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What is Color Meditation?

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

by Usha Nagvarapu, PhD

According to Ayurveda, we are governed by the elements around us. Each one of us have dominants elements in us which can be translated into intrinsic energies, or doshas. There are three constitutional doshas and each are guided by different colors. Ayurveda believes that these colors have beneficial characteristics and are capable of modulating emotions.

Therefore, if colors are properly implemented, they can balance the three doshas. In other words, Ayurveda considers that colors have therapeutic powers, and they can usher in a state of equilibrium. A state of peace. A state of happiness. It’s that easy!

How does color work?

Color impresses the brain and can affect our physiology: this involves our pulse, blood flow, and nervous systems! Color affects the brain activity through the hypothalamus, the organ that regulates and controls the endocrine gland. The hypothalamus is involved in diverse routine activities like eating or drinking. Though a small organ, weighs only grams, is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems. It collects and integrates information from the body and organizes the neural and endocrine responses that maintain homeostasis (constant internal environment). It also helps control the body temperature, thirst, and hunger and circadian rhythms. All these activities eventually affect our sleep and emotions as well.

The Mechanism

When we are exposed to sun, our hypothalamus area of the brain sets our patterns. Light is detected by the retina, which sends signals to the hypothalamus. Brain cells tend to be the most sensitive to blue wavelengths and the least sensitive to red wavelengths.

Blue/white light makes us energetic. So let us expose ourselves to light this morning. You will see that blue/green light stimulates and wakes us and inhibits the release of melatonin. This happens due to the release of the hormone cortisol which stimulates us. You will see that later in the evening as the amount of blue light in sunlight decreases, melatonin is released into our bloodstreams and we start becoming drowsy.

All this is happening in the retinal cells, which creates the no-image pathway between eye and hypothalamus. These cells are sensitive to the short wavelengths (blue and green) of the visible spectrum.

Colors are Therapeutic!

In Ayurveda, for our vata energies, let us use warm and energetic colors like red, orange, yellow or even white. Let’s use the softer versions to avoid the mind stimulation, because a vata person can get cold and hyperactive. Let us avoid black, brown, and grey as these colors inhibit the vata type.

For our pitta energies, let us use cold, pale, and mild colors to balance our natural agni, or warmth, and ferocity. Intense and bright colors should be avoided especially red. Since pitta is dominated by the fire element, blue and light blue colors are therefore the best to bring a tranquil and a peaceful state.

For kapha dominating energies, which is characterized by excess moisture and heaviness, warm, stimulating, and energizing colors are the best. For these energies, it is best to evade pale colors like white, grey, and blue. The kapha "heaviness" can be kindled through warm, and bright colors like purple, gold, red and yellow. Red is the best color for dominant kapha energies, as it fuels and synchronizes this dosha.

Let us remember, that color meditation can work once we have inferred our intrinsic energies or doshas. We can use colors that can calm our aggravated doshas or energies, and the corresponding elements.

Challenges with Color Therapy

I understand that it is difficult to understand how color can help. It is an awkward subject. It takes time and resilience to understand it. Practice is the key to achieve success. It starts with calculating our vitiated doshas correctly, finding the right color, finding the right type of material, or color device, and finally needs time, patience, and focus. We live in a world of instant gratification and distrust. So, though intriguing, it needs training to learn it and to teach it. My job is to help you understand, and to I am learning too along the way. Nature has offered us so many colors, and I feel just a walk every day and absorbing colors, understanding colors is the right place to start. You will see it makes a difference.

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