Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Create a Welcoming Garden

How to Create a Welcoming Garden


Before you can get started on creating a welcoming feng shui garden you need to understand a few basic feng shui principles. By following some guidelines you can create a garden that not only feels welcoming, but that actually can bring abundance into your life.

Raising Energy

The main goal in feng shui gardening is to raise the level of qi (energy) in the garden and to make sure that it moves smoothly and freely throughout the garden. You'll want to get rid of barriers like weeds or overgrown vegetation because they have a way of trapping or stagnating energy. You'll also want to control energy that is moving too quickly such as long straight pathways. This can be easily done by infusing different foot path materials like wood chips or brick pavers and adding a few border plants with color. It will not only look fabulous but give the energy a place to settle down for awhile.

Directions & Placement

Each of the eight directions have a certain energy that represents element qualities and associated images. This is a great way to get some ideas for different areas of your garden.

East - Wood element - herb garden or eating area

Southeast - Wood element - fruit tree

South - Fire element - Fire pit

Southwest - Earth element - Bistro table & rock garden

West - Metal - bocce set

Northwest - Metal element - weather vane or sun dial

North - Water element - koi pond

Northeast - Earth element - Stone ornament

Balancing Yin and Yang

Yin and yang is the idea that life energy can be passive and active. This is a concept based on complementary opposites. You want to make sure your garden has a blend of these two polarities so it remains in balance - neither too quiet or too frantic. So trim back where you need to and let the sun peak in. Likewise, bring in some shade in overly yang (sunny) areas.

Paying attention to aesthetics, function and design as you plan your garden makes your space more appealing and attractive. You'll find yourself inviting friends over for some fun summer parties or simply slipping into a lounge chair and relaxing yourself.

Mary Jane

Monday, May 19, 2014

Greening Your Landscape

Greening Your Landscape Feng Shui Style
Get Started with These Simple Tips
© Mary Jane Kasliner


Making small landscape adjustments is a powerful way to save the planet and promote healthy energy.

Most people believe feng shui principles apply to internal spaces only; however, feng shui originated in the outside environment. Its principles rely on the forces of nature, the cyclical changes of seasons, time of day, astronomy, and land topography. Qi (energy) assessments should begin from the outside in order to determine if the environment will sustain the occupants within the structure. Powerful landforms are paramount for sheng (healthy) qi to propagate in the environment and fuel its occupants.

Soil Integrity

When deciding on a particular property, look for land containing sandy or high organic soil base with minimal compaction. The more soil is compacted, the less ability it has to absorb water. This will, in effect, trigger excessive watering and work against preserving natural resources. Avoid water-filled clay-based soil at all costs. As Russian engineer Georges Lakhovsky discovered in 1929, this type of soil is unable to fully absorb the sun’s radiation and, as a result, a secondary radiation is emitted into the environment that can cause health problems.


Strong and healthy vegetation suggests that land is fertile and sustainable. Good support to the rear and sides of the building, with an open front, allows qi to navigate the land properly. Preserving all trees and plants during construction and/or remodeling stages maintains the integrity of the soil base and internal qi of the land. By honoring the natural landscape and using indigenous plants, you can keep natural bacteria and fungi at proper levels for healthy soil and qi.


The fundamental idea of xeriscape design is water conservation. Creating terraces in the natural contours of the land will add visual interest and help reduce soil erosion. Replacing a good portion of green turf with gardens and hard, permeable scaping saves on water usage and adds visual appeal. Keeping these gardens at least 24 inches from the foundation prevents potential mold growth. Layering the landscaping with height variations is aesthetically pleasing and good for proper soil PH. For example, start with a large canopy tree, then move to a lower tree, add shrubbery, herbs, root vegetables, ground cover and vines. Be sure to use appropriate plants that are native to the region and the direction planted. For example, for hot, dry areas with south and west exposure, choose plants that need minimal water. For north and east areas, choose plants that like more moisture.

Water Cisterns, Rain Gardens and Water Chains

Instead of using a hose to water your gardens, be creative and build rain gardens into your landscape. These gardens can be natural or manmade shallow depressions designed to capture storm-water runoff. Cisterns or water chains work on the same principle but are either a container (cistern) or decorative chain with cup pouches that capture water runoff from the roof. The water chains have the added benefit of providing a soothing sound quality every time it rains.

Natural Pesticides

Pesticides kill the natural bacteria and fungi needed for healthy soil. Besides planting various complementary forms of vegetation, incorporate biological pest control. This is a method of controlling pests via their predators. It’s not only natural but also safer for the environment.

