Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui and Mindfulness in Art

I wanted to send a picture that I have hanging in my bedroom to get your opinion of the Feng Shui as you suggested in one of your posts. The  online form did not allow me to input it. I hope this is ok! Thanks!

Lucretia B., Austin, TX

Hi Lucretia,

Thanks for your email and for sending in your question. This is a lovely piece of art. May I assume that it’s one that you care for, since you’ve not only hung it in your bedroom, but you’ve also taken the time to ask me about it? Take a moment to touch into how you feel about this artwork. Where did it come from? What do you sense from it? How does it feel in your body when you gaze upon it?

It still surprises me that sometimes I receive questions about feng shui and art where the asker has a neutral position on the piece. Sometimes they can take it or leave it. I think we have the tendency to try to fill up space and just put something up ‘just because’. Often they have no idea why they wanted to put it up in the first place, besides that there was a empty space they wanted filled.

Sound familiar? We do the same with food, television, any sort of entertainment so we don’t feel the empty, bored, sad...etc. It’s not ‘bad’; however it’s interesting to notice this and see that if it comes from mindless conditioning. Is this coming from a helpful place? This is true mindfulness, contemplation and paying attention to the details even for a few moments.

I also encourage my clients to wait for the art that they love. You don’t need to rush and hurry to finish up your home. In fact, it’s kind of fun to have your eye open for something that you love. Alternatively you can find something to put up that’s not perfect but is trendy and fun for now, without a lot of investment. Or...why not just keep the space open?!

There is, of course, also the aspect of the location of this art. In your case, this art is up in your bedroom. If you’re a single woman ready and actively desiring a relationship with a partner, this isn’t exactly the best imagery. But the colors are soothing; the cool hues are okay for a bedroom otherwise. The angles are rather metal-like, so precise and orthogonal. And it can certainly go in another area of your home.

Be sure to check out our other posts about art!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design feng shui cerfication program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. Check us out at www.mindfuldesignschool.com

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a 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!


Q&A Sunday: Symbology of the Six Pointed Star

I came across your site and it is beautiful. Really like the idea of incorporating feng shui and zen in your living space. I was searching the mandala site and saw the Ketu yantra, which got my attention. I noticed the center looks like a Jewish star. I wonder if that's your intention that it is actually a Jewish star - which I absolutely find appealing, as my husband is Jewish and I am Chinese. 

Emily B., Encino, CA

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your email, and I’m so glad you like the website and the Ketu yantra. A lot of people are drawn to this one. It’s very healing. It’s actually related to my Vedic destiny number, so it’s one of my mandalas that’s very personal to me.

Many of the yantras (like Ketu) have the six pointed star in the center, which is the same symbol as the Jewish Star of David. In Vedic symbology, this symbol is the combination two equilateral triangles. One is triangle is upward pointing (male, yang, fire), the other downward pointing (female, yin, water), and the overlap of the two create balance of these opposite energies, like the yin and yang symbol

I hope you find the use of these shapes as interesting as I do! Since I love sacred geometry and symbols, I really loved responding to this question. On a final note, my yantra teacher Mavis Gewant, describes geometric symbols in an interview I did with her

A yantra is a geometric pattern of energy specific to deities and planets. It has been said that they are the physical form of a deity, where mantra is the sound form. Yantras give a structure or pattern to energy. They are composed of geometric forms like squares and circles. Since all cultures have these kinds of shapes, they resonate in our DNA when we see them. Yantras are archetypal and universal.
— Mavis Gewant

PS: I am Korean (also Asian), and my husband is also Jewish! 

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!


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Why Your Holistic Space Needs Art

Why Your Holistic Space Needs Art.jpg

Art may not be the first thing you think of when designing your holistic space, but it actually plays a very important role on many levels. Art, by nature, is very subjective, but its effects in design are much more objective and global. Adding the perfect pieces to your home can bring your area together in various ways. 

Balance The Five Elements

We've mentioned art many times as one of the easiest ways to balance out the five elements in any space. As each element relates to a certain area of the feng shui bagua, symbolized by certain shapes, colors and subjects, selecting a piece of art can bring in one or more of the five elements. For Earth you can add earthy colors like brown, orange and yellow and square shapes. For Metal, look for metallic colors, whites, grays and circular shapes. For Water, choose the colors dark blue and black and wavy shapes. For Wood, opt for green, blue and columnar shapes, and finally, for Fire, look for the color red and triangular shapes.

Meditation

Some types of sacred art can be viewed and contemplated in meditation. For instance, the yantra mandalas are created through meditation in action but also can be a visual focal point of a meditation practice. Sacred art is often created with mantra and symbolism. I once attended and event at the Rubin Museum of Art called a "Dream Over". The museum hosts this event in which attendees are assigned a piece of art that you contemplate overnight. Participants meditate, are read bedtime stories and are invited to sleep and dream under their selected piece of art. Art can be a wonderful way to guide meditation and open your mind to inspiration and creativity. What moves you? Look for that in your art pieces.

