Yin and Yang: The Key to a Balanced Home
- Erica Sofrina
Have you ever been in a room that didn’t feel good to be in but you couldn’t figure out what was wrong? Chances are the Yin/Yang components were out of balance.
Yin and Yang is at the foundation of the Ancient Practice of Feng Shui. It has to do with the recognition that the universe is made up of opposite forces of energy, which cannot exist without each other. They are finely balanced and, like polar sides of a magnet, are innately attracted to each other.
The Yin/Yang symbol (picture at top) depicts two fish gliding together in perfect balance. Each carrying components of the other; the black fish with the white eye and the white fish with the black eye. The two swim together in perfect harmony creating a circle, the most ancient symbol depicting wholeness.
Feng Shui acknowledges that we are ancient creatures who naturally seek balance. If our living spaces are not balanced, our lives feel out of balance as well. By learning to work with the Yin and Yang components in our homes, we create supportive spaces that bring our lives back into harmony as well.
The concept of Yin refers to the feminine principle, which is passive, dark and yielding. Yang refers to the male principle, which is bright, active and extroverted.
In physical environments Yin objects would be reflected by circular shapes, darker more muted colors, lower darker rooms, upholstered furniture of soft chenille, velvet and corduroy fabrics, carpeting and area rugs, and smaller detailed prints. In building materials adobe, brick and stucco would be considered more Yin materials. In design history, the eras that incorporated Yin qualities would be the Victorian era, Louis IV and VI and the Baroque period.
In architecture the Bauhaus period in Germany from around 1919 – 1933 was the beginning of modernist design utilizing more Yang components. Slick glass and mirrors, metal and plastics, high, vast ceilings, bright angular spaces, bold stripes and geometric patterns, square, hard angular furniture without detail, flooring of hard woods, cement and tile, all reflect Yang design materials and features.
In balancing a home we want to first determine the use of the space and then incorporate the Yin and Yang qualities appropriate for it. Passive spaces should incorporate more Yin features and active spaces more Yang features. The key, however, is to make sure we always have some of both qualities and not an over abundance of either.
Yin rooms are the places you want the energy to calm down to support rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Yin rooms would be bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, possibly family rooms and bathrooms.
In these rooms we would want to bring in more Yin features such as comfy furniture, more muted colors and lighting, plush fabrics and more detailed patterns and accessories. Having a bright, light ultra-modern bedroom with high ceilings and slick fabrics would not serve the occupants and will often translate to sleep disorders.
Yang spaces are the more active spaces such as children’s playrooms, kitchens, gyms, home offices, laundry rooms, family rooms (depending upon the use), hallways and garages. These spaces should incorporate more Yang components with brighter lighting, whites and/or bolder colors, more angular shaped furniture and accessories with less detail.
In using modern Yang qualities make sure to choose furniture with more rounded edges. Sharp-edged furniture is considered weapon-like in Feng Shui. It may be subtle, but you will never fully relax in a space that has objects that can injure you. Our homes always need to be ‘people friendly’ no matter the style of decor you are drawn to.
We also want to bring in all of the Five Elements, which include plants and things that are either from the natural world or represent nature. Ultra modern homes devoid of nature will never allow us to feel truly ‘at home’ because of our deep innate connection to the natural world.
The key is to have a balance of both Yin and Yang qualities in every room, emphasizing more Yin or Yang features depending upon the use of the room. Yang features will make the space more active and Yin features generate a more restful atmosphere. Make sure your design choices and styles are serving the people who need to occupy the space, and not the other way around!
Once we have achieved an appropriate Yin/Yang balance in each room, we will be well on our way to creating a balanced and harmonious home that supports, uplifts and nurtures our lives!