The early Feng Shui practitioners observed that nature embodies opposite, yet complementary, energy forces, such as light/dark, tall/short, skinny/wide, hot/cold, old/young, female/male, which they called Yin (expressions of female energy) and Yang (expressions of male energy). The optimum environment, they concluded, balanced the forces of Yin and Yang.
The Ch’i, (vital life force energy) that nourishes you, which Feng Shui concentrates on enhancing, is always striking a balance between these two extreme forces in the universe. Yin relates to qualities such as feminine, dark, cool, soft, wet. while Yang is associated with qualities such as masculine, light, hot hard, dry. Neither is wrong, but a “middle road” or a perfect mix of these qualities makes for environments that nurture you, where you feel comfortable and can thrive. The happiness that you feel inherently, in the balance between these two extremes.
When dramatic architecture and design become expressions of extremes, they can result in a Feng Shui nightmare. Sharp angles, radical proportions and exaggerated forms may be viewed as fabulous artistic features, but they usually don’t make cozy habitat for humans. The more extreme Yin or Yang an environment is the more uncomfortable you will feel there.
An extreme Yin room is one that is dark and cave like, with dark furniture, dim lighting, and a low ceiling.
A very Yang room would be quite large, with a high ceiling and windows that bake the room with sun, and a living space that is furnished sparingly with angular furniture and tables.
To balance the Yin room - add Yang components, such as brighter lighting, and lighter pastel colors with angular shapes. You can also bring in large pieces of art or large plants.
To balance the Yang room – add Yin components such as soft upholstered furniture rounded, and/or window treatments in dark, rich colors or prints. You can also bring in numerous pieces of small art, pictures or small plants and flower arrangements.
What About Individual Tastes?
Sometimes different rooms have different purposes in our lives, and because of that may be inherently more Yin or Yang depending on what we intend to draw from. I have large great room, which is very Yang, with a lot of natural light and high ceilings. Because of the dark rounded furniture and numerous personal pictures and items displayed around the room it feels balanced to me, and a source of renewed energy. This is the central hub of my home, and where I do the majority of my entertaining. I love being there. My bedroom however is more Yin, which to me feels cozy. With its lower ceiling, lower lighting, dark wooden furniture, and burgundy accents, this is the room that I spend every evening relaxing, decompressing, and feeling nurtured. I balanced the Yin by painting the walls a light tan, hanging a large piece of art, and bringing in a large Ficus tree. The armoire is also a very large angular piece of furniture.
Just as in your home, when designing your garden think of a balance of Yin and Yang. Plant tall, wide plants aong with low growing ones. Use dark colors along with light ones and soft, flowing plants along with harder trunks or rock gardens. The possibilities are endless.