What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design: a strange term. Hmmmm, just like feng shui!

So What is Biophilic Design?

And they are related in another way, too. They both are about connecting humanity to the natural world.

First, the word biophilia was a term coined by psychologist Erich Fromm in the 1960’s (and later explored by biologist E.O. Wilson in the 1980’s). It refers to our love of life.

We feel good in nature and many architects and designers started taking note that growing mental illness in modern society may be linked somehow to our soulless modern buildings and environments.

But rather than studying the ancient principles of feng shui, they created a new discipline.

But that’s okay, I’m not that frustrated (smile).

As long as the end goal is the same: that we create environments that not only look good, but feel good!

Biophilic design is backed up by environmental psychology, which studies the impact buildings have on human behavior.

It has been found that healthy human development (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is contingent upon access to the natural world.

Now, many buildings and communities are being built with biophilic design principles. Hotels, healthcare facilities, even corporate offices and housing developments have incorporated elements of nature into the design of their spaces.

So even if they don’t call it “feng shui”, that’s okay, as long as we are being nourished in our spaces and respect Mother Earth!

Since I’ve been studying biophilic design, I’ve created my own list of principles connected to each of the Five Elements of nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. I wrote about this in my book, Creating Luminous Spaces.

 

Additional reads if you want to learn more:

  • Biophilia Hypothesis, by E.O. Wilson
  • Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, by Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, Martin Mador

Photo credits: Pixabay.com, WikiImages – Yale University’s Kroon Hall, built with biophilic design and LEED

 

Maureen Calamia is author of Creating Luminous Spaces: Use the Five Elements for Balance and Harmony in Your Home and in Your Life (Conari Press). She is also founder of the Re-Nature philosophy based on the premise that we need to restore nature back into our lives, our homes, and spirits.

 

 

Quick and Easy Feng Shui Ideas – for the Kitchen

Feng shui masters spend their lives studying the discipline, aligning themselves with various approaches such as black hat sect, traditional, or intuitive feng shui. But you can make instant design improvements with our quick and easy feng shui tips for your kitchen.  Read more about simple kitchen design ideas from Terah Kathryn Collins.

Quick and Easy Feng Shui Ideas - for the Kitchen, Terah CollinsLayout
The cook’s back should never face the kitchen entrance. If the cook is unaware of who enters and exists, he or she could be startled, transferring negative Ch’i into the food. Place the cooktop on an island so the cook can face the door. If the cook’s back must turn away from the entrance, hang a mirror on the backsplash or place a reflective object (like a tea kettle or a stainless steel utensil holder) on or beside the stove. This will allow the cook to remain aware of all activity.

  • The stove should not be placed under a window. Wind currents could pull the good Ch’i out of your food.
  • Elements of fire and water clash, leading to bad Ch’i. Design your kitchen with distance between the two-your stove should not be adjacent to your refriuigerator or sink. If such a placement is unavoidable, add a nourishing wood element-like a plant, butcher block, or wooden spoon-to turn the opposition into a cyclical relationship.

Organization

  • Pay attention to your stove. Food nourishes you, affecting your ability to work and earn money, and the Ch’i of your cooking area will affect your meal. Keep the burners clean and use each one equally to illustrate the movement of good fortune in your life.
  • Clutter crowds your kitchen’s surfaces, causing frustration and inihibiting the cook’s ability to prepare food. Keep all surfaces clear, storing all food and appliances not used on a daily basis out of sight.
  • Apply the same order to your pantry and cabinets. Broken items, empty boxes and containers, and unused food should be donated or discarded.
  • Keep trash and recycling centers out of sight. Garbage rarely signifies health and prosperity!
  • Don’t forget safety, an important component of feng shui. Knives should always be stored out of sight.
  • Nourishment is as much a product of the cook as the food itself. The cook’s focus and spirits are transferred to the food. Make every effort to structure your kitchen (and your life!) in a way that facilitates a relaxed, leisurely, and meditative cooking process.

Decorating

  • Plentiful food indicates prosperity. Hang pictures of fruits or vegetables on your kitchen’s walls to increase the sensation of abundance. Mirrors by your eating area, stove, or preparation will “double” your food as well, increasing wealth and health.
  • Surround yourself with meaningful things with positive Ch’i. Keep seashells gathered during a special family vacation on your windowsill, or display fresh flowers in an antique vase.
  • Remember-negative feelings and events tarnish the quality of your life. As a “feng shui rule of thumb,” surround yourself with whatever makes you comfortable and safe.
  • Sharp corners can be both unsafe and uncomfortable, Choose rounded corners over squared ones for tables, countertops, and chairs. Select wood over pointed glass tables. Hide and protect existing corners with plants and cushions.
  • When selecting your dining table, choose a softer, safer wood model over a pointed glass one. Oval and round tables are preferred over square and rectangular ones as they promote good Ch’i circulation.

