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Feng Shui Basics
by Kari Lamanuzzi

Developed more than 3,000 yeas ago in ancient China, Feng shui is the art and science that focuses on balancing energies in various environments to ensure the good wealth, health and personal relationships of those it surrounds. Literally translated into English, feng shui means wind-water, and there are various levels of it. Most schools of feng shui teach that it is based around the practice of arranging various objects in a room, like furniture and art, so the owner of the space can achieve harmony in the environment.

The first step for those looking to get into feng shui is to clear out all of the clutter in the house. Basically, if you don't think you can't live without the objects, or if you don't absolutely love them, they should go to charity. This serves two purposes: it can be extremely therapeutic to clear the space of all of the old junk that had been getting in the way and it frees up the space necessary to create good energy.

Next, make sure that the air is clear of toxins and plenty of natural light pours into the room. These are the two most important elements for good Chi (also known as energy). Open the windows, or if it's cold outside, buy some air purifiers or plants to clean the air. After that has been done, look online for a feng shui compass and define the ba-gua.

The fourth step in the basic feng-shui process is to learn about the five elements of feng-shui theory. These will help you to balance the elements in your house and enrich your life outside of the home. Once you have done all of this, you can personalize your feng-shui environment with your birth element. For instance, if your birth element is fire, you would bring in more of the wood element (which feeds the fire) and various expressions of fire.

The final element involves finding your kua number. From there, you'll have to adjust the position of furniture in each room of your house to benefit you the most. It's crucial that you do this correctly, because if one piece is in the wrong place it could ruin the energy in the whole room for you.

If you've done all of this, the only thing left for you to do at this basic level is to maintain the positive energy in your home. In particular, make sure you'remain mindful of your triangle (which is the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom). The triangle is said to be closely tied to your health, so if you're going to let the energy go in a room, make sure it isn't one of those three areas.

While there are certainly more than a few critics of feng-shui as a science, more and more people are researching the ancient technique to see if it works in various spaces. Students studying architecture are now delving into the subject and geographers have used the techniques to locate historical sites in Victoria, Canada. Strangely enough, in several instances the only patches of old forest left in Asia are �feng shui woods," making it difficult for feng-shui to be totally dismissed by the skeptical.

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