What is Yin Feng Shui?

What is Yin Feng Shui?

Traditional Feng Shui that has been practiced for more than one thousand years in China can be classified broadly in two main types.

·Yin Feng Shui or Yin Zhai

·Yang Feng Shui or Yang Zhai

The term “Zhai” means “house” and thus, Yin Zhai can be translated as “Yin House” or in other words, houses for the dead i.e. graves. Feng Shui in the west then becomes Yang Zhai which deals with the houses for the living. The reason for this terminology is because the dead do not move and are thus considered to be ‘yin’ in comparison to the living, who move and are therefore ‘yang’.

A fact unknown to most people in the west, even to many Feng Shui practitioners, is that Yin Feng Shui is actually the original Feng Shui. For instance, the very first time the word “Feng Shui” was recorded, was in the “Book of the Dead” by Guo Pu (276-324 AD) in the Jin Dynasty.  Today, in the Far East, Yin Feng Shui is still practiced and is very much alive. Many of the wealthiest classes spend considerable amounts of money on the place they will “live” after their physical death. This is possible because the worship of ancestors has been at the heart of Chinese culture for thousands of years, since the start of the “Chinese Folk Religion”. The later three main religions of China, the so-called “Three Teachings”, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, all mingled with the original folk beliefs and preserved the fundamental practice of the worship of the ancestors.

Cost and where it is most practiced

Nowadays the most esteemed Yin Feng Shui masters are to be found in Malaysia and Taiwan. These are also the two countries where most Yin Feng Shui is practiced. The reason for this is that the communist party outlawed Feng Shui in China, Hong Kong and Singapore and there is simply no land available to practice Yin Zhai. There is also a growing market in Thailand (amongst the Chinese Thai), Korea and a re-emerging market in Vietnam. Many Chinese can afford to spend a large amount on a grave. The rule of thumb is that they will spend as much money on the grave as on the house they intend to live. For instance, if you can afford a house that costs €100 000, then you invest €100 000 on the grave. If you live in a house that costs €500 000, then you are likely to invest the same amount as this on your future grave.


Some of the best graves are worth literally millions. In Malaysia for instance, large corporate companies acquire farms with thousands of hectares that they subsequently landscape and divide into thousands of plots. They, of course, employ many Feng Shui consultants to advise them on how to divide the plots and the worth of each plot. The most expensive graves with the best locations e.g. beautiful views, excellent physical structures and sumptuous designs can reach many millions of pounds. These plots can be for the whole family, particularly on the father’s side, as Yin Zhai is a patriarchal system. On the whole it has become very big business.  Naturally, due to many regulations, it is almost impossible to practice Yin Zhai in the west, certainly not as fully as that practised in the East.

The Benefits of Yin Zhai

Why is a grave important for the Yin Feng Shui enthusiast? After all, a dead person is a dead person, correct? Contrary to what we may think, Yin Zhai is not for the deceased but for his/her descendants. This means, it is the children who benefit from the grave of the parents. There is also a technique called “Live Grave” in which you can “bury yourself” before death and thus benefit from the power of Yin Zhai whilst still living.  There will be another article about “Live Grave” at a later date.


There are five main areas of benefit that a Yin Feng Shui master will discuss with the potential client

1 – Wealth and Wife

2 – Health and Family

3 – Career / Children

4 – Power/ Success / Husband 

5 – Friends and Social Life.

If you practice Ba Zi you will recognise that these concepts come from the Five Element theory.  The master will try to put all these benefits onto a given grave using special calculations and some will be stronger than others. Also, not all the descendants will benefit equally, depending on the year they were born and the alignment of the grave. Yin Zhai calculations are by far the most complex in Feng Shui because they use very fine angles, typically less than one degree.

The Importance of Your Ancestors

In the West, it is believed that parents are a kind of a lottery and it is ‘pot luck’ as to who the children will receive. In the Far East, it is believed that parents are chosen by the children and therefore there is no coincidence involved.  The parents are the connection from the children to the yang energy of the sky – in a similar way, the ground is the connection to earthly energy of the plants. That is why children having a healthy relationship with their parents and grandparents is very important for their well-being and all their potential mistakes should be forgiven. Sometimes, this process can be extremely difficult to work well.


The connection with parents and grandparents, doesn’t get lost when they die, on the contrary, it intensifies. It is quite a normal occurrence for people to feel the presence of their father and mother after they have passed away. It is also normal to feel that they are in the sky “or somewhere near” and very comforting for them to feel that they are still caring for them, especially at important moments.

Principle of Yin Feng Shui

The principle of Yin Feng Shui is, that if the body rests in a place with good Feng Shui, the grave is properly built with the correct alignment and timing, then the influence that the ancestors or parents have over their children will tend to be positive and fruitful. However, if the place is not adequate or has bad Qi, then the spirit of the ancestors exercise a negative energy over their children and the family will languish.  In a similar way that plants will not prosper when the ground they are growing in is of poor quality.


Years of experience and training are needed to become a Yin Zhai Master and it is considered to be the ultimate Feng Shui skill. In Feng Shui culture, a very negative astrological period cannot be overcome by yang (normal) Feng Shui, which is determined by your Ba Zi chart. This is because in San Cai, the cosmic trinity of Heaven, Earth and Man, Heaven cannot override Earth. However, with Yin Zhai this can happen because it deals with spiritual energy. In the East, there is a saying “a bad doctor can kill a patient but a bad consultant can kill the whole family”. For many Chinese, the money invested in the grave is the ultimate and permanent gift for the protection and good fortune of future generations.