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

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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.

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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



The Ultimate Autumn Essential Oil Collection

The Ultimate Autumn Essential Oil Collection.jpg

As we settle into the cooler season, it's increasingly important to take care of ourselves, inside and out. We've shared plenty of tips here for updating your holistic spaces for the new season, and we've also spoken with many health experts on how to ease your body and mind into autumn. In addition to watching your diet and taking care to listen to your body, these essential oils can work wonders in making the switch from warm summer to cool fall. 

Eucalyptus - This essential oil is an amazing tool in treating a variety of respiratory symptoms, including coughs, runny noses, sore throats and more. It's also shown to be highly effective in reducing stress (holiday season, anyone?), and is a generally warming, calming scent.

Nutmeg - Speaking of pleasant smells, nutmeg essential oil is another option with great results in treating cold and cough symptoms. It can also help to alleviate some depression and act as a sleep aid, both helpful in the change to cooler weather! Maybe the best perk of this essential oil is the token autumn scent that acts as a mood setter as well!

Rosemary - This powerhouse essential oil has a wide range of uses for heading into the fall season, including helping to improve respiratory function, reduce stress, support a healthy immune system and prevent dry skin. Talk about a must-have!

Lavender One of the most popular essential oils, lavender is excellent at healing skin irritations (think dry skin from all that wind and cool weather) and is also a wonderful way to reduce stress. Final perk? It helps boost your immune system! 

Frankincense - Another essential oil with many healing properties perfect for fall, frankincense is known to help tighten and tone skin in addition to fighting coughs and colds and soothing anxiety. 

Lemongrass - Lemongrass can help to give your skin that glow that cooler weather often steals from summer's bright days. It's great as a skin toner and can also help to fight depression that comes with colder months!

Sandalwood Sandalwood is yet another all-around perfect essential oil for fall, as it helps heal dry skin and keep skin smooth, while also working to fight colds and coughs and boost the immune system. 

Rose - Rose oil is touted as one of the most effective for reducing depression, stress and anxiety, all of which can unfortunately accompany the change in weather. Not only can this oil uplift your mood, it's great for dry skin as well!

Vetiver - This is a grounding essential oil, perfect for the new fall season, when we look toward rooting ourselves to gear up for the cold, yin winter. 

Chamomile - Another essential oil worth having any time of year, chamomile offers a calming scent that helps us return to inner harmony, much needed as we head into the often stressful holiday season!

Of course, this list isn't all inclusive, but if you're looking for a great fall lineup, these oils fit the bill. You could also add fall-scented oils, like orange, cinnamon, clove and wood oils like pine, cedarwood and many more. Be sure to also try your hand at oil blends too! Check out this post from Fresh Mommy Blog for some great ideas for fall!

by Anjie Cho