by Carol C. Wheelock
We recently moved into our new home and have had trouble sleeping ever since. Our bedroom is large with a Cathedral ceiling. The ceiling is beamed and the walls are off white. The floors are natural wood. Our bed is in the command position so it is not that. Can you help us?
Sue and Dan, Rutland, VT
I don't like my living room and no one in my family ever goes in there unless directed there for a special event. I chose the upholstery but now I am not so sure. It is a dark floral print. Walls are dark green.
Ellen, Waterbury, VT
Dear Sue, Dan, and Ellen,
One of the layers of feng shui addresses yin and yang in a space. Both of you are experiencing imbalances of yin and yang, especially as they relate to the purpose of a room.
Yin and yang are complementary as well as opposing energies. There must be light for there to be dark and vice versa. These forces are always working together to create energy. Nothing is completely one extreme or the other. A balance is necessary for the feeling of harmony in any space
Yin spaces have the following characteristics: dark, small, horizontal, curved, soft, low, cool/cold, ornate, floral, and feminine. A cave would be the ultimate yin space. Not all of these characteristics would need to be present in one room for it to have an overriding sense of yin.
In contrast, yang spaces are light, large, vertical, straight, hard, high, warm/hot, plain, geometric, and masculine. Once again, a room need not have all of these characteristics to feel "yang."
Most rooms feel the best when there is a balance of yin and yang. Some of us may prefer spaces that are more yin, while others prefer spaces that are more yang. Think about your favorite rooms to decide which quality you prefer. Keep in mind that a balance will satisfy the majority of people who use a space. A balance will also help create and maintain a balance within you.
The purpose of a room needs to be considered when deciding to make it more yin or more yang. Yang spaces lend themselves to more activity. Living rooms, offices, and kitchens tend to work better with more yang energy. Health clubs are centers of activity and work best when more yang.
In contrast, yin spaces are quieter. When you are creating a space to relax or sleep in, more yin needs to brought in. Bedrooms, meditation rooms, and other quiet spaces work better with more yin qualities.
Dan and Sue, your bedroom sounds too yang so you are having trouble settling down at night and going to sleep. I have encountered similar situations in several consultations. In each of these cases, bringing in more yin brought the space into balance and the people were able to sleep.
The first thing I would suggest would be to put some rugs on the floor. This will also "ground" the space. Those that are dark and floral would be best. Avoid solid colors and geometric designs. You did not mention whether or not you have curtains or drapes on the windows. Adding some fabric softness to the space would also help. Once again, avoid solid colors and geometric designs. Follow this same plan for your bedding.
Some people like a very yin bedroom. If you have trouble getting up in the morning or have tendencies toward depression, be sure to not overdo the yin aspects of your room. Remember that balance is the key!
Ellen, your situation is the opposite. Your living room sounds too yin. A little bit of yang will help bring balance and energy to the space. A light colored area rug in the conversation area would bring some lightness to that area. Solid and lighter colored throws and pillows will also help to balance the excessive yin in that space. You might also consider repainting if it still feels too yin.
As always, make all your changes with clear intention.
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.