felt at ease? As if you were in harmony with everything around you? Chances are you’re experiencing the benefits of feng shui. Directly translated, feng shui stands for “wind-water”. No surprise there, since both these elements are linked to harmony and energy-flow which ultimately lies at the heart of feng shui. But before we get ahead of ourselves…

What is Feng Shui and where does it originate?

On the surface, feng shui is an ancient Chinese art whose single intention is to harmonise people and their surrounding environment. Originally, it was used to position buildings, specifically graves and burial sites, according to a compass or environmental features such as mountains or the stars.


Today, feng shui is used by architects, interior decorators and landscapers to enhance an environment according to principles of energy (qi, pronounced chee). Qi is influenced by the placement of objects in a living space. This in turn interacts with and influences personal qi which plays a large role in daily thoughts and behaviour. By incorporating feng shui into your home or workplace, you improve the flow of qi and therefore your immediate environment.

Good environment = happy people = enhanced living.

There are many different types of feng shui and we wouldn’t have space to go into depth on each one here (and it would munch all your data). So to cut a long story short, we’ve focused on classical feng shui and asked interior designer Lisa Keighley for assistance. Lisa lives in Sedgefield and has been studying and practicing feng shui since the early 90’s. She follows the teachings of Joey Yap, a renowned feng shui master practitioner, author and trainer.

Classical feng shui

“Joey Yap’s classical feng shui operates on good/positive qi flow throughout the land, property or office area using a variety of forms including the three cycles of the five different elements, with the Annual flying stars or Natal flying stars,” explains Lisa. These are disciplines of feng shui that integrate principles such as Yin and Yang (opposites that complement each other) and the five elements (water, metal, fire, earth and wood). “This type of feng shui is not about Chinese figurines, crystals and all the myths that go with feng shui [like that it’s practiced by weirdos] but is instead a common-sense approach.”


According to Lisa, these are some of the key principles of classical feng shui:

  • You need to have good qi in the environment and your property needs to receive good qi.
  • The layout of your home should encourage qi to permeate all the rooms and circulate the property.
  • Find the good qi, tap into it, circulate it and keep it simple.

“Classical feng shui is about tapping into qi to benefit oneself. Qi refers to the natural energies found in the environment, which arise from the fusion of yin (mountain) and yang (water). Qi can be classified as either sheng qi (growth energy) and sha qi (killing energy). Obviously tapping into sheng qi is our goal, while avoiding sha qi.”

What are the benefits of feng shui?

Apart from a naturally comfortable living space, feng shui creates a good balance in the home. It determines which rooms have yin energies and which have yang energies, and then matches the room to the right energies.


Lisa adds, “When yin and yang are found together in the environment, they are in harmony. This will benefit the people living in the home, enhancing all aspects of their life – health, career, wealth, and relationships.”


How do we incorporate feng shui into our homes?

First and foremost, there is no quick fix. Feng shui is an incredibly complicated system that requires patience and often professional advice. So no, you can’t just add a few water features and some metal vases and hope to get your whoo-sa on. Luckily, Lisa has provided us with a few, simple pointers:

  • Avoid clutter (to quote William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.)
  • Move stagnant energy by cleaning and opening the windows on a regular basis.
  • Make sure the view from your front door is not affected by negative forms like sharp corners, pylons, roof corners or alleyways. The front door is the principle qi mouth of the home, make sure it faces a favourable direction.
  • Check out the landform/ environment outside of your property; you cannot make the natural environment conform to the house, the house must conform to the environment.
  • Fine tune your property to benefit from the existing qi which hopefully is positive.

Intrigued? Keep a look out for Part Two: Steps to feng shui your bedroom!

Mignon van Zyl
About me

Journalist, hiker and design enthusiast with a mild form of OCD and a love for storytelling. After completing my degree at Rhodes University, I moved to White River to work for a lifestyle magazine called Lowveld Living. Thanks to my job, I’ve visited some of the most glamorous game lodges and homes, met wonderfully weird but inspiring artists, fed and kissed a tame hippo, hiked the ‘sentinel of the Lowveld’ and realised my devotion to nature. Most happy when I’m writing, walking or road tripping.


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