How To Give Your Home An Energetic Makeover This Fall, According To Feng Shui

featured on MindBodyGreen

In feng shui philosophy, the season of autumn is related to the metal element. Metal, water, wood, fire, and earth make up the five "phases," or elements, that Taoists and Buddhists observe to relate the cycles of nature with the patterns in our homes, bodies, and lives. Many different ancient cultures have their own five-element system, such as the Native Americans, Tibetans, and Hindus. 

So what's "metal" about autumn? It's the feeling of the cool, crisp air on your skin, the poignant sadness that summer is ending, the leaves on the trees begin to die and fall away, and the sense of contraction—a hibernation of sorts.

Conceptually, metal is about precision, beauty, and completion. Metal can be wielded into a mighty sword or exquisite shiny jewelry. As a sword, it can swiftly cut through confusion and chaos with intelligence and compassion. A beautiful gold necklace can magnify the radiance embodied by the wearer. Metal and autumn is connected to the time when we work hard to harvest the fruits of our labor as well as celebrate our successes. The mouth and right speech are also connected to the element of metal.

…read full article

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 launched our program in September 2018. 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.


Autumn Is Finally (Actually) Here!

New York City isn't usually associated with warm fall weather, but this year the sunshine stuck around a bit longer than usual. Some of us (me!) enjoyed it, and others waited patiently for real autumn temperatures. They're finally starting to drop down, so I'd thought I'd share my favorite blog posts from over the years to help us all get adjusted to fall, no matter how late it showed up!


Make Room for Metal and Clarity with the Autumnal Equinox

Make Room for Metal and Clarity with the Autumnal Equinox.jpg

I can't believe it's already time to say goodbye to summer! In two days, we will experience this year's Autumnal Equinox and feel the shift from long, warm summer days to shorter, crisper fall days before we head into winter. Many of our friends have shared incredible ways to adjust to the new season and welcome the equinox. Be sure to check those posts out! We've also pulled together a few tips for this year to make autumn your best season yet!

What is the Autumnal Equinox?

Let's cover the important bases, first. Just what is the equinox, and why is it so important? The September equinox, also referred to as the Autumnal Equinox, marks the point in the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator, a sort of extension of the earth's equator that "sits" above the planet, from north to south. So essentially, the sun is crossing the earth's equator.

The term "equinox" comes from Latin roots "aequus" and "nox", meaning "equal night," which corresponds to the belief that, on an equinox, night and day are equal length. As it turns out, daylight still typically lasts longer than night. The center of the sun sets 12 hours after rising on this day, but each half of the sun still has to travel through the sky, so day and night times will vary. In fact, the equinox is not an all-day event, but the specific moment when the center of the sun reaches this point. This year, in Eastern time, that will happen at 4:02 pm on September 22. 

For everyday purposes, the equinox most notably represents the change from summer to autumn. As some of our holistic experts have noted, this is the time to move from yang energy, high activity and cool foods to more inward, yin energy, self-care and a warming, nourishing diet. And, based on the feng shui bagua map and five elements, autumn is a season of Metal.

Autumn and the Metal Element

In feng shui and the five elements theory, the autumn season corresponds to the Metal element and the Completion area of the bagua, which relates to the color white, the number seven and the element of joy. Metal is also associated with clarity, which is one of my focus words for this year!

If you're looking to update your space for the new season, you might think you should add more Metal. But in fact, for the most part, because this season carries more of this element, there can be an overabundance of Metal. Metal relates to metallic colors (think gold, silver) and the colors white and grey, as well as to joy and the mouth, and governs order and beauty. It's associated with efficiency and organization, circular shapes and a general turning inward. So what does an overabundance of Metal mean? Metal out of balance can be rigid and inflexible, stuck on having everything perfect. Since Metal is related to the mouth and speech, individuals with an excess of this element often speak without precision and boundaries. If this describes you in fall, you may have too much Metal!

Some ways to adjust a Metal imbalance: add Water, which drains Metal, or Wood, which dulls and softens the Metal element. For more Water, try enjoying walks along the water, bringing wavy patterns into your space or incorporating the sound of water into your home, like with music or a fountain. If you'd rather add Wood, add blue and green tones or plants to your space! Check out our My Favorite Things series for more insight on adding Water and Wood

Get Clarity with Metal 

Autumn is also the time for harvest, both in agriculture and metaphorically in life. The planting season is ending, so maybe it's good to look at this in terms of your life and space. What no longer serves you in your home? It could be as literal as summer clothes you haven't worn in three years or letting go of old food in the fridge and composting it. Think about things or people in your life that are no longer serving you, as well. Metal element can also be like a sharp sword, cutting through what's unnecessary. It's time to harvest what's come to fruition, look at why some things didn't grow and think about planning for the next year. 

Take some time as we transition to fall and consider how your "harvest" has turned out. And what do kind of energies do we want invite the next time around?

by Anjie Cho


My Favorite Things: 5 Accessories for Getting Cozy

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

Next week is already fall! I can't believe it! We've had a long, warm summer, but the weather is beginning to get cooler and crisper, and soon we'll be switching walks in the park for snuggling up indoors. That's why this month's My Favorite Things is all about getting cozy! We put some thought into the necessities for a staying warm in the fall air, and here's what we came up with.


Sun Yantra Mandala for Radiance & Warmth

I love mandalas as a way to add a certain energy or intention to a room. This Sun yantra mandala is perfect for warming up your space as the weather cools off!

