Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a Yoga Teacher

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I’d love any feng shui advice you can give me. I’m a yoga teacher - it’s what I love. I would like to grow my annual income by doubling the amount of private clients I work with regularly. I’m exhausted with the myth that it’s impossible to make money as a yoga teacher! 

Hunt P., Brooklyn, NY

Hi Hunt,

What a blessing that you love your career and what you do. And yes, it is possible to make good money as a yoga teacher; I believe in you! And a little feng shui always helps, right? 🙂

Thank you for sending along your floor plan. I’ll make some basic comments on the entire plan, then focus on your bedroom. The bedroom represents you and is the best place to focus your energy.

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It’s really important to have a clean entry with a bright light. If there isn’t an ability to keep the entry area bright and as expansive as possible, do what you can. You can add lighting, use brighter bulbs, paint the area white. From your floor plan, it looks rather narrow, so it could also benefit from having a mirror on the wall, to visually and energetically open up the space. Also make sure that, since this is an apartment, the apartment door number is easy to find and clean. You can also make sure all buzzers and door bells are in working order. Since the entry is your Path in Life and Career area, this is especially important. 

Let’s move onto your bedroom area. We can echo what we are doing in your overall floor plan by activating the Path in Life area of your bedroom. Mimic what was done in the entry of the whole floor plan. For example, you can add a new light fixture and/or mirror in both of these areas. Or paint the entry of the apartment and the wall along the door wall of the bedroom white. Or do all three!

The bed is not in the ideal position, but I understand you have a window and closet that makes it difficult to relocate it. What you can do to put the bed in the commanding position is to place a mirror so that when you’re in bed you can easily see the front door.  Second, your body is in the line of qi from the door. This can cause health problems. This can be corrected by hanging a Feng Shui crystal in the line of qi, where I’ve notated it on the floor plan. You can purchase a feng shui crystal here, in the Holistic Spaces shop.

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Finally my last comment is to move your desk in command as suggested on the floor plan. You’re not in command with your current desk position. Your desk represents your career, so its location is super critical. Also, in the Recognition areas of your desk, bedroom and apartment, you can place a piece of citrine; see the circles noted on the floor plans. This will activate your prosperity energy and your fire energy in the world, so all the potential clients out there who can benefit from your services can find you!

Be sure to check out our upcoming webinar, which is geared towards wellness practitioners like yourself. You can visit the website below to get registered!

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 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! 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!

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5 Tips to Incorporate The Comeback of Feng Shui

featured this week on New York Spaces

When I told my parents that I started studying feng shui, they laughed! My mom exclaimed, "Feng shui is old fashioned folklore!" But feng shui is making a comeback. In fact, 86% of Chinese Americans think feng shui will play a role in a future home buying decisions, according to a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate and the Asian Real Estate Association of America. And 49% are more likely than their parents to take feng shui into account when deciding on a home. Maybe I was onto something early on.

I would agree that feng shui suffers from a common misconception involving tacky, Asian-style black and red lacquer furniture, but that's not at all what feng shui is about. That's just a visual style that's associated with feng shui; the concepts rise above the outdated superficial execution. So, what is feng shui really about then? Feng shui is an ancient philosophy that uses environmental psychology that seeks to enhance our lives through our physical spaces.

The short version of my story is that at a turning point in my life, I decided to incorporate holistic wellness into my daily lifestyle. This included yoga and meditation. I needed to find some peace and slow down from my fast-paced life. Sound familiar? I think many of us can relate to this. As a practicing licensed architect, I quickly yearned to include this holistic system into my design practice.

Architects and designers, we love to create beautiful spaces. That's what we're good at, and it's fairly easy. But to design environments that resonate with the inhabitants, or can improve our lives—that's the challenging part. Feng shui gives us tools and guidelines to make that a reality, which goes on to make a difference when it comes to selling and buying the home. In fact, that same study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate found that 90% of Chinese Americans believe feng shui increases a home's resale value.

With this in mind, here are some easy ways to incorporate feng shui into your home (whether you're just looking for a new aesthetic or staging to attract potential buyers) without doing a complete re-design. You may just find a harmonious balance in your life as a result.

1. Clear the clutter. It's ideal for cabinets to reach the ceiling. If they don't, try placing living plants or items of personal value above.

2. Know where to put mirrors. It's important that mirrors are placed away from the bed in the bedroom. And a full-length mirror in the bathroom is usually key. Plant-life next to the mirrors encourages a better qi flow from water to earth to metal to wood.

3. Keep your color wheel on hand. Colors are a vital part of feng shui design. Consult your color wheel when designing the kitchen, especially as bright colors like red and orange work well there.