Sacred Gardens

The circle is a sacred symbol as it represents infinity, perfection and eternity. This is a powerful shape that you can bring into your garden space. Embellish it with natural elements, incorporating different flowers, rocks, spheres, garden art, or a pond or stream.Make sure you add an enclosure so you get the feeling of a sanctuary. This can be done with natural materials to emulate the Garden of Eden. Consider creating a garden that will attract wildlife, as this will bring in the elements of sound. Birdsong provides a lively, yet reassuring soundscape to any environment.

Water in the Garden

Water is of great importance in feng shui and symbolizes the accumulation of qi that is synonymous with wealth. One of the first things to keep in mind when constructing a garden pond is the size in relation to the size of the home and its proximity to the home. Bigger is not necessarily better. Everything in the garden should blend in with the existing landscape features. Try to incorporate natural materials and use curving designs, as these dynamics are in alignment with nature. Make sure there are rocks or ledges to help small animals safely navigate the pond.


An irregular shape is ideal to create the look of a natural pond. The more irregular the shape, the more plants and wildlife will thrive in and around it. A pond that is perfectly round tends to move the energy too quickly and those that are square tend to shoot energy off the edges. Albeit regular shaped ponds are easier to install, just make sure you soften the structure with more plants around the edges.


To balance the yin component of the still pond you can add the yang energy of rocks. This combination reflects the mountain and lake formations so important to the study of feng shui.

Here are a few basic tips on choosing rockery:

1. Use an odd number of stones.

2. Bury the stones at least 1/3rd into the soil.

3. Place stones according to their graining.

4. Use a flat stone next to an upright one.

5. Choose the most weathered part of the stone to face forward.

6. Keep in mind that rockeries should mirror the natural world.

Water Flow

There are many theories in feng shui on how water should flow. The major, common sense rule for water placement is that it should not flow quickly towards the home in case of flooding. It is auspicious when water trickles towards the home, as it symbolizes wealth rolling in. According to the flying star feng shui method,it is also auspicious to have water trickling in from the southwest for the next eleven years, as this symbolizes future prosperity.

Productive Feng Shui Garden

Many of us enjoy homegrown fruits and vegetables. You can actually turn your whole garden into a productive feng shui garden. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Think about adding a large circular bed to the center of the garden, subdividing it into four sections. Three of the sections can be used for vegetables while the fourth section can be used for fruits. Consider incorporating a decorative trellis or pergola in the center of the bed, allowing climber plants to grow up the sides. This will act as a wonderful focal point for the garden.

2. Create winding pathways to the garden. Make sure you use different materials for the path such as brick, stone, slate or gravel.

3. Add a decorative gate at the garden entrance. The direction of the entryway will dictate the best material to use for the gate. For example, a western entry would work well with a lovely arched wrought iron gate.

4. Plant herbs in the eastern quadrant of the garden; choose a variety for healthy home-cooked meals for the family. Just make sure you are using organic soil and seeds. This is also a lovely area to place a wooden table with chairs to enjoy that home-cooked meal.

5. In the southeast region, you might add a birdbath, fountain, or pond. This will give birds a place to frolic, and fish a place to swim, both moving life forces of energy to stimulate wealth. You may even attract a few frogs, which will act as natural pest control for your garden.

6. The southern portion is the perfect setting for an outdoor fire pit or barbecue to enjoy friends and family gatherings any time of the year.

7. In the southwestern portion of the garden add some red blooming flowers and place a romantic stone statue or a bistro table for two to create a little romantic get-away.

8. The west is all about fun and a perfect area to add that croquet set or even the kids’ play gym. Whatever hobbies you enjoy will find a comfortable home in this direction.

9. The northwest is the perfect area for a sundial or weathervane. Add a large sitting stone and relax while contemplating these age-old symbols of time and wind direction.

10. Create a straight pathway in the north to wake up sleepy qi or perhaps a water feature with a metal accent to bring yang energy to an otherwise yin direction.

11. The northeastern portion of the garden is a great place for the compost. A productive garden will produce plenty of waste material that can be reused to keep the garden healthy. Another option for this area is to create a zen-like feel with gravel and a spiritual stone sculpture.

Designing a landscape for your home or business using the fundamentals of feng shui is a satisfying and uplifting experience. By following the steps I’ve just outlined, you can create a beautiful and peaceful space that brings joy to its inhabitants without harming the environment.

Mary Jane Kasliner has a passion for enhancing the lives of others through Feng Shui. She is President of Body Space Alignment & Director of Teaching Tortoise School of Feng Shui. She is the author of several feng shui books and CD’s. Mary Jane is also a nationally certified yoga teacher. Contact her via fengshuiyoganj.com.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Energize Your Space & Body

One of the biggest culprits to low energy is indoor air pollution. Many features in home decor contain volatile organic compounds (VOC), formed by petrochemical products. For example, carpets alone can emit hundreds of carcinogens into the air and theses chemicals can release for up to 5 years. Everything from upholstery, window treatment, bedding, paint, flooring and the list goes on can contain chemicals. This is in addition to the insulation, glues, adhesives and other materials used during the building process.


