Q&A Sunday: Best Feng Shui Location for an Altar or Shrine

Best Feng Shui Location for an Altar or Shrine.png

I read your "9 Feng Shui Things in Bedroom" and find it helpful. I'm currently remodeling my whole home. My question that I've tried to find an answer to in my books and online: Where is the best position to place an altar...what direction, and is the bedroom not a good place to have it? I am a single woman and my bedroom is in the front right section of the bagua map. 

Carolyn K., 

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for your question, and I’m so glad you like the MindBodyGreen article, “9 Things That Should Be in Your Bedroom (According to a Feng Shui Healer)”.

Wonderful that you have an altar (or shrine) in your home. My first response would be to ask what’s most appropriate from your teachers and spiritual lineage. If there’s no specific place required, the next suggestion would be to locate it where you will use it. I’m assuming this is where you would practice meditation, so it’s a good idea to have it placed so that it works for you functionally. 

When I created my first altar, it was after I started studying and practicing BTB feng shui. My teachers taught me that, if we’d like, we could create an altar in the BTB feng shui tradition to honor the teachings and as a focal point for our attention. We were even encouraged to assemble “altar committees” in class so that we could have a special sacred place in the classroom. Here we offered an image of the teacher (a Buddha and/or Professor Lin Yun), a musical instrument, a red ribbon on a stick, saffron water, rice, and a mirror in a rice bowl.

Since I live in a small New York City apartment, I have my shrine in the living room. I’ve even included a photo of it here. If I had more space, I would like to have a separate shrine room near the rear of the home. It’s ideal if the shrine can be in a more private space. I’ve been told that the bedroom traditionally is not great, as it’s seen as disrespectful for the Buddha’s image to gaze upon our romantic activities. But remember, the mundane and functional is as important as the spiritual and transcendental. It’s up to you and your specific situation. I can only share guidelines.

I have a spiritual Buddhist shrine, but there are also secular altars that you can create. Laura Morris (together we founded the Mindful Design Feng Shui school) has a blog post about more secular altars. An image of a deity is not required... you can even have a vision board or beautiful inspiration piece of art, like from my talented friend Amy T Won. On my shrine I also have a manifestation list and my ikebana cutters. The cutters are there to remind me to "cut my thoughts" and a tool of my contemplative art practice.

Since I practice BTB feng shui, the direction is not important. However, my shrine is located in the commanding position of the living room. And when I sit to meditate, I face the shrine, so I’ve also placed a small convex mirror so that when I’m sitting, I can see behind me as well. This corrects and places me in command as I meditate. But the Buddha holds the leading seat - the seat that’s most in command.

On a final note, wherever your altar ends up, you can see what area of the feng shui bagua maps it corresponds with. Or alternatively, if you have total flexibility, you could choose the feng shui bagua map location based on your intention. For instance, the Knowledge (dark blue) area would be wonderful if you seek to deepen your self-cultivation. The center area of your home, or the Health area, would be useful to have your altar become the central focal point of your life. A shrine in the New Beginnings area might give you a sense of freshness and nowness every time you sit to practice.

As with so many aspects of BTB feng shui, the optimal placement of your altar does depend on you and your preferences. Of course it helps to observe any feng shui guidance, so I would encourage you to consider the feng shui bagua and the energy of the area when selecting your altar space. Don't forget to arrange your altar with intention as well!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


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!


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Feng Shui Tweaks For Every Room In Your Home

featured today on MindBodyGreen by Anjie Cho

  image credit: Maja Topcagic via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Maja Topcagic via MindBodyGreen

Feng shui is about more than just moving around furniture or creating a "Zen"-looking home. Feng shui gives us tools to reduce stress, improve our well-being, and invite joy into our lives.

Similar to meditationthe practice of feng shui is deeply steeped in mindfulness, in slowing down and noticing the details in your life so that you can truly experience the present moment. The words "feng shui" are Chinese and translate to "wind" and "water." Wind is our breath, and humans are almost 60 percent water. Wind and water are vital elements for life, as is feng shui! Historically, feng shui has roots in Taoism and Buddhism. However, elements of feng shui are palpable in every culture across time. For instance, these days we can all feel the difference between a New York City apartment and a quiet hidden cabin in the forest, and we understand that our surroundings greatly affect our energy.

