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Color me Healthy


Written by Mary Thompson

 The power of color to balance and beautify

We feed ourselves through all five of our sense organs. By what we take in through our mouths, we can heal and build the body. But what we take in through our other senses is just as influential to our state of health. We take in sights, smells, sounds and sensations, and all of these provide for subtle shifts in healing that can have profound effects. The treatment of the physical and emotional state by taking in specific light and color is termed chromotherapy, and has been shown to heal the physical body and to balance the emotional state.

Chromotherapy has long been used as a healing modality. All colors come originally from the light of the sun. By accessing colors, we access the healing properties of the sun. Ayurvedic practitioners of old used colors as they were found in nature to facilitate healing. When Newton discovered that the light ray could be broken up into its colored spectrum, the colors of the rainbow became accessible through a prism.

Colors begin to affect our mental state immediately and their effect is long lasting. When using color therapy, consider the colors in the home and wardrobe as a starting place for assessing and changing use of color. People may surround themselves in healing color, incorporate color in meditation, or even in what they eat and drink.

Ayurveda recognizes that the colors have profound and often immediate effects on our mental states. We call the potential mental states sattva (calm leading to clarity), rajas (activity leading to distraction), and tamas (inertia leading to ignorance). Colors are assessed for the effect they have on our mental state, and are chosen to enhance our state of mind. Most will benefit from choosing sattvic colors for the home and wardrobe: white, blue, gold, green and violet are considered sattvic.

When working with color, shading and tone play a significant role. To make the energy effect of a color softer, lighten it; to dull the effect, darken it. Specific colors have specific actions, for example:

Red is a hot color. It is considered rajasic (activating) and raises physical and emotional heat when used. When you think of the effect this color has on bulls, you begin to see the power of this color as a motivator.

Orange is a warming, stimulating, rajasic color. It can motivate creativity and sexual expression. Orange draws attention, and indicates informality.

Yellow is also a warming, rajasic color. It is mildly stimulating, though uplifting. It increases joy, expansiveness and lightness.

Green is a neutral color. It is considered sattvic (clearing) and healing. Spending time with plants and trees, or beside water are excellent ways to incorporate more green into your life and begin to heal on a subtle level.

Blue is a cooling, calming, expansive, sattvic color. Its use counters the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. This color is also found widely in nature, in water sources and in the sky.

Violet is a neutral, sattvic color. It has a high vibrational frequency and is often considered a spiritual color.

White is a cool, sattvic color representing purity and clarity. Meditation on the color white expands the consciousness.

Black is a cool color. It is tamasic (dulling) and creates separation; it is a color of divisiveness, and can draw one deeper into his darker nature. It can be used as a color of renunciation to enhance spiritual practice by encouraging separation of the self from one’s surroundings.

As a general rule, vata (expansive, frenetic) energy is pacified by warming colors, such as yellow and orange and is disturbed by cooling colors and is aggravated by the use of blue and white. Pitta (focused, fiery) energy is pacified by cooling colors, especially blue and white, and is disturbed by heating colors and aggravated by the use of red and orange. Kapha (steady, stagnant) energy is pacified by stimulating colors, such as red and orange and is disturbed by dull colors and aggravated by the use of brown, gray and black.

By starting with the home and the wardrobe, we can affect fundamental shifts in our color consciousness. By incorporating accent colors that are beneficial to our constitution, healing can begin on a subtle level that will affect change throughout our lives.