I have a magnet on my fridge that says, “I wear black because they haven’t found a darker colour yet.” For me, black signifies simplicity, ease, independence, and clean lines. Inside the yoga room however, I do enjoy wearing colour — it’s as if a brighter palette makes the 26 postures easier to work through… as if my perfectionist self becomes more chilled out by wearing a pink top because the class is hard enough. But after contacting Marta, I think there’s more to it.
Marta Saad is a colour consultant who was kind enough to share some valuable insights into colour therapy. Her Q&A is a fascinating look into colour selection and how, without knowing better, perhaps what we choose isn’t always the wisest choice. Particularly interesting is this statement:
“Colours can have negative effects, and our favorite colours might actually reinforce imbalances. More often than not, the rejected or strongly disliked colours are the ones we actually need the most to stay healthy, emotionally and mentally balanced.” Wow! Does this mean I have to start wearing purple?
Dipping my toe into the paintbox has made me think twice about the reasons behind certain colour decisions. It also has me wondering why I choose colours mostly in consideration of my yoga practice. Dare I wear more colour when I am feverishly working towards a deadline, or pitching clients? I don’t know but I’ll try it out and see what works. I hope these insights will better balance your yoga practice, and daily life, too.
My Q&A with Marta.
1. Marta, can you tell me: what is colour therapy?
Colour therapy involves identifying and administering a specific colour, or colour combinations, to establish physical, mental or emotional equilibrium. Every one of our cells receives and transmits colour rays, and the human body emits light (biophotons) — often called aura.
Although various methods of diagnosing problems exist, the common notion is that certain mental or emotional states and physical ailments are directly linked to certain colour imbalances. According to colour therapy, the imbalances — or blockages in energy flow — firstly manifest on the mental and emotional level, and later produce physical symptoms. The purpose of colour therapy is to balance colours to reach equilibrium and maintain health. Since colour therapy uses a holistic approach, colour administration in forms such as light therapy, diet, crystals, music, clothing, decorating, counselling, colour/rainbow meditation, aromatherapy, art&music therapy is regarded as ‘medicine’ in combination with necessary lifestyle changes. Only then the healing or, better yet, illness prevention can occur.
2. Are certain colours suited to seasons? For example, summer versus autumn?
The connection between colours and seasons is mainly visible in nature. The spring brings on delicate colours, summer — the most saturated ones; fall wraps us with warm hues, while winter strips us of colour altogether. To counterbalance the most extreme weather conditions of summer and winter, it helps to surround ourselves with certain colours. The colours on the cool side of the spectrum i.e green, turquoise, blue, indigo, purple, and the non-colour white have generally soothing, calming and a temperature-wise cooling effect. The warm colours of yellow, gold, orange, red, magenta and non-colour brown have a stimulating, energizing and temperature-wise warming effect.
To use these characteristics during seasons, it is best to decorate our homes in natural colours, adding cool coloured fabrics and accents in the summer, and warm coloured ones during winter.
When it comes to clothing the same rule applies. Even though the heavy fabrics are always destined for winter and light ones for the summer, the difference in colour can change our perception of what seems warm and what is cool. Warm, bright colours also have mood lifting properties, and it is worth choosing appropriate warm coloured clothing for dreary, rainy or snowy days.
Important note: The earth treats us well according to the seasons and we should reap the benefits of certain foods as well. Winter brings us vegetables with warming properties, drawing energy from the Earth, and the available fruit strengthens our immune system and lifts the spirit. On the other hand, the fruit of the summer has generally cooling effect and calming properties.
The colour of foods we eat affects us profoundly. Drawing colour energy from food is actually the easiest way of absorbing colour. We tend to surround ourselves with and wear colours in tune with our emotions — the so-called ‘easy colours’. Since colours can have negative effects, our favorite colours might actually reinforce the imbalances. More often than not, the rejected or strongly disliked colours are the ones we actually need the most to stay healthy, emotionally and mentally balanced. Convincing someone to wear, or to decorate with, a colour they don’t like (but need) may not work. Achieving balance through other indirect forms of colour therapy such as diet, meditation, light therapy, or counselling, by using properties of a colour for short term benefit is much more effective.
3. I have been gravitating towards the colours white, pink, yellow, black, and grey. What is the meaning behind them?
From the colours you’ve mentioned, only pink and yellow are regarded as colours; white, black, and grey as non-colours.
They all have both positive and negative meanings. They can also evoke more personal associations, or different ones in different cultures.
White – purity, simplicity, idealism, individuality, optimism, innocence, joy, hope, enlightenment, openness, cleanliness, safety, hygiene, and indecision.
Grey – (+) discipline, steadiness, stability, dignity, compromise and negotiability, protection; (-) indecision, resignation, and lack of individuality.
Black – (+) elegance, power, mystery, sophistication; (-) uncertainty, aloofness, fatigue, death, and fear.
Yellow – (+) optimism, inspiration, innovation, hope, wisdom, cheerfulness, communication; (-) egotism, and discrimination.
Pink – (+) love, compassion, giving and receiving love, heart-connected; (-) emotional defiance, criticism.
4. How do I use colour on an everyday basis? For example, if I need a lift in my mood, what colour will increase my energy?
Red for confidence and assertiveness
Orange for optimism and creativity
Yellow for light-heartedness and uplift
Green for tranquility and appearing dependable
Lime-green for creating and developing new habits
Blue and indigo for calm, feeling of security and honesty
Purple/Violet for inspiration and standing out
Pink for being approachable and understanding
Magenta (strong shocking pink) for letting go of old habits
White for a new start or space to think
Black for protection from others, creating distance and disappearing in the crowd
Warm colours (red, orange and yellow) generally tend to pop out, so if you don’t want attention or feel restless or stressed out you should avoid them.
Cool colours (blue, indigo, purple) should be avoided if you are feeling down, isolated or vulnerable.
Green is good balancing and healing colour overall, reminiscent of nature, but it should be avoided if your life is stagnant or you feel confused about your future.
Thank you Marta. Do you have any other tips?
Colour breathing can work very well, and even substitute a light therapy session. I compare it to taking quick shower with coloured light. It works really well before starting a counselling session, when the person seems really frustrated, upset, anxious or confused. Since it takes so little time, I think anyone could use it to shift their energy.
The one described below is called The Cleansing Breath, for cleansing aura. It could be done at the beginning or at the end of yoga sessions. The point of it is clearing the aura from pollution caused by habits or drugs, stress and negative people. The imbalances and pollution actually do manifest in our aura — they look like blobs, dark spots or murky colours.
The colours to use during this colour breathing exercise can be Gold, Blue, Turquoise, Violet and even White light. There is only rule to remember, that all mentioned colours except Gold must be drawn from the crown (just above the top of your head). Gold must be drawn through the soles of the feet, from the ground.
The Cleansing Breath Exercise.
1. Chose one colour you want to use for cleansing: Gold, Blue, Turquoise, Violet or White.
2. Stand with your feet apart, and arms hanging by your sides.
3. As you breathe in, visualize drawing the colour you have chosen into your body. Bring it in and through all the chakras.
4. As you breathe out, without the colour, imagine that you are expelling all the tensions, negative emotions, all the pollution your aura might have collected and you wish to get rid of.
5. If you have chosen Gold, imagine the waste disappearing, from your feet upwards, into air. If you have chosen one of colours drawn from the crown, imagine waste washing downwards, and being buried in the Earth.
6. Repeat until you feel the aura is cleansed.
Thank you so much, Marta! If you’d like to contact Marta about colour therapy, please visit her website: martasaad.com