4. Free the bed. Feng shui principles dictate that the bed should be accessible from all angles. If it's not, move it to the center of the wall. Make sure the bed is not directly facing the door.

5. Embrace your green thumb. Those who practice feng shui will look for the presence of live plants, particularly in balance with other elements. Because bathrooms are keepers of water energy, placing earthy elements throughout can help create a balance.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho

Your Holistic Guide to the Autumn Equinox, with Jill Hoffman

I'm so excited to speak with Jill Hoffman, a Brooklyn-based Health and Lifestyle Coach, about the autumn equinox and how it affects each of us. Check out our chat below, where Jill and I talk shifting from summer to fall and three easy ways to handle the change with grace and holistic style! 

AC: As today is the fall equinox, how does the shift from summer to fall affect our bodies?

JH: During the summer months, most of us experience an accumulation of heat in the body that will turn into dryness in the fall. If we don’t work to balance out this dryness, during winter our sinuses will become irritated and can become a breeding ground for a viral or bacterial infection. Autumn is also the season to retreat. It's your time to savor the abundance of what you've harvested in the spring and summer months and to focus on the health of two of your major organs of elimination ~ the skin and the colon. Just as the leaves start to shed from the trees and reveal their inner core, the fall season beckons us to turn inward and let go of waste. It is a cleansing period and a time of transition for the earth and our bodies.

What are three lifestyle tips to help support this shift from summer to fall?

1. Transition to eating foods that are in season. Fall offers a bounty of grounding and nourishing fruits and vegetables that are important to balance out the dryness that naturally occurs in our body. These might include root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets and turnips. Eating 2-4 apples a day provides good fiber for colon health and malic acid to support your skin. Trade up your raw salads for more cooked, warming foods to help you prepare for the winter months.

2. Increase sleep. It is natural for our bodies to slow down this time of year. As our rhythm starts to bring us more inward, our need for sleep increases. Unfortunately, as our schedules tend to get busier as we move towards the winter holidays, we often ignore this craving. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be sleeping by 10pm. This is so we can stay in tune with our circadian rhythm and support detoxification. If you have a hard time winding down, dim the lights in your home after sunset and avoid using any devices after 8pm. Create a “wind-down” routine that starts at 9pm which might include yoga, meditation, warm bath or anything that makes you feel warm, cozy and nourished.

3. Dry brush your skin. Your skin is your largest organ of detoxification and is also our “face” to the world - we want it to look good! Right underneath your skin is your lymphatic system, which is essentially the garbage disposal system of your body. Waste and toxins are transported through this system so that they can be expelled through the detox organs. However, it is common for the system to get sluggish this time of year. By using a dry brush every morning, you are essentially giving your skin a “workout." It stimulates your lymphatic system and ushers the waste out of your body, thus improving the appearance and complexion of your skin. Also, using a dry skin brush will naturally boost your energy - just like regular exercise!

How have you created your own holistic space?

I love learning about energy and so the concept of Feng Shui has really resonated with me. I am currently in the process of fixing up my home office space. I have been studying the Bagua Map and am trying to apply the concepts to this space as well as my entire home. The first step was to make sure that my desk, stove and bed are in the command position. It makes so much sense how not being in command of your space can create chronic stress in the body. Reducing stress is something I am really passionate about in my work with clients, and I’m so grateful have this new tool to experiment with and to share with my community. 

by Anjie Cho

Jill A. Hoffman is a Health + Lifestyle Coach and has been working with clients since 2013. She specializes in teaching busy women how to be fully nourished so that they can experience radiant joy. Jill received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s cutting edge health coaching program. She is a board certified Holistic Health Coach and a member of the AADP (American Association of Drugless Practioners). Jill is currently working on certifications in transformational coaching and thyroid health coaching and is the founder of the Healthy Thyroid Movement. Jill lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Chris, and 7-year old rescue pup, Toby. You can learn more about Jill and her work by visiting cravehealthwithjill.com.

Type A Zen and Other Dawnsense


This week Holistic Spaces caught up with Dawn Gluskin, from Dawnsense.com. Dawn is one of my favorite twitter personalities and is dedicated to living a successful life full of zen and peace. Check out our chat below, where we talk Type A Zen, meditation, daily gratitude and more!

AC: You talk a lot about Type A Zen in your social media posts. What does that mean?

DG: I’ve been a ‘Type-A’ all my life, which, to me, means highly driven, motivated, with big goals and willing to put in the time and work hard.  But, from the outside, this same personality type can also be considered a workaholic or someone that has blinders on to all the rest of the beauty that life has to offer outside of work and achievement. At some point, I came to terms with my own perfectionist traits and realized that I never stopped to celebrate my successes, and frankly, wasn’t happy.  My life was a constant focus of one big goal to the next.  

