Feng shui master Aelita Leto warns that those who own beds without headboards have a crown chakra that is more exposed and vulnerable during sleep. Therefore, while they should be resting, their bodies are still utilizing qi. (Qi, pronounced CHEE, means energy). Northside Library’s community room was packed for Leto’s May 9 lecture, Feng Shui for the Home & Office. According to the library’s workshop description, feng shui is “the ancient Chinese art and science of balancing energies in a given space to assure good health and fortune.”
“We thought it’d be a good idea for people who are looking to reorganize their home and office to have some helpful hints so they might take advantage of the city’s Annual Clean-Up Campaign this month,” says librarian Angela Ocana.
While Leto acknowledges that storage spaces are necessary for essential items, she doesn’t think one should keep a room in the house to store items that aren’t being used.
“If one room becomes a storage room, the neglected room where the trash goes, it is almost like neglecting a part of your body,” she says. “It’s easier to be released from our belongings than to hold onto them.”
In feng shui lingo, qi is an energy related to adaptation. While talking about yin and yang, both of which are types of qi, Leto showed an image of a taijitu, a circle containing two dotted spirals.
“Yin and yang are not competitive sources of energy; they are supposed to collaborate with each other,” Leto says. “The living room and family room are more yang versus the closet, storage area and bedroom, which are more yin. In the bedroom, you rest. You calm down the chi. The rooms that are full of windows and open space are where the qi can be more active and that’s the yang space.”
Leto explains how to nurture a healthy balance among the five elements-fire, water, wood, earth and metal. For example, she suggests that the placement of a sink and stove next to or across from each other in a kitchen can create discord between water and fire.
“In situations when the stove and sink are close to each other, I suggest introducing some wood chi, such as an herb or vegetable plant, to the environment,” Leto says. “The plant would utilize the water and feed the fire, and it would create harmony between the three elements.”
Leto, who runs Om Tao Feng Shui and APL Design Inc., also shared “before” and “after” images of former clients’ spaces. Once she reorganized the office belonging to a divorced couple. The former husband and wife worked on opposite sides of the room while the husband’s sister, employed as the accountant, sat between the two.
“I removed the sister who was between the ex-couple and situated her [somewhere else],” Leto says. “I put a couch between the ex-husband and ex-wife to soften the qi and make the room less tense.”
Leto explains the difference between the work of an interior designer and a feng shui consultant.
“Sometimes interior design is temporary and it serves the short term but feng shui’s vision is to invest in extending the qi for the long term,” she says.