Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Business

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my inquiry. I am a Rooster, born on August 18, 1981. My house faces the east (my front door faces the east). My kitchen is in the NE, guest room is in the east and my son's bedroom is in the SE. Master's bedroom is in the SW, while living room/grand dining room is in the NW. In the west is our bathroom. I just started my business. However, I am having difficulty selling out my products. I am selling fashion bag charms / bag accessories. This is the first time the styles I have are sold in the U.S. I want to be a successful business owner, but I didn't expect it to be this difficult. Can you help me? What should I do?

Avvy C., Cleveland, MS


Hi Avvy,

Thanks for listening to the podcast and your question. First I wanted to explain that there are many schools of feng shui - dozens. The feng shui that I practice is BTB feng shui, and we do not use the compass directions in our analytics. If you’re interested in that, you can try a compass, flying star or classical feng shui consultant. My good friend, Beth Grace, may be a good option. She’s featured regularly on my new podcast mini-series “Astrology and Feng Shui”. Check out the podcast and Beth!

Otherwise, if you aren’t specifically looking for a particular school, BTB feng shui does, of course, give methods for improving your business. You did not mention an office in your home, so the first thing would probably be to look at the feng shui of your office. If you don’t have an office, that could be an issue. 

You also mention that you are selling something that is new to the U.S. When I work with a client, I ask a lot of questions at this point to pinpoint what the issue is. For instance, is the problem that you can’t get the business off the ground? Are there money issues? Are the products desirable; are they made well? Is it that people know about the product but don't want to buy? Or if only they knew about the product they would buy? And of course there are a slew of other questions; these are just a few.

In general, I would make sure you have an office space with a dedicated desk. Please make sure your desk is located in command of your space. There’s information in these articles about the command position. I also have a feeling that you need to work on the Recognition and Fame area, so that people know about your product. You can place something like a new green living plant in the Recognition area of your desk and home to add some fuel to fire up your recognition.

Hope that helps! Let us know and good luck with your new business!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

5 Ways to Embrace the Summer Solstice

It's officially summer! As of today, the 2017 summer solstice, we've moved from spring to summer and are welcoming the fire season after a cold winter! The earth will travel its closest to the sun today, bringing longer days, warmer weather and the official beginning of a new season in the northern hemisphere. We're always fans of the summer season, and in feng shui terms, it's a great time to refresh your space and prepare the coming fire element. Here are our favorite ways to switch to summer in a holistic space!

Clear Your Space

I recommend space clearings on a regular basis to my feng shui clients. They are great ways to refresh the energy in your home, send stagnant energy on its way and welcome positive qi to your space. There are any number of ways to clear the space, but I prefer the BTB feng shui orange peels method or our Holistic Spaces white sage mist during the summer months! The Space white sage spray is finally back in stock, and it's also perfect to travel with during the summer. You don't always want to burn sage when you're staying away from home, so the mist is a brilliant way to clear the space of that guest room without setting off any alarms!

Clean Out Your Closet

We all know the value of closet space, and though it might be necessary to leave out a few warmer pieces for the spring season, summer is hot and vibrant, and it's the ideal time to pack away those winter clothes and make space for light, comfortable summer clothes. You may even find there are clothes you haven't worn that you can get rid of! Each piece of clothing that leaves your space leaves room for a new, quality piece you love. Check out some of our past posts about cleaning out the closet!

Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies

Just as we change our eating habits at the beginning of fall, winter and spring, the summer season brings with it a new list of optimal foods, most notably raw fruits and veggies. With the rise of the heat, fruits and veggies offer a healthy, nutritious way to cool the body, and many (think lettuce, watermelon) even contain a high amount of water to help combat the fire season! My favorite thing is to make watermelon juice. Be sure to juice the rind, too! Watermelon rind contains a wealth of nutrients not found in other fruits and can even help improve blood circulation! 

Swap Out Design Accessories

If you changed up your holistic space to get cozy during the cooler months, it's time to switch back to breezy, cooling accessories for your space. Replace darker colors with light blues, greens and pastels; swap heavy drapes for thin curtains; opt for airy, organic linens and maybe even throw in a few summer-themed pillows! Check out our next My Favorite Things post for our favorite summer design accessories.

Add the Water Element

June is the peak of the fire season, and the best way to balance out excess fire is to add water. You can do this by adding actual water, kidney shaped items, dark blues and blacks and representations of water. Check out my favorite ways to add water to a space!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Can I Use a Mirror as a Headboard

I wanted to know what you thought about using a mirror as a headboard. 

Carla P., Houston, TX


Hi Carla

Thanks for your question! 

