Is junior having difficulty with his studies? Relocate his desk. Too much stress at home? Perhaps some objects are out of place? Aryeman Raj talks to Vicky Moane, a Sharjah-based feng shui expert, on the many facets to this Chinese spatial tradition.

Your home or office is alive with energy. And by acknowledging the forces flowing through all things and by symbolically honouring them, you could transform your approach to living, say feng shui experts.

You may have heard the inspiring testimonials of people who have made quantum leaps in life using feng shui in their homes and offices. Does all this sound frivolous, unbelievable and too good to be true?

"Not at all - feng shui has changed my life. The effect it had on me is amazing and my life has been enhanced," says Vicky Moane, a trained classical feng shui practitioner and consultant, who lives in Sharjah.

A strong believer in the classical and traditional form of feng shui, she has experienced the positive power of this spatial science.

In the 1990s, an article on feng shui in a UK newspaper sparked Moane's interest. She experimented with the Chinese art by moving furniture around in her office. She says this was her first insight into how energy can affect a business, an experience and she found liberating.

"(Prior to this) I was blocking the flow of new ideas by holding on to old ones. I was in awe and admiration (of the effects of feng shui) and wanted to learn much more about this traditional Chinese methodology," says Moane.

From then on, she has thrown herself into studying and learning feng shui. Her main influence is Joseph Yu, who owns and runs the Feng Shui Research Center in Toronto, Canada. Since 2000, she has studied under his instruction in Vienna, Madrid, Berlin and Bonn. In 2004, she became a senior practitioner of the Research Center.

As she learnt more about feng shui, she discovered some of the spatial influences behind problems in her life. In rectifying some of these, she has effectively turned her home into a feng shui laboratory.

"I always experiment with energy and cures for a particular combination of energy in (my) home before making any recommendations to clients. When examining the hexagram at the door of our house it shows literally a woman injuring bones by a fall from a horse," says Moane.

"This had a resemblance to my personal life. I had a back injury in a riding accident in 1993. Since then, my faith in classical feng shui has doubled. I have made some changes to balance the qi (or ch'i; energy) in our home but most particularly at the front door."

In February 2004, Moane made some changes to her garden and house.

"Water is a very important activator of energy and we moved water features and rocks around in the garden so the correct energies were activated and other energies negated," she says.

Since then, Moane hasn't looked back. Her professional work is devoted to harmonising and correcting energies in homes and businesses.

She has worked on veterinary clinics, kennels, oilfield pipe yards, factories, medical clinics, an acupuncture clinic, spas, beauty salons and jewellery shops.

In an interview with Friday, she debunks some misconceptions about feng shui and explains what we can learn from the ancient art.

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy. Its practitioners believe you can change your life by balancing the energies in your environment. What's your take on this belief?
Feng shui is certainly not magical or superstitious. It's a very down-to-earth science that incorporates a lot of mathematical formulas, calculations and the use of a compass.

Feng shui literally means 'wind water'. The name originates from the concept that the two natural elements of wind and water direct qi to a building, settlement or burial site. The term means the art and science of living in harmony with one's environment.

Feng shui dates back some 6,000 years. It was first developed by the neolithic Chinese. By the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907) it was a sophisticated and well-honed tradition.

Classical feng shui is based on the observation of heaven (time) and earthly forces (exterior and interior space).

The study of feng shui is how these forces and qi interact. When the forces are balanced there is the likelihood of better health, wealth and relationships.

Feng shui is a relatively modern term; the original Chinese characters used to describe the science were 'ham' - which means the receiving of energy - and 'yu' - the connection between planet earth with the universe.

In traditional Chinese philosophy, yin is female 'passive' energy, whereas yang is male 'active' energy: both being the opposite of the other. Does feng shui use the principles of yin and yang?
Although relative concepts, yin and yang form the basis of feng shui. For example, a mountain is yang and water is yin when we compare their relative height.

But water is yang and a mountain is yin when we compare their activity (which is done when practising feng shui). Although opposites, yin and yang are interdependent and cannot be separated from one another.

Optimising the qi, or energy flow, in an environment is the main goal of a feng shui practitioner. What is Qi?
Qi is energy. Some know it as prana or 'the reath of life'. Qi is everywhere, it flows through a living body and it also flows through the earth.

Qi moves; we can see the movement of cars on road or the feel of wind against our face but there are subtler movements of energy which are in action all the time.

To give an example, we can sit in a chair in a room and feel very uncomfortable, uneasy or impatient. When we can change chairs to sit in another area of the room, we will feel more relaxed or at ease.

If someone opens a window and it is cold or windy outside, we immediately feel the air movement in the room, but cannot see it. This is how we experience energy.

Try standing in an open doorway - normally this is something we subconsciously avoid because of the effect it has on us. This is how qi has an impact on our bodies or environment.

Traditional or classical feng shui seems to have taken a backseat. Do you agree?
Classical feng shui took a backseat when Western feng shui (sometimes known as black hat feng shui) was developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Although easier to learn and apply, Western feng shui is plagued with misconceptions.

On the positive side, it has brought feng shui to the attention of the Western world. This is how I was introduced to the subject.

As a classical feng shui practitioner, what do you require to complete an audit?
In any feng shui audit it is necessary to know (the date) a building (was completed). Beside this, the compass direction of the 'facing' of the building is important. By facing, it is meant the front of the building from a feng shui perspective, not necessarily the architectural front of the building.

It is also necessary to look at the overall effect a building has on its occupants. This is why a practitioner needs to know the birth dates of the occupants. With this information, a map is built of the qi of the building using a method called 'flying stars'. Using the five elements of qi - namely, fire, metal, earth, water and wood - I interpret the interaction of energies.

Accordingly, I have to enhance or neutralise the energy in a specific area to make the qi more balanced for optimum results.

Does feng shui complement a home's interior?
Feng shui is a science and an art. (Practioners) are taught to be more scientific than just to walk into a room and see how it feels.

The placement of furniture will depend on its use. A room should look beautiful, the objects should be beautiful and the overall result should be harmonious. This is where feng shui is an art because there is an art of achieving the neutralisation of energy and making something appear beautiful.

However, if the room has very negative energy, no amount of beauty will make it feel good. Using traditional feng shui, the negative energy can be neutralised or turned into positive qi.

Different colours have radically different effects on people's behaviour. Does feng shui propagate the right use of colours on walls?
Colours have an impact, depending on the qi of the room. For instance, if there is too much 'fire', a room may need to be cooled by the use of dark blue or very neutral colours. We need to ascertain what the occupant needs ?

Colours are secondary but do have an impact on qi. For instance, we use the light blue as wood energy, or yellow as earth energy. If used incorrectly, colour can have a negative impact (on) a room.