By connecting with the spaces around us, we can begin to further relate to and celebrate our outer and inner worlds. Feng shui says that we are interconnected with everyone and everything is alive, that there can be magic in making your bed every morning, gazing out the window, or walking through a doorway.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho


The One Room Where You Shouldn't Keep Tons of Plants, According to Feng Shui

featured this week on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

  image credit: Sophia Hsin via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Sophia Hsin via MindBodyGreen

Who doesn't love a good houseplant? With their toxin-bustinghappiness-inducing properties, plants are an amazing vehicle for ushering some of nature's healing power indoors. And these days, it seems like the more you have, the better. Instagram's most enviable homes feature rooms draped in greenery, and some of the world's most influential offices (Amazon, anyone?) are transforming into urban jungles.

But one design philosophy is saying not so fast. Here, leading feng shui experts explain why the bedroom may not be the best place for all of your plant pals:

But if you already have them, it's totally OK.

If you have a bedroom full of plants and sleep like a baby, you don't need to change a thing. Most feng shui pros, including Maureen Calamia of Luminous Spaces, agree that, depending on the room, a few plants can be beneficial, especially when placed in the wealth corner to promote green of another kind.

Architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho adds that some schools of feng shui, like the more Western BTB philosophy, think that woodsy elements in the bedroom can actually help some people thrive. "The wood element adds qualities like flexibility, kindness, growth, and healing into your life," she says. "For a very lethargic or depressed person, it may even be good to have some uplifting energy to raise your chi. I personally have plants in my bedroom and found that they brighten and perk up the space."

...read full article


How To Hack Your Suboptimal Holiday Sleeping Arrangements

featured recently on MindBodyGreen by Lindsay Kellner

  image credit: Katarina Radovic via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Katarina Radovic via MindBodyGreen

There's no place like home for the holidays, and yet, if you're like most people, you're traveling. While it can be wonderful to travel, getting out of our regular routines can shock our bodies, making it more difficult to eat healthfully, stay regular, and, perhaps most importantly, to sleep well. We spoke to our experts Anjie Cho, a feng shui specialist, and Ellen Vora, M.D., mbg class instructor who specializes in anxiety and is a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed medical acupuncturist, and certified yoga teacher. Both provided tips on how to ready your space and body to get your best sleep ever no matter where you are. Here are their pro tips:

1. Clear the space.

Whether it's a hotel room, sofa, or your childhood bedroom—a space that's been used by someone else or left dormant for weeks (or months) needs clearing. "There can be residual energies from the people that have stayed there before or just from the people you're staying with," Cho said. The holidays in particular can make you feel more sensitive than usual to "foreign energy," she warned. "By clearing the space, you're just giving the place a little perk to provide a restful and spacious sleeping situation while traveling."

...read full article


Check Out A Feng Shui Designer's Blissed-Out NYC Apartment

featured on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

Today on Holistic Home Tours, we’re checking out the New York City home of interior architect and feng shui designer Anjie Cho

Perched in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, Anjie Cho's space feels worlds away. The interior architect has used her knowledge of feng shui to deck out her new apartment—which she shares with her husband, Jeremiah, and their two Chihuahuas, Javier and Pearl—like only a pro could. She's letting us in on how she used feng shui to create an oasis in the middle of the city, and you're going to want to take notes.

What are three words that describe your design philosophy at home?

Simple, bright, calm.

What was the first room you tackled when you moved in?

Definitely the bedroom. We needed a place to sleep, and in feng shui the bedroom is thought to be the most important room in the house since it represents who you are. Since I have a home office, we split the bedroom up with some white fabric panels to create separate spaces. My husband loves how soft and tent-like these feel.

