Ayurveda Day 64: Colour Therapy

Chromotherapy or colour therapy is a subtle way the doshas move through us. Just as with any of our senses, we have certain sense organs that enable us to perceive colours, which are merely vibrations or wavelengths of light. We primarily do this via our eyes and our skin. Since our senses are the way we interpret the physical world, colours too have a role in our physical, emotional, and mental health. The role of colours are far more subtle, but since we are surrounded by colours every day, their effects are noticeable.

Just imagine for a moment being in a completely black room, wearing black clothes, with black furniture, at night. Contrast that to a completely white room, wearing white clothes, with white furniture, in the day. The effects in this extreme example become more obvious.

There are many ways that colours and light can be utilized in our lives to affect the doshas:

– interior decorating
– coloured lights
– tinted glasses
– clothing
– colour meditations
– coloured water infusions
– trataka (candle gazing)
– gem therapy

Interior decorating and our clothing are two diverse ways to choose colours. From painting, to decorations, artwork, linens, curtains, blankets, pillows, lighting, scarves…we often take for granted the major role colours play in our daily lives.

If you start asking yourself some questions about your environment, from an ayurvedic approach, you can start to surround yourself with that which will pacify your doshas.

Do you feel tired in the mornings? Perhaps a stimulating colour in your bathroom would be a good idea.
Do you want your living space to be a sanctuary where you can relax? Perhaps calming, soothing colours would be best.
Do you need your workout space to provide more motivation? Perhaps intense colours could be utilized.

When we start asking why rather than just bombarding our senses with whatever we like, we start to build our environment in such a way that it’s no longer vitiating us and potentially even supporting our peace of mind and health.

Here are the best colours for pacifying each dosha:
Vata – heavy or warm
Gold
Brown
Green
Yellow
Orange
Purple
Pitta – cooling
Gold
Blue
White
Brown
Violet
Kapha – warm, light, or stimulating
Red
Orange
Green
Gold
Blue
White
Purple
Violet

You’ll notice that gold is on all three lists! It is not the shiny gold we are used to, but it is considered to be tridoshic meaning good for all three doshas. It’s also the best colour for building ojas. It’s said to transform consciousness, support the function of our hormones (endocrine system), and strengthen the emotions and body. Combined with a deep blue it works to balance the mind and bring out one’s deeper potential.

Additionally, some colours are considered more sattvic, or are calming and uplifting:
White
Yellow
Green
Gold
Blue
Violet

Of course colours are not so simple. There is a gamut when it comes to picking the shade of a colour. To keep it simple, adding white to a colour will make it softer. It adds a lightness, expansiveness, and cooling property to the colour. White in excess can lead to apathy, sterility, detachment…but in balance it can be cleansing to the body. Still, again too much can be depleting. White is said to be the seed of all colours.

Adding black to colours makes the darker.Black is said to contain all the elements – air, ether, water, fire, and earth. Though Earth is the most dominant and the rest are in lesser amounts. It is heavy, cool, and contractive. It makes for things being more grounding. In moderation it can provide stability and protection. In excess it creates isolation (just remember that goth phase you went through as a teen).

I’m going to paint my apartment next week with this new found knowledge. Besides, colours are fun! Now Ayurveda has given you a road map to the effects they have and your choices can be more purposeful.

With gratitude,

S

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