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 Feng Shui and Bonsai - A Perfect match

 By Erik A. Olsen

Over the past several years, thousands upon thousands of people have learned the value of bending two ancient Asian art forms – Feng Shui and Bonsai. Because both represent harmony, peace, and prosperity, it would only make sense that the two would go hand-in-hand. To understand why Feng Shui and Bonsai is such a great match, it is important to first understand each entity in its own right.

Feng Shui

We will start with Feng Shui, which is an ancient Chinese practice that involves proper placement along with arrangement of space and items, as a means of achieving total harmony with the environment. If you were to look at the translation for Feng Shui, you would see it stands for “wind” and “water”, which are two elements seen in this practice most.

People around the world have adopted the Feng Shui style of decorating to help with business prosperity and personal happiness. The interesting thing about Feng Shui is that an entire room or home can be decorated using the principles or just a portion of. Regardless, the goal is to create harmony with nature, which is brought on by placement of water, wood, sun, and other elements.

Feng Shui dates back to the Song Dynasty from 1126 to 1278. Historians believe that this practice actually has strong ties to Confucianism. However, it was not until the 19th century when diagrams, charts, and even numerical factors were published by the Chinese government. During this time however, controversy erupted specific to proper application of this practice.

Remember that with Feng Shui, a number of things are included such as furniture, dwellings, land, landscaping, possessions, and so on. To give you a few ideas of guidelines associated with Feng Shui, consider the following:

1. Clutter should be eliminated
2. Feng Shui does not allow sharp corners or straight lines, specifically in relation to where people stand, sleep, or sit.
3. Door entrance from a lying in bed or sitting in a chair position needs to be within a clean line of sight
4. You want to have as much view as possible
5. As a means of confusing and eliminating evil spirits will often have curved and twisting roads
6. Certain objects such as mirrors, wind chimes, water fountains, and crystals help with power of reflection, shifting energy, and the power of redirection

With Feng Shui in homes, you might find a mirror with a wooden framed being placed near the front door, certain furniture pieces facing a particular direction, fountains located strategically indoors and outdoors, and so on. All of the placements are what promote healthy, harmony, and prosperity.


Now, with bonsai, this too is an ancient Asian practice associated with the creation of miniature trees. These trees and planters are grown in pots and various types of containers, which include pine, oak, azalea, and many fruit-bearing and flowering species. While bonsai began in China, it actually became popular in Japanese, as Buddhist monks brought the plants into the country. Over years, people traveling into Japan were mystified by this miniature and unusual tree, which is why we now see bonsai a favorite art form around the world.

With bonsai, regularly sized trees are trained to become miniature specimens, which are beautiful and intriguing. Without doubt, the art of bonsai is not for everyone in that it requires tremendous patience and effort. However, for people who love challenging the mind, the art form of Bonsai makes a wonderful choice. When referring to bonsai in Japanese, the entire basis is that of evoking essential spirit of the plant, which is the goal for bonsai enthusiasts in the United States.

The exciting aspect of bonsai is the wonderful styles. For instance, some of the more popular choices include cascade, semi-cascade, raft, upright, formal upright, literati, and group or forest. Each of these styles offers something very unique, typically being used for specific types of trees. In other words, different trees work best with certain styles.

With the formal upright as an example, you would have a tapering trunk with balanced or proportioned branches. Now, if you went with an informal upright, the difference may include a small bend or curve of the tree. Two other popular options include the cascade and semi-cascade. Both of these styles are representative of the oriental trees you would see growing gracefully over the water’s edge or perhaps on the side of a towering mountain. The only difference between the two styles is the cascade leans more.

For the raft style of bonsai, you would have something very unique in that a new root system actually grows out of the existing trunk. In most cases, this particular style of bonsai is planted along with the original root system still in place. In addition, the raft style of bonsai includes the bark being trimmed off, presenting smooth, new bark. However, the trunk of this bonsai is eventually buried into the soil, although some people do this immediately.

Two other styles of bonsai mentioned include the literati and group/forest. In the first case, you have small amounts of branches, which are trained high up on contorted or twisted trunk. In fact, this particular style often includes an S-shape on the lower portion of the trunk. Then for the group or forest bonsai, you would have three or more trees planted in the same container or pot.

With both Feng Shui and bonsai being ancient oriental practices and principles, it only makes sense that you would see the two combined. Today, we see a number of businesses turning to the art and belief of Feng Shui and bonsai to create the perfect working environment. The interesting thing about this is that studies show setting up a business or workspace using these two principles creates a sense of harmony and peace, while encouraging higher levels of productivity and team interaction.

The same is true for people using Feng Shui and bonsai within the home. Today, we see a number of families also looking for ways to live more harmoniously. By arranging furniture in the right way and by using the appropriate Feng Shui materials such as water and wood, this can be achieved. Then when you add in the benefits of bonsai, you really have an amazing environment.

Keep in mind that with both Feng Shui and bonsai, you do not have to have your home or office decorated with an Asian flare. These practices can be incorporated into any style home. For some people, a particular space is created while for others, the entire office of home is done. For instance, in the office environment, a company could create a calming waiting area for clients while actual offices and workspace is in a traditional style. At home, perhaps the family room or bedrooms would be great choices for Feng Shui and bonsai while the remainder of the home is contemporary, transitional, French, or whatever style you like. As you can see, Feng Shui and bonsai is the perfect match, balancing each other out beautifully.

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