Add Nature

While the best way to add nature to a space for feng shui adjustments is with living plants, there are times when that option isn't feasible. Maybe your thumb is charcoal black or you have boisterous pets (or children). In this case, choosing artwork that depicts nature can be a great alternative. Be sure to pay attention to the colors in your art and match them to your feng shui needs for the specific room.

Add Color Without Paint

On a similar note, there are often occasions when painting a space is not an option, such as when renting an apartment. In this case, artwork can serve as a way to add color and brighten a room without breaking terms of a lease. Images can add a healthy dose of color on their own, or you can grab a blank canvas and paint it one solid color for a big pop. 

Nurture Inspiration

Part of what makes a space holistic is that it provides nourishment and inspiration to its residents. We've even done a few posts and a podcast on how to make your space inspirational. One easy way to do this is with art. One of the best things about art is that it can be interpreted in so many ways and boosts creative thinking. Find a piece that inspires you to work toward your goals, make more art, spend more time on creative outlets, etc. 

Strengthen a Room's Purpose

I mentioned earlier that it's important to keep each room's needs in mind when selecting art. This can also be used to your advantage! In design, we often aim for a certain feeling or aura in specific rooms. For instance, the bathroom is often meant to be a place for relaxation and the bedroom for passion. Adding curated artwork can help establish these purposes. Before you look at art, take stock of what you want each room in your space to inspire and find a piece that matches that feeling!

Whether you make your own art, find art that speaks to you or commission a personal piece, bringing artwork into your space can go a long way in making a house into a holistic home. If you're on the lookout for artwork now, consider a Holistic Spaces mandala or reach out to some of our favorite artists below:

Amy T. Won
Mavis Gewant
Carmen Mensink
Karl Lorenzen

by Anjie Cho


My Favorite Things: 6 Sacred Art Must-Haves

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.

Last month we talked with my Tibetan Buddhist art teacher, Carmen Mensink, on the podcast. Carmen shared her experience with sacred art and how we can use it to enhance our holistic spaces, so this month, I wanted to share my favorite ways to do just that! Whether you're an experienced artist, a beginner or just a fan of pretty pieces, these six items will help make your house into a holistic home filled with intention and inspiration


Tibetan Buddhist Art

As we shared last month on the podcast, Carmen Mensink is a talented artist with many beautiful pieces of Tibetan Buddhist art, including painted thangkas like this one. 

Each thangka contains deep symbolism and is an original piece of art by Carmen. This one is the Medicine Buddha, the embodiment of the buddha's healing qualities, both physically and mentally.

I encourage you to take a look through Carmen's work to find a thangka that embodies what you need most in your life and space!

Available at: Tibetan Buddhist Art


Planet Mandala Coloring Book

This coloring book is the work of one of my other teachers, Mavis Gewant. Mavis is a highly trained sacred arts teacher with whom I practice the art of yantra painting. 

Yantra mandalas are my favorite form of meditation, and this coloring books makes them easy for those with any artistic skill level! Mavis even includes color guides for each mandala as well as a duplicate so you can try out the colors of your intuition. 

Among all the trendy coloring books on the market for adults, this is one of my favorites and is a great way to engage in sacred art and meditation to find inspiration and peace. 

Available at: Amazon


Buddhist Art Coloring Book

Another beautiful option for adult coloring books, these Buddhist art coloring books by Robert Beer put each of us in Carmen's seat...sort of. 

Though we may not all be talent and well-practiced like Carmen, we can each indulge in the sacred Tibetan Buddhist art form through this unique coloring book! 

Not only does the book provide an accessible route to sacred art meditation, it's a great way to produce some art to display in your holistic space, even if you can't draw a stick figure! 

Available at: Amazon


Prismacolor Blenders

I love Prismacolor pencils. They're absolutely wonderful for use in coloring books and other sacred art.

Maybe the best invention ever for coloring is the blender pencil, and these Prismacolors are my favorite. 

Blender pencils blend separate colors together so well, giving work a beautiful look. The only thing better than sacred art is stunning sacred art!

Available at: Amazon


Tibetan Calligraphy Book

Another of my favorite ways to meditate is through calligraphy. This book is a great way to practice Tibetan calligraphy, even if you're not skilled in the art or even familiar with the Tibetan language. 

Sacred calligraphy is a great way to learn to let go, and you can even pair this guide with a Buddha board to keep your practice neat and add the water element to your space!

Available at: Amazon


Sacred Mandalas

Like the sacred Tibetan thangkas in Carmen's portfolio, mandalas are also a fantastic, symbolic way to add meaningful art to your space. 

Our shop has many varieties of sacred mandalas to match whatever area might be lacking in your life. This Jupiter yantra brings expansion and illumination and is wonderful as a feng shui adjustment to a holistic space. 

Try out our Mandala Matchmaker to find the best sacred mandala for you and your space!

Available at: Holistic Spaces