When you are constantly bombarded by these chemicals from your living and working space it will lower your resistance and leave you feeling lethargic. So what can you do? Follow these simple steps and discover how your space and body can feel more energetic.

Simple Steps to Re-energize Your Space & Body

1. Add a few healthy plants around your home. Plants have the capacity to absorb toxic chemicals and reduce indoor air pollution levels.

2. Place a salt lamp or salt candle in several rooms of your home. The chemical reaction between the sodium and chloride ion when the lamp is turned on will naturally purify the air.

3. The next time you purchase bedding, drapery or other design features look for natural fibers such as organic cotton, sisal or coir to name a few.

4. Keep your windows open. Fresh air is always beneficial to lower the percentage of chemicals in the space.

5. Get a HEPA-filter system. They are very inexpensive, under $50, and they do wonders for reducing the amount of pollutants in the air.

7. Use low VOC or no VOC organic paints. These are easy to find in any hardware store.

6. Practice deep breathing techniques known as pranayama in yoga. These breathing exercises will increase lung capacity and as a result oxygenate the blood better. The more oxygen circulating through your system the better you will feel. A simple pranayama technique is 3 part dirgra breath. Simply sit upright with spine elongated and begin to breathe through the nose deeply. On each inhale fill your belly up with the breath. On each exhale expel all the air out of the belly through your nose. Repeat this deep belly breathing for 5 breaths. On the next inhale, fill the belly up with the breath and then take a little extra breath and let that air expand into the rib cage. On the exhale, let the air release first from the rib cage and then from the belly. Continue with this format but with each new breath fill the lungs more, mid chest then to upper chest. Repeat this cycle 10 times. The more you practice pranayama the more you will oxygenate your system and the more energetic you will feel.

Here's to having more energy!

Mary Jane Kasliner - Feng Shui Master * Yoga Teacher


Thursday, May 8, 2014

All Work No Play

All Work No Play

All work and no play leads to an unbalanced life. Unfortunately during these economic times many are working more than one job leaving very little time for pleasure. Having fun or simply finding time to do what you want to do is so important for your physical and mental health. With that being said, below are a few simple things you can do to attract more fun in your life.

What to do Feng Shui Wise:

1. Clear out any clutter in the western portent of your home.

2. If you need a fresh coat of paint, then choose earthy or metallic colors. These elements will fuel this sector that is all about Fun! Make sure you choose a paint that is organic or one with no VOC's to help keep your indoor air quality healthy.

3. Place some earth elements (stones) or metal designs in this area. Once again these elements are friendly to this direction creating a sheng and assisting cycle respectively.

4. Place some fun images here. Perhaps hobby items or anything that brings you pleasure. For example, you can keep it really simple and place a few yoga mats in a metal basket here to remind you to have some down time. That is of course if yoga is your thing.

Activate the Naval Chakra:

The chakras are energy centers that allow life force energy (prana/qi) to flow in and out of the aura.Their function is to vitalize the physical body and bring about development of self-consciousness.

There are 7 main chakras that align the spine. When shakti energy is flowing it feeds the chakras and helps to keep them balanced. Unfortunately, most people are walking around with one or more of their chakras out of alignment. For the purpose of this blog I am going to focus on the sacral chakra.

Sacral Chakra:

The sacral chakra offers us the opportunity to infuse balance in our lives. The process of making choices streams right through this chakra center. This chakra is located in the lower abdomen to the naval, associated with the color orange, and honors our creativity, relationships, and the ability to let go. There are many other aspects to this chakra but I would like to focus on ways to activate it so you can bring some pleasure into your life.

Activating Naval Chakra:

Here are a few ways you can activate this chakra.

1. Meditation: Sit or lie in a comfortable position and tune into the breath. Once you find the rhythm and flow of the breath, then begin to focus on your naval area. Infuse the color orange into this area. See this color fill the entire space between the lower abdomen and your naval. Now begin to see this ball of orange energy spin. You should sense some heat and a tingling sensation. You may remain in this meditation for 10 minutes.

2. Stones: Try placing either Moonstone, Citrine or Orange Tourmaline on the sacral area and just allow the vibration of the stone to calibrate this chakra.

3. Exercise: Pelvic thrusts or circular pelvic movements help to exercise this chakra point. There are many yoga poses that will also stimulate this chakra. For example, hip openers are the best type of pose to naturally energize this area.

4. Food: Feed your sacral chakra with sweet fruits, honey, nuts or spices.

Have some fun with the aforementioned recommendations and watch how much joy you will experience in your life.

In Prosperity,

Mary Jane Kasliner - Feng Shui Master & Yoga Teacher


Body Space Alignment