I would probably advise that it would not be ideal to use a mirror for a headboard if you’re doing this to improve your feng shui. Of course, you can use whatever you like for a headboard, but feng shui-wise there are a few problems I can foresee. 

First of all, it’s important in feng shui philosophy to have a headboard, because it provides stability and connects both sides of the bed. I would have to assume that if you want a mirror as a headboard, it is not a mirrored headboard, rather a mirror you’re adapting into a headboard. So then you wouldn’t be able to attach it to the bed frame. 

Second, if you could attach it to the bed frame, it seems a bit dangerous to have a mirror fastened to the bed. Or to lean on a mirror while sitting up in bed. It could very easily be broken, and of course broken glass can be a nightmare to clean up. And it would be a literal nightmare waking up to glass shards in your bed.

There are always exceptions, for instance maybe there’s a lovely headboard that has mirror on it. However the sense I’m getting from your question is that you want to use a mirror in lieu of a headboard, in which case I would not recommend that. 

The ideal headboard in feng shui is solid, connected to the bed and supports both partners safely. You can read up on that here. Of course it is fine to have mirrors in the bedroom, at least in BTB feng shui, and you can certainly include one above your headboard, but unless you have a headboard with a mirror already purchased, there should be plenty of beautiful options that will be more supportive in that role. :)

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Om Mani Padme Hum: The Most Popular Tibetan Buddhist Mantra

image credit: Carmen Mensink Dakini offers the lotus flower and mantra

image credit: Carmen Mensink
Dakini offers the lotus flower and mantra

Last week we talked about the importance of mantra in everyday life, in feng shui and in other outlets of holistic living (like meditation). As we discussed, a mantra is a mind tool, and each person may have a separate mantra that is meaningful for them. But there are some mantras that are widely used and considered especially important in certain practices. 

In fact, one of my favorite mantras and one of the most popular in Tibetan Buddhism is:

Om Mani Padme Hum

Om Mani Padme Hum translates to the phrase, "The jewel is in the lotus," alluding to the strong symbolism of the lotus flower in many Indian belief systems, including Buddhism. The lotus flower originates in a thick, muddy environment and blooms pure and beautiful to the surface. The Dali Lama has also said that this mantra can be interpreted as the jewel (which represents altruism) and the lotus (representing wisdom) in combination, which is where enlightenment is found. Om Mani Padme Hum is believed to hold all Buddhist teachings.

The Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who is symbolic of the compassion of all the buddhas. In depictions, Avalokiteshvara is shown with a lotus in his left hand. Kuan Yin, the feminized version of Avalokiteshvara, is also related to this mantra in addition to the heart sutra mantra. 

As I mentioned in last week's post, though the meaning of the mantra is important and good to know, there is actually more to be experienced in the sound of the mantra as it is repeated. Also, since mantras are traditionally in Sanskrit, assigning a translated meaning to them can detract from their original interpretations and make them less meaningful. 

As it does encompass all the Buddhist teachings, Om Mani Padme Hum can be used in almost any situation. From cultivating compassion for yourself or another to finding solid ground to preparing for your day and more! In fact, a guide at the Rubin Museum shared that while visiting a family in Tibet, the family recited it regularly, which is said to purify on three levels - speech, mind, body - and remove negative karma. The more you recite Om Mani Padme Hum, the more merit you receive, and the more you begin to embody Avalokiteshvara. 

When do you find mantras to be most helpful? Are there any that you use daily that improve your life?

by Anjie Cho

Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 044: Creating Stability During Unstable Times - A Mini Consultation








Q&A Sunday: Do You Lay Out the Bagua by Room or by Floor?

Feng Shui 101- The Bagua Map.png

I have recently discovered your podcast and blog. I really enjoy it and appreciate the information you are providing for all. I do have a question about the bagua map. I'm getting ready to move into a townhouse. Is that supposed to be by space or room? For example, I have a combined living room and entryway, combined kitchen and dining room on the same level. Does this map apply to the entire first floor? Or by room? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Keisha D, Asheville, NC


Hi Keisha

Thank you for listening to my podcast and reading my blog! And thank you very much for your question. This is a great one; it comes up a lot, and I think it will help a lot of people.

The feng shui bagua map is a conceptual map that can stretch and shrink to fit a floor plan. But it can also stretch to be laid over your entire home, your property, even your city, then your state, and so on and so on. In turn, it can also shrink and be applied to an individual room, a piece of furniture (like your desk or bed), it can even be applied to your face or your palm. This a previous Q&A that talks a bit about that concept. 

When the home is multi-level, like a townhouse, we generally apply the bagua on the entire first floor based on the entry door location. The second floor is a bit more complicated. It depends on the landing, the stairs, etc. You would need a feng shui consultant to look at it. You can also use the bagua on each individual room. If you submit the floor plan to the blog, we can take a look.

