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Yin and Yang: The Key to a Balanced Home

Yin and YangCreating Balance with Yin and Yang

Have you ever been in a room that didn’t feel good to be in but you couldn’t figure out what was wrong? Chances are the Yin/Yang components were out of balance.

Yin and Yang is at the foundation of the Ancient Practice of Feng Shui. It has to do with the recognition that the universe is made up of opposite forces of energy, which cannot exist without each other. They are finely balanced and, like polar sides of a magnet, are innately attracted to each other.

The Yin/Yang symbol depicts two fish gliding together in perfect balance. Each carrying components of the other; the black fish with the white eye and the white fish with the black eye. The two swim together in perfect harmony creating a circle, the most ancient symbol depicting wholeness.

Feng Shui acknowledges that we are ancient creatures who naturally seek balance. If our living spaces are not balanced, our lives feel out of balance as well. By learning to work with the Yin and Yang components in our homes, we create supportive spaces that bring our lives back into harmony as well.

The concept of Yin refers to the feminine principle, which is passive, dark and yielding. Yang refers to the male principle, which is bright, active and extroverted.

Examples of yin and yang decor

Example of a Yin bedroom designed for rest and relaxation

In physical environments Yin objects would be reflected by circular shapes, darker more muted colors, lower darker rooms, upholstered furniture of soft chenille, velvet and corduroy fabrics, carpeting and area rugs,  and smaller detailed prints. In building materials adobe, brick and stucco would be considered more Yin materials. In design history, the eras that incorporated Yin qualities would be the Victorian era, Louis IV and VI and the Baroque period.

In architecture the Bauhaus period in Germany from around 1919 – 1933 was the beginning of modernist design utilizing more Yang components. Slick glass and mirrors, metal and plastics, high, vast ceilings, bright angular spaces, bold stripes and geometric patterns, square, hard angular furniture without detail, flooring of hard woods, cement and tile, all reflect Yang design materials and features.

In balancing a home we want to first determine the use of the space and then incorporate the Yin and Yang qualities appropriate for it. Passive spaces should incorporate more Yin features and active spaces more Yang features. The key, however, is to make sure we always have some of both qualities and not an over abundance of either.

Yin rooms are the places you want the energy to calm down to support rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Yin rooms would be bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, possibly family rooms and bathrooms.

In these rooms we would want to bring in more Yin features such as comfy furniture, more muted colors and lighting, plush fabrics and more detailed patterns and accessories. Having a bright, light ultra-modern bedroom with high ceilings and slick fabrics would not serve the occupants and will often translate to sleep disorders. (See my article on Feng Shui for Children’s Rooms and for Teen’s Bedrooms).

Examples of yang spaces

Yang spaces are the more active spaces such as children’s playrooms, kitchens, gyms, home offices, laundry rooms, family rooms (depending upon the use), hallways and garages. These spaces should incorporate more Yang components with brighter lighting,  whites and/or bolder colors, more angular shaped furniture and accessories with less detail.

An example of an active Yang space.

In using modern Yang qualities make sure to choose furniture with more rounded edges. Sharp-edged furniture is considered weapon-like in Feng Shui. It may be subtle, but you will never fully relax in a space that has objects that can injure you. Our homes always need to be ‘people friendly’ no matter the style of decor you are drawn to.

We also want to bring in all of the Five Elements, which include plants and things that are either from the natural world or represent nature.  (See my article on bringing nature into the home)* Ultra modern homes devoid of nature will never allow us to feel truly ‘at home’ because of our deep innate connection to the natural world. (See my article on the Five Elements).

The key is to have a balance of both Yin and Yang qualities in every room, emphasizing more Yin or Yang features depending upon the use of the room. Yang features will make the space more active and Yin features generate a more restful atmosphere. Make sure your design choices and styles are serving the people who need to occupy the space, and not the other way around!

Once we have achieved an appropriate Yin/Yang balance in each room, we will be well on our way to creating a balanced and harmonious home that supports, uplifts and nurtures our lives!

*Another powerful component of Feng Shui is working with balancing the Five Elements in our home. For those of you who would like to learn more, I am offering a free color Five Elements map to all of my readers. Click here to receive your free copy (pdf).


About the Author, Erica Sofrina:

Erica Sofrina

Erica is an internationally acclaimed speaker, teacher, consultant and author, and the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. Her goal is “to create beauty, harmony and consciousness wherever she goes.” She is known for her ability to translate Feng Shui into terms that are easy to understand and apply for western audiences.

Erica is the author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and she offers Earth Spirit Adventure Travel Retreats – tours to sacred sites in Bali and Hawaii. Her Comapany West Coast Academy of Feng Shui also offers Practitioner Certification Training Programs throughout the United States, along with home study programs and seminars. Please visit Erica’s website – www.ericasofrina.com – for more information.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Building a Green Home

Benefits of building Green include lower energy and water bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins which emit harmful Volatile Organic Compounds. Knowing that the lumber used is traceable to responsibly managed forests is Environmentally responsible and an even Deeper Shade of Green (Ottawa Citizen).

Building Green – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED® Canada for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes where the net cost of owning such a home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home. The system attempts to provide national consistency in defining the features of a green home and to enable builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green rating on their homes. It’s a consensus standard for green homebuilding and is part of the comprehensive suite of LEED assessment tools offered by the Canada Green Building Council to promote sustainable design, construction, and operations practices in buildings.

The LEED® Canada for Homes Rating System measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories:

  1. Innovation & Design Process (ID). Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
  2. Location & Linkages (LL). The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
  3. Sustainable Sites (SS). The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
  4. Water Efficiency (WE). Water-efficient practices, both indoor and outdoor.
  5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA). Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
  6. Materials & Resources (MR). Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ). Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
  8. Awareness & Education (AE). The education of the homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED® home.

The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings:

A recent study by California’s State and Consumer Services Agency concluded that there are indeed financial benefits to green-building design. The sustainability taskforce reviewed the construction costs of 33 green buildings across the U.S. and found that although it costs nearly 2% more on average to construct a green building than one using conventional methods, the cost premium yields savings of more than 10 times the initial investment during the life of a building (approx. 20 years according to the study).

RESOURCES:  Canada Green Building Council, LEED Canada for Homes

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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