 

Terah CollinsTerah Kathryn Collins is a best-selling author and the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui®. She is also the originator of Essential Feng Shui®, which focuses on the many valuable applications Feng Shui has in our Western culture while honoring the essence of its Eastern heritage. Read more about Terah.

 

Article/Photo Source:  Quick and Easy Feng Shui IdeasThe Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room By Room, by Terah Kathryn Collins

The Peaceful Home

Your surrounding environment plays a significant role in how you experience life. Why not take time to explore the different ways you can create a peaceful home and manifest real change in your life? Here are some simple ways you can shift the energy in your environment. Read more from Mary Jane Kasliner

  1. The Peaceful Home, Mary Jane KaslilnerUse mirrors, in moderation of course, to maximize the flow of energizing natural light through the home. Light promotes physical vitality and mental alertness – two dynamics that are important when it comes to peaceful living.
  2. Follow the sun on its journey around the room. Notice how the light changes depending on the angle at which the sunlight falls through the windows. Plan your decor to make the most of the natural light that enters the space.
  3. Use directional lighting to highlight your favorite objects or the room’s most interesting fabrics.
  4. Infuse mood lighting through the use of candles. Floating candles in interesting decorative bowls are excellent accents while establishing an ambiance of gentle mysticism.
  5. Use cushions in different hues to add changeable accents of color.
  6. Use patterns with restraint – too many patterns of different kinds may clash with each other and subtly disturb your mental equilibrium.
  7. Touch up paintwork, clean your windows and repair things. When there are things in disrepair is weighs heavy on the mind and disrupts feelings of peace.
  8. Add natural features in your decor – fresh flowers, a lively plant, seashells, stones, images of animals and other nature scenes give off positive energies.
  9. Burn incense such as frankincense and sandalwood to create a positive yet relaxing feeling.
  10. Welcome yourself and guests with a display of container plants at the side of your front door. By using pots of herbs you can combine a visual with an olfactory salute.

Have fun with these simple peaceful home tips and enjoy every moment in your environment!

 

Mary Jane KaslinerMary Jane Kasliner is a teacher, speaker, author with a true passion for enhancing the lives of others. She is the President of  Body Space Alignment and the director of the Teaching Tortoise School of Classical Feng Shui.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from Skidmore College and an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences.  Read more about Mary Jane.

 

Article/Image Source:  The Peaceful Home

Ten Feng Shui Tips for Small Spaces

Small spaces including apartments, condos, smaller homes, and such present challenges with storage and limited floor plans.  However, there are many things you can do to make your small space Feng Shui-Friendly, by Mary Jane Kasliner

Small spaces, Mary Jane KaslinerThe first reaction to a small space generally sends us into the “triple D’s,” or what I would like to call the Downward, Despair, and Doldrums. The simple truth is small spaces allow us to be closer to energy, and from a feng shui perspective, that’s golden. Just because the space is small doesn’t mean we can’t balance it. Square footage has no bearing on creating a harmonious and healthy living environment. So for all of you out there short on square footage have some fun following these 10 simple feng shui tips.

1. If you live in an apartment building, determine what directional position your apartment falls in the larger building. This will help you with the overall elemental theme.  For example, if your apartment sits in the southeast portent of the entire building, then add wood and water elements.

2. Incorporate floor plants, decorative screens, and curtains for faux walls. It will look fabulous and give you much needed definable living areas.

3. Choose a focal point towards which the energy will gravitate. This can be done with interesting artwork, sculptures, or an exotic pillow.

4. Keep windows clean and open for natural sunlight and fresh air. Compliment with flowing window treatment and full spectrum track lighting aimed at walls to free up floor space and create an expansive feeling.

5. Consider removing closet doors and replacing them with curtains. This will soften the energy while giving the illusion of more space.

6. Think less is more when it comes to furnishings and incorporate curved designs. Qi only moves in a sine wave pattern and therefore will be unimpeded.

7. Note the directions within the space from the center point. Then address each direction with the corresponding natural element and symbolic image to catapult the energetic bagua. For example, place a ceramic dish with some stones and a metal musical instrument in the west. By doing this, you effectively infuse the pure essence of nature and the joyful sounds of music into the space.

8. Arrange major pieces of furniture in command to capture qi for a sense of comfort and eye appeal.

9. Splurge on tableware and linens. Small luxuries, such as table-top water fountains, go a long way.

10. Have fun and invite some friends over. People actually prefer to socialize in small spaces.

 

Mary Jane KaslinerMary Jane Kasliner is a teacher, speaker, author with a true passion for enhancing the lives of others. She is the President of Body Space Alignment and the director of the Teaching Tortoise School of Classical Feng Shui. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from Skidmore College and an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences.  Read more about Mary Jane.

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