So the answer is yes to both!

I hope your move went well and I hope the clarification helps. If you'd like, you can check out a few of these other questions regarding the bagua in specific spaces. Please also note that, if you have trouble on the second floor, I can do long-distance consultations, or you could schedule a quick 15-minute call

Q&A Sunday: Unique Bagua Layout

Q&A Sunday: Family Bedrooms and the Bagua

Q&A Sunday: The Bagua Map and Your Entrance

Q&A Sunday: Laying a Bagua With an Unused Front Door

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

What is a Mantra?

You'll find the term "mantra" throughout our posts, as it's an important part of feng shui, Buddhism and many spiritual practices including meditation and sometimes yoga. None of this matters, though, if you don't understand what a mantra is. 

Literally, the term "mantra" is a Sanskrit word meaning "mind tool," and that's exactly what a mantra is! Renowned meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, defines a mantra as a sort of default saying that each of us has in response to happenings in our lives. These mantras can actually be positive (i.e. You're awesome) or negative (i.e. I knew you'd mess that up!). In fact, changing negative thoughts to more positive thoughts is one of the best ways to use a "mind tool." The repetitive action in using a mantra helps to set the grooves in our lives and thoughts, and historically, specific syllables are believed to invoke individual energies. 

Though the power of a mantra is said to be experienced through the listening, the repetition involved in using a mantra can be incredibly helpful in changing the way we react to certain events, speak to ourselves and even think about others. This direction (or redirection) of intention is one of the reasons we use mantras in feng shui, since BTB feng shui focuses so closely on intention. 

One of the most basic seed syllables that start most traditional eastern mantras is "Om". Om is actually much more than a single syllable sound used in typical meditation. Om is known as an elemental and universal sound, encompassing all and serving as a part of many revered prayers and chants across many belief systems. And actually, Om is not one sound, but a collection of three (A-U-M) that is said to represent beginning, middle and end (so...everything). Physiologically, it represents the entire range of human vocal ability, from the throat to the lips. 

Each person's personal mantra may be different, much like the varying mantras that accompany yantras and specific meditations. Be sure to check back next week, when we'll discuss one of the most popular traditional Tibetan Buddhist mantras, "Om Mani Padme Hum" and its importance. In the meantime, work to find your own mantra by choosing a word that lifts you, makes you feel connected and settles you into the groove you want. Sharon also recommends starting with a single word that you can associate with feeling the breath as you meditate

I'm looking forward to sharing the meaning behind one of my favorite mantras. Until then, what word(s) are you choosing for your personal mantras? Do you already have daily mantras? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

by Anjie Cho

Astrology & Feng Shui, Episode 004: Fire Horse Month in the Fire Rooster Year


Welcome back for the third episode of our mini-series, Astrology & Feng Shui!



Tune in every first Monday as we visit with guest astrologers to connect eastern and western astrology to feng shui!


Q&A Sunday: Can a Mirror Face a Window?

I wanted to verify something with you if you're willing. Is it bad placement to have a mirror face a window? Thank you!

Lisa R., NYC


Hi Lisa

Thanks for writing in, and what a great question! Mirrors are used a lot in feng shui, and there’s often much confusion as to how to use them. In this case, no it is not “bad” or unfavorable to have a mirror face a window. In fact, it can be an auspicious placement.

In general, mirrors can symbolize and bring in water energy in areas of your spaces that lack water. An example would be if you have a fireplace (fire energy) in the Abundance (earth) area. Adding a mirror is one of the numerous ways to add water energy to tone down the fire. 

Another use for mirrors is that they can expand, extend space. For instance, if you have a toilet or bathroom in an inauspicious location such as the Fame gua (fire), then you can place a mirror on the outside of the door so that the bathroom energetically “disappears”. The reflection in the mirror expands or extends what’s reflected into the Fame area where the toilet sits.

Another example that answers your question specifically is an adjustment I personally have in my office. I have a convex mirror above the Abundance area of my desk. It reflects the image of my window, where there is a view of the East River. I have the mirror specifically reflecting the window and image of water, to bring that water (Wealth & Abundance) energy across the Knowledge, New Beginnings and Abundance areas of my desk. This brings in so much auspicious qi for my business. I also have something similar in the kitchen, where a convex mirror reflects the window and view of water over my stove. The stove represents wealth so this increases that energy of prosperity, as well as adjusting my stove location!

So, no it's not "bad" for a mirror to face a window! 

As in many cases with feng shui, the adjustment really just depends on the person and situation. If the circumstances mentioned above are similar to yours, the choice to face a mirror towards a window may well be auspicious, but if you aren't sure or have doubts, feel free to follow up or book a 15-minute consultation call!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!