Travel and feng shui

Gina Lazenby

Managing Director, The Feng Shui Network International

Feng shui is about the relationship between people and places. It concerns the effect that our living and working environments have on our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Intuitively, we seem to know if a place feels comfortable and has what we call 'good vibes'. Until recently, we have not been able to express these feelings in any language, but now, with an understanding of the ancient science of feng shui, we can see what needs to be changed in our environment to make us feel better.

The practice of acupuncture has gained increasing acceptance in the west over the last 20 years. Now feng shui is gaining similar popularity and understanding as a form of 'acupuncture in space' where the placement of key items will help to regulate the flow of energy around our homes, changing the way we feel about a place and our experience in it. At a deeper level, it changes the way the energy flows in our lives.

Essentially, we are talking about how our environments act as a mirror for our circumstances and well-being. Where you have a cluttered hallway making it difficult to open the door fully, you are impeding the free flow of energy into the property and at the same time limiting the opportunities that could also come your way. An awkward arrangement of desks in an office will mean an uneasy flow of energy as it manoeuvres around the obstacles, so don't expect an easy ride in this situation - the flow of business will be equally strenuous.

The phrase 'feng shui' is Chinese and although much of the body of knowledge has come from the Orient, the principles on which it works are universal. The Chinese have been using feng shui for at least 3,000 years, but most traditional cultures around the world have worked with the principles, and each has some understanding of the power of place and the importance of ritual. In the West today, although we have lost contact with much of this wisdom, an increasing number of corporations and banks are using feng shui. Some companies call it 'vital design' and 'environmental psychology' as they seek to create healthier workplaces and optimum ways of running their businesses.

The home in which you live and the place in which you work are going to have the most impact on your life; however, every place exerts some kind of influence, so it is good to choose positive environments when you travel, particularly for work, where you may be conducting business in unfamiliar surroundings.

Here are some feng shui tips to bear in mind when staying in a hotel:

  1. ensure that you get good quality sleep in your hotel room by not choosing one at the end of a corridor or one next to the lift or communal vending machine, and make sure you have a good flow of air by not having windows sealed closed;
  2. cut down your exposure to electro-magnetic radiation by disconnecting bedside radio alarm clocks and in-room TVs with stand-by buttons. Turning these off will have a big impact on the quality of your sleep;
  3. cover any mirrors which are facing you in bed, using a scarf or a towel. Mirrors expand energy, and not only make rooms look bigger, they make them feel bigger too. This expansion interferes with deep sleep;
  4. go to sleep and wake up looking at something inspirational, perhaps a picture of your family or something beautiful you have bought on the trip. Avoid having your briefcase or laptop computer in your eye-line, otherwise you will go to sleep with work on your mind and may not be able to switch off in your dreams;
  5. avoid sleeping under a sloping ceiling if you can help it, and make sure you have a view of the door. If you are staying somewhere for a few days and cannot change your room, don't hold back on rearranging the furniture!
  6. carry something with you which makes you feel at home in unfamiliar surroundings; some people use the aromas of incense sticks or oils like lavender to make them feel more settled.

Here are some feng shui travel tips for people on the move:

  1. travel light: pack fewer things than you think you could ever use. Simplify your journey by not cluttering your suitcase. Clutter in your life holds you back and blocks you; the lighter your load, the less burdened you will feel - physically and emotionally. Take only the basics;
  2. prepare your body in advance: a few days before you go, start to eat in accordance with the locality of your destination. If you are going north or to the mountains, warm your body up with root vegetables; for the south and warmer climes eat more fruit and lighter foods. This will help your internal environment to get ready to adjust to the external environment much more easily;
  3. when travelling by road, keep the energy flowing in the car. Like moving furniture, change the placement in the car, and get the passengers to sit in different seats at each stop;
  4. don't let the rubbish pile up; keep everything in movement by clearing out the car. Wash the car before you load. A car drives more smoothly when it has been freshly vacuumed and cleaned. Wipe the surfaces inside on the dashboard with water. This adds negative ions to the atmosphere which will make it less dehydrating;
  5. eliminate the stress of flying by paying no attention to the aircraft and ignoring the take-off and landing. Imagine you are just going into a room to watch a movie for a long time.

Feng shui tips for the office away from home:

  1. make sure any desk you are given to use is facing the door. That way, you are in control of the room and you can see who is coming in. If your back is to the entrance, you will feel an unconscious uneasiness which drains your energy;
  2. avoid meeting and interview situations where your chair has its back to the door. Try to choose a chair which has the support of a solid wall behind; this will increase your feeling of being supported;
  3. clutter is the enemy of good feng shui. Keep your desk and briefcase clear, and let the energy flow freely around you. You will feel more organised and productive if you have less stuff;
  4. avoid working or meeting somewhere with poor lighting. You will feel tired more quickly and have less clarity. Research shows that people are much more motivated and healthier if they sit near windows. Dark corners are lifeless areas, and they mean you can use twice as much energy to do a job.

Gina Lazenby is the managing director of The Feng Shui Network International (FSNI), the world's leading promoter of feng shui teaching and practice. She is also the author of the Feng Shui House Book, due to be published by Conran Octopus in Spring 1998.

The FSNI is responsible for organising training at all levels and professional consultations for individuals and businesses who want to incorporate the principles into their lives and working practices. The FSNI represents some of the world's leading teachers and practitioners.

Call 07000 FENGSHUI (07000 363 474)
or write to FSNI, PO Box 2133, London W1A 1RL