Pitta Season Chromotherapy: Shades of Summer
One of the lesser known aspects of Ayurvedic living is the practice of color therapy. You may not have heard of this when learning how to balance your doshas according to the Rtucharya, the six Ayurvedic seasons. I certainly hadn’t before I started my Ayurvedic journey. But I’ve found that surrounding and adorning myself with the right colors—the basis of color therapy—can be just as effective as what I eat, how I exercise, and when and how much I sleep.
According to Ayurvedic belief, our bodies contain the five elements of the universe: air, fire, earth, water, and ether (or space). Each of these elements is also closely linked to the energies of the body’s seven chakras, the properties of which affect our moods, thoughts, and even bodily functions (here’s a great breakdown of the chakras.) And yep, you guessed it—these elements and their color chakras are deeply connected with the spectrum of visible colors. When any of these chakras are misaligned or elements are out of balance, we feel the effects of our aggravated doshas in mood swings (I get irritable and anxious) or physical manifestations of imbalance (for me, this comes up as either an upset stomach or skin breakouts—sometimes both!). Ayurvedic color therapy is the practice of changing the colors we wear and the everyday items around us to give our doshas and our chakras a loving little nudge back into alignment.
As we’re smack-dab in the middle of summer, we can balance the hot, dry, penetrating qualities of the Pitta season with colors—just like food and exercise—that are cool, light, and calming. Green, blue, and purple are the best colors during summer to help soothe an aggravated Pitta dosha and bring those qualities into our everyday lives (think ocean-blue, cool and fluid, or the deep, lush green of freshly mowed grass in the shade). I try to avoid red, orange, and yellow through these months, as they fuel Pitta and can aggravate it even further (together, they make me think of fire—hot, dry, and sometimes angry). Check out this excellent breakdown of seasonal colors and how they affect the three doshas.
The easiest and most obvious way to incorporate Pitta color therapy is by wearing these colors throughout the season. I have a closet full of tank tops and t-shirts in green and purple; light, thin fabrics, of course, help with the summer heat (especially my airy skirts and dresses). Blue and purple flowers presented in a clear vase bring instant harmony to any hot, bright room. Cool-colored curtains filter the bright light through the windows, and bedsheets in these colors promote a cooling, restful sleep on those hot summer nights. Even changing the colors of your towels and beach totes or adding a flair of purple to your workspace (associated with the third-eye chakra for stability, intuition, and self-realization) will help you to focus and avoid rash decision-making. Painting the rooms in your home using color therapy offers these benefits year round (specific to which rooms you use the most during any given season, because let’s face it, nobody has time to repaint every few months). Even my yoga mat is violet, which automatically helps me transition into the calm, steady awareness I try to bring to my practice. Keeping these colors and chakras in mind during my yoga practice through the Pitta season is just one more way for me to alleviate that irritability and anxiety I mentioned.
Thanks to color therapy, I’ve learned to combine Ayurveda’s knowledge of the five elements, seven chakras, and spectrum of colors as an added bonus to my lifestyle practices during any season. This Pitta season, I’ve lined up my airy green dresses (for their freshness, energy, and happiness in the heart chakra), set my blue beach towels by the door (for their coolness and calming effect), and pulled out my violet yoga mat (for awakening awareness and lightness in the body). With all this refreshing, peaceful energy from your own color-therapy choices (take our test to find your dominant dosha and what colors suit you), you’ll still have plenty of room to stay on your health lick with one (or two!) of my Pitta-soothing Pops, like purple “Goodness Grapecious” or green “Amlaberry.”