April Editor's Note

Last month Chinese New Year fell on the 15th, which makes 2015 the year of the sheep (according to Chinese astrology, each year is associated with an animal sign). That’s good news for all of us according to Melissa Yamaguchi, who with husband Billy owns Yamaguchi in Ventura, CA and at the Four Seasons in Westlake. Yamaguchi has been studying Chinese astrology for years. “All of the Chinese beliefs come from the I Ching, which is the book of changes,” says Yamaguchi. “It’s like our Farmer’s Almanac.” For the record, 2014 was the year of the horse, which was all about going it alone to achieve your goals. This year, Yamaguchi explains, will be a year of collection, collaboration and reaching out to others. “The sheep is a herd animal, and it does best when surrounded by like-minded animals,” says Yamaguchi, who suggests surrounding yourself with people who will support your efforts. “Reach out to those who can help you, and in turn, help those who have helped you in the past, and you’re in for a good year.”

The Chinese zodiac, which uses the lunar calendar, is based on energy (yin and yang) and the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal), and it’s a lot more complex than the 12 animal signs you’ve seen on placemats at Chinese restaurants. Yamaguchi explains the concept of energy like this: “Earth is vibrating at a measurable frequency every day, every minute, every second, and Feng Shui and the understanding of the animals and the energy is nothing more than an understanding of how you individually vibrate in resonating with the energy of the day.” Ever wake up raring to go, while on other days you can barely get out of bed? That’s energy at work, explains Yamaguchi, whose motto is, “Own your energy, own your life.”

For Yamaguchi, the key to understanding your employees and the way they interact is to understand their energy. Someone with rat energy, for example, is very efficient and very charismatic and moves very quickly, while someone with sheep energy is gentle and kind but doesn’t necessarily want to be in the limelight. “Our job as leaders is to optimize our teams in the best way possible,” says Yamaguchi, who works with companies to teach them how to understand their teams and how they move. “Once you understand the energies of each of your team members, then we can create success so each person feels optimized.”

For a few years now, Yamaguchi has been offering daily energy readings that can be sent to your smartphone. I’ve become hooked on them. On one of my low days, Yamaguchi admonished me not to listen to the voices in my head. “They lie,” she said. To sign up or to ask for a consultation, email her at [email protected] ✂ —Marianne Dougherty, editor in chief, [email protected]