The Sun is associated with individuality, radiance and yang energy. It depicts yellows and oranges and radiating lotus petals, and looks similar to the sun itself! As it represents warmth and radiance, this mandala is perfect for seasons when we see less sun. 

Yellows and oranges are representative of nature, which is appropriate for autumn, and the bright colors are also a helpful dose of optimism and positive qi during fall and winter months

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Wool Angled Front Wrap Cardigan

I love Eileen Fisher clothing. I probably wear at least one piece from her designs every day! They're so minimal, easy to match, high quality and incredibly eco-friendly. Eileen Fisher supports sustainable sourcing, fair trade, domestic production and much more!

This front wrap cardigan is no different. The sweater is made of Eileen Fisher signature washable, chlorine-free wool, which means it doesn't contain as many harmful chemicals, and you don't have to take it to the dry cleaners every time you spill tea! 

Its versatility also means it's perfect for wearing out or cuddling up inside with a good book. It's a must-have for cooler weather!

Available at: Eileen Fisher


Indian Cardamom Chai Tea

I am a huge fan of tea, and these days I cannot stop drinking Kalustyan's Indian Cardamom Chai! It's a blend of Darjeeling and Assam teas with cardamom flavor, milk and sugar to make it the perfect tea for a chilly afternoon.

I also like to add turmeric to my tea. Both turmeric and cardamom are powerful herbs used for years to aid in digestion, fight depression, build anti-oxidants and so much more. Plus, as members of the ginger family, they offer a warming sensation!

Since many of us get busier during the last part of the year, the Kalustyan's chai mix is instant, which means you just add hot water and enjoy! 

Available at: Kalustyan's


Wool Rug

When it comes to making your holistic space warmer, a wool rug is a no-brainer, and I love this neutral rug from Organic Looms!

Most rugs can help to reduce the cool temperature beneath your feet, especially here in NYC where everything is wood flooring, but wool rugs are especially warm!

This wool rug is suitable for any room, organic, non-dyed and allows for customization of shape, size and more. It's also ethically sourced and hand-woven, and it improves indoor air quality!

Available at: Organic Looms


Sandalwood Essential Oil

My favorite things for warming up wouldn't be a complete list without essential oils! Fall is a great time to utilize these incredible healing tools, and sandalwood is on our ultimate fall list

My good friend, Andrea Giordano, of Aromatherachi, specializes in using essential oils to make amazing products like soap and bath salts, but she also sells the oil itself! Her sandalwood oil is sustainable and eco-friendly, sourced in Hawaii! Can you think of a warmer place?!

Available at: Aromatherachi



Everything You Need to Know About Thieves Essential Oil

We're fans of essential oils, especially in the cooler seasons, when the change of weather and increase in stressful situations can wreak havoc on immune systems. You can check out our list of fall favorites here, but one oil that deserves a post of its own is Thieves. Thieves is a combination of several other oils and has an interesting back story as well as a laundry list of uses for both the body and the home. So why the name "Thieves"? The story goes like this:

When the Black Plague hit Europe, four spice traders found themselves forbidden to trade and had to find another way to generate income. Since the plague was claiming many victims, and most were afraid to touch the bodies of those who had died or were dying, these spice traders began to enter homes and loot the bodies and homes of the victims. To prevent themselves from becoming casualties as well, the four thieves rubbed a mixture of vinegar, oils and spices on their feet and bodies before entering the homes. 

When the king found out about these four thieves who had somehow managed to find immunity, he threatened to have them killed if they didn't share their recipe, which they did. Once the king had the recipe, he shared it with the kingdom and it eventually made its way all the way here!

Of course, we don't have to worry about the Black Plague in our modern day, but we do still get the sniffles and have to watch our immune systems closely when the weather begins to get chilly! Just like in days past, Thieves oil can help us to fight off sickness and maintain a healthy body

While there are many recipes for Thieves oil, depending on who you ask, the ratio of oils is generally very similar. 

For a small amount of oil, try:

10 drops of Clove oil
9 drops of Lemon oil
5 drops of Cinnamon oil
4 drops of Eucalyptus oil
3 drops of Rosemary oil

If you need a much larger amount, use:

80 drops of Clove oil
70 drops of Lemon oil
40 drops of Cinnamon oil
30 drops of Eucalyptus oil
20 drops of Rosemary oil

 

You can use these basic recipes to adjust for the amount of oil you need, but be sure to always use therapeutic grade essential oils, as other kinds may be toxic. We recommend seeking out Fair Trade as well! 

Once you've mixed your oil in a glass container, how do you use it? Thieves has a wide range of uses, but these are some of our favorites:

  • Mix Thieves in a 1:1 ratio (1 drop to 1 oz) with Witch Hazel or water to use as a general disinfectant and all-purpose cleaner
  • Mix in a 1:1 ratio (we like 9 drops of each) with carrier oil and massage on feet, back and chest to support a healthy immune system
  • Add one drop of Thieves to at least a cup of water and drink, cool or warm, to support immune system and lung functioning. You can even add a drop of lemon oil to make a great tea for throat pain!
  • Add a few drops to steaming water and use as a steam facial to support head, chest and lungs
  • Diffuse or add a few drops to a cinnamon stick to make your holistic space smell warm and welcoming, like the autumn and winter seasons, and to purify your indoor air!

We'd love to hear your favorite ways to use Thieves in your holistic spaces. Happy mixing!

by Anjie Cho