In recent years, I’ve counter-acted that with lots of introspection, yoga, meditation, self-care and just an overall deepened spiritual practice. Now, I am still super-driven, but not so attached to the outcome.  I find happiness in just be-ing and not artificially through achievement.  Type-A Zen is also the title of my forthcoming book, where I talk in more detail about my own life experience, offer jewels of inspiration, and share the stories of some other amazing women who’ve lived their own Type-A Zen stories that go from chaos to clarity and love.

You're very involved in yoga and meditation. Do you think one of these would work as well without the other? How do they relate to you?

Sure, you could do one without the other, but they really do go hand in hand. Both involve focus on breathe and cultivate mindfulness.  The difference is in meditation, you are completely still, and in yoga you are syncing movement with your breathe.  Both practices allow you to connect more deeply to yourself, find your center, and your peace, which are all such beautiful and lovely things and why I incorporate them into my daily practices.  For me, they are what help to fuel the ‘zen’ and ‘spiritual’ aspects of my being.

What led you down the path you're currently on, of taking care of your body inside and out?

I’ve also been into fitness, but I think it used to be fueled by the wrong motivation: vanity and my perfectionism (you know — gotta get that perfect body and be in shape).  But, since I’ve deepened my spiritual practices, my motivation behind everything has changed.  I look at wellness from a holistic perspective: mind, body, and soul working in harmony.  Now, I work out to feel good and to take care of the temple that is my body.  The ‘vanity’ portion doesn’t really play into it, and the perfectionism is out the window. I feel better than ever from the inside out. 

What does it mean to be a Zen Rebel?

Zen Rebel is a little movement I’ve started and wish to grow in the years to come.  It’s about living a healthy, spiritual life, being of service to others, living your truth … but without any pretension.  In other words, you can drink green juice in the morning and still have a glass of wine at night.  It’s permission to do no harm, but also take no sh*t!  It’s a concept to make spirituality and expanded consciousness accessible to all.  You can strive to live a purpose-driven life and make a positive difference in this world … and still leave room to be perfectly imperfectly human too! Right now, I’m getting together with a few designers and experimenting with different distribution and e-commerce platforms to sell yoga-inspired clothing and jewelry and raise money for causes near & dear to my heart.

You're a huge advocate of daily gratitude. Tell us a bit about what gratitude does for you in life. 

I believe that by acknowledging all that we have to be grateful for, we not only increase our happiness, but also attract more abundance into our lives.  When I’m having a bad day or a rough time, I remind myself that it can always be worse. For any of us that are blessed enough to have our health, food, water, a roof over our heads, clothes on our back …. we’re better off than many others in the world.  In fact, just putting our two feet on the ground in the morning and taking in a deep breath is a major blessing. When we can truly and deeply appreciate what we have and how far we’ve come, we send the Universe a message that we are willing and able to receive more.  It’s really hard to be unhappy when you are counting all of your blessings.  (Try it next time you’re in a funk)

What tips would you give my readers to lead a holistic, healthy and happy life? 

It all starts within.  Go inward to discover your true passions and purpose in life. We can only give from an overflowing cup (not an empty one).  So, fully love, accept, and take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place. 

How have you created your own holistic space?

This is a constant work-in-progress for me.  I like to keep the house as de-cluttered as possible with free-flowing energy, but with two young children and a ‘pack-rat’ husband, it can be a bit of a challenge sometimes!  I do keep my own space nice and tidy and clean out my closets often. Cluttered space to me is a cluttered mind.  I also use all-natural products & essential oils for cleaning & making the house smell nice & fresh!  I do have my own little altar/spiritual space where I keep all of my favorite things from beautiful candles, my buddha statues, angel cards, to sweet, personal notes, chakra stones, etc. This is the space I go to mediate each morning.  It’s very peaceful & beautiful to me. (And, of course, clean!)

by Anjie Cho

Dawn Gluskin is author of forthcoming book, “Type A Zen.”  Formerly founder & CEO of a 7-figure technology company that she founded in her living room, Dawn is no stranger to hustle, but was also no stranger to high-stress living.  In working with so many other women in business, she quickly learned that the modern day super woman’s “having it all” can come with a high price tag.  Through mindfulness practices: yoga, meditation, journaling and a lot of self-reflection, Dawn has found much joy & peace in her own life … while still keeping her business chops & motivation.  She teaches and inspires others how to do the same by redefining ‘success,' turning inwards and living life from the inside out!