...read full article


How To Feng Shui Your Beauty Routine To Bring Love Into Your Life

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

  image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Your face offers valuable information in feng shui. You can glean information about health, personality, and influence others with just your face. Here are some feng shui tips to welcome love with a few tweaks to your beauty routine.

Hydrate with rosewater.

Rosewater is soothing and hydrating for the skin and excellent to spritz on your face, neck, and body before, during, and after any beauty regime. Roses represent love and sweetness—the fragrance of flowers (especially roses) can lift your energy and is said to attract love. On a physical level, rose has a profound tonic action on the heart, activating sluggish blood circulation, relieving cardiac congestion, and toning the capillaries. That's literally why we get a flutter from it.

Apply makeup symmetrically, in pairs.

Humans are attracted to bilaterally symmetrical faces—this symmetry in our faces connotes health and vibrancy and resonates with beauty. When applying makeup be sure to keep both sides as even and symmetrical as possible, and apply everything in pairs. The number two (a pair!) also represents love and partnership in feng shui.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho


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Here's What To Put On Your Walls To Be In A Good Mood Every Damn Day

featured this week on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

  image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

While a minimalist mentality will probably never go out of style, we're noticing a new trend in home design: one that's less stark and more showy, less uniform and more flexible. Color has found its way into the muted, hushed feeds of popular design blogs, and the homes we visit for dinner parties are starting to look like people actually live in them.

Instead of keeping the house incredibly tidy and organized, we're starting to encourage a little mess—granted, thoughtful mess. Spaces that are curated with items of personal significance are becoming the norm, and possibilities for creativity abound.

4. Add an element of sound.

In feng shui, metal represents clarity and freshness. Architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho recommends working metal accessories like bells or wind chimes into your design to pull in some of this joyful energy. "Be sure to select metal accessories that make sounds that are pleasing to you and hang them slightly off the wall so they can actually make some noise when a breeze comes by," she adds. "You can also sing along to some uplifting music while you decorate to really imprint your intention into this new accent wall."

...read full article


The Household Items You Need To Throw Out ASAP (According To A Feng Shui Expert)

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

  image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Did you know that the spaces around us directly affect the amount of stress and ease we feel in our day-to-day? The objects in our home speak to us on visible and invisible levels. The good news is that feng shui philosophy offers ancient wisdom on what we can let go of in our homes for more peace. Here are a few things that I recommend parting with as a feng shui practitioner:

1. Dried flowers

Dried and decaying flowers, branches, and leaves are a big feng shui no-no. At one point these living things held vibrant energy, but as they dried and decayed, they began to represent death and decline. There are, however, a few exceptions. If you have a bouquet of dried flowers that hold a lot of meaning for you, the memory and good chi associated with them can transform them into a positive object.

2. Pointy, sharp plants

Pointy plants such as cactuses symbolize a similar energy: sharp and prickly. If you seek to create a smooth and gentle flow in your space (and therefore your daily life), you need to get rid of plants that symbolize unease. Again, there are some exceptions, like when a certain cactus or prickly plant has a unique, positive association for you.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho


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The Feng Shui Home Cleanse That Will Bring Your Intentions To Life

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

  image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Whether you're an entrepreneur or work for a company, most of us have offices in our homes. Home offices can be a whole room, a desk at the end of the hall, or even sometimes the dining room table. In many cases, I've found that a home office comes with all sorts of challenges. The predicament that I hear most often as an interior architect and feng shui expert is "I can't get anything done! I get too distracted."

Well, there are things we can do to help with that. In feng shui, your home office is an important space, as it is a symbol of your career and affects how you succeed in the world. I'm so happy to share a few simple feng shui tips to create the perfect home office and transform how effective you are!

Location, location, location!

It's really quite important to have a spot for your home office away from the bedroom(s) and toward the front of the home. The bedroom area is about rest and relaxation. If you have trouble with focus in your home office, it's best to move the office out of the bedroom and closer to the front door. The rear of the home is more insular and more "yin," quiet and inward, whereas the front of the home is closer to the world and more "yang," outward and active. It's better to be alert and awake when you're working, especially when you have deadlines or need some motivation.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho