The Feng Shui of Exercise: No Pane, No Gain
OK, it's just a theory -- like relativity -- but I consider it true: The place where you work out makes a difference. The space, the clutter, the number of windows all have an impact.
Stick yourself in a tiny space, with bad air, negative colors, fluorescent lights and bad things happen. Your workout won't be as pleasant or as effective as being in natural light in a well-ventilated space that is open and organized to maximize the flow of energy in your body.
That's what practitioners of feng shui believe, and so do increasing numbers of fitness fans who buy the books, work with experts and continue to connect the healthy lifestyle dots between the space around them and the space inside.
Feng shui -- pronounced various ways but let's go with "fung-as-in-hung" and "shway" -- is the Chinese study of the natural environment based on principles dating back 4,000 years to the I Ching, still a bestseller.
It's all about yin and yang and the balancing of the five elements (fire, earth, metal, water and wood), which is all people talk about in Santa Fe, where feng shui has the right of way.
So here are some basics I've gathered about the feng shui of exercise, especially useful if you work out at home. It's a subtle thing -- "red shorts are empowering" -- but so is energy itself.
LIGHTING. Feng shui practitioners are very wired in to the importance of healthy lighting. The fluorescent lights you see in many gyms are actually a drain on your energy. Full-spectrum bulbs and lamps are the way to go, so talk to your health club and see if you can influence their choices. Good luck.
Windows that look outdoors, into nature, are very feng shui. Let your gaze draw strength and steadiness from the trees. Open and understand the fortune cookie that reads "Avoid exercising in a windowless place. No pane, no gain."
AIR AND SOUND. Feng shui followers adore plants. Living plants help clean the air and, in general, make you feel better. So if you're creating a home workout space, include something green that grows and breathes. Talk to it. Let it know you care.
Pay attention to the air quality, too. Strive for good circulation, humidity control and an open window for best ventilation.