Kapha Season Chromotherapy: Shades of Winter
Winter—the wonderlands of snow (if you’re lucky), the short days and long nights, the end of an old year and beginning of a new one. This cold, darkening, and contracting time of year also brings with it the change into another Ayurvedic season. The end of Vata through early winter transforms into Kapha season during late winter and early spring. Depending on where you live, the external changes in the world around you can be particularly subtle. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like spring where I live until summer’s nearly here. And if I’m not careful, the slowness of winter and the beginning of the Kapha season can start to wear me down; I used to get restless with “cabin fever,” craving the days of sunshine, movement, and reasons to get out of the house. But when I started incorporating color therapy into my Ayurvedic lifestyle, I found that balancing the cold, dark wetness of Kapha season is as easy as choosing the right colors to wear or adding a splash of Kapha-pacifying color into the main rooms of my house.
Just like with color therapy during the summer or fall, using certain shades and bursts of color with Kapha-pacifying qualities can make the winter and early spring as energizing, creative, and stimulating as you need it to be, especially when these qualities can fall a little flat with an excess of Kapha, which is inherently cold, wet, dark, and subduing. While the best colors to enhance our daily lives during Pitta season are the cooler colors (like green, blue, and purple), and the warmer colors are best-suited for Vata season (like red, orange, and yellow), it’s not surprising at all that the Kapha season calls for a mix of these. The best shades during late winter and early spring are orange (for its warming and healing energy), yellow (for rising energy and as a decongestant, so helpful during this time of year), and purple (to promote lightness in the body). Of course, gold and silver are fantastic in extra little bursts to help liven darkness, especially when we enter the end-of-the-year holiday season before bringing in the New Year.
So how do I incorporate color therapy during the Kapha season? For the most part, I do this the same way as with Vata and Pitta seasons—by reorganizing and rearranging the colors of my wardrobe and accessories. The shift from Vata to Kapha is a little less drastic, as I can still get plenty of use out of my burnt-orange sweaters and the dark-red purse you’ve heard me mention before. These are my go-to pick-me-ups when it comes to color therapy; I throw them on when I go out for an instant burst of “go get ‘em” during the colder months. From my vast collection of scarves, I also have my favorites in deep purple and sometimes even violet, though I do stay away from wearing anything in too bright a shade of red, as this aggravates Kapha more than the darker tones. Last year, I received one of my favorite holiday presents—a pair of super warm, fuzzy, golden-yellow socks, which of course keep my feet warm and add a burst of happy (and sometimes silly) energy on the days when I’m either snowed in or have chosen to take the day off to relax.
I also mentioned the spirit of decorating for the holiday season in my article on Vata color therapy, and for the beginning of the Kapha season (or any time of year), the fun, creative, and dosh-balancing benefits remain the same. The color gold, especially when getting ready to celebrate the New Year with parties, dinners, and the famous countdown to midnight, is one of my favorite added details to liven up the cold and darkness of Kapha season. While gold is connected primarily with the element of fire (for its warming qualities), it also has a bit of air, earth, ether, and water tied in, making it a universally stabilizing color for all dosha types and every Ayurvedic season. It’s nourishing, warming, and energetic without the “instant high and ensuing crash” sometimes found in too much bright yellow or neon colors. I like to think of it as the difference between the sustaining invigoration of a brisk walk outside versus the jittery rush of an energy drink. This makes gold particularly useful and oh so fun when getting ready for my New Year’s parties. It keeps my guests and myself feeling celebratory and welcome without any added pressure to “go all out” (which is common during New Year’s parties). Yes, I have fun with hanging the gold, glittery tinsel over my wintery holiday wreaths, and I’m a fan of gold-colored cocktail napkins. I also have a table runner in a darker shade of gold, which spruces up the dark wood of my dining room table, and this year, I found a great set of gold-colored wineglass charms, so everyone can easily (and in style) keep track of their drink through the night.
If it’s an option for you, using color therapy for year-round interior decorating is also a great way to boost your dosha-balancing. Of course, repainting your walls every few months can get tedious and expensive, but a lot of the time, you can use certain rooms in the house more often than others during various times of the year. For instance, a friend of mine has a smaller, cozier family room in her house that is a little darker with fewer windows than the living room, but at her fireplace makes it a wonderful place to gather and relax during the winter months at the end of Vata season and beginning of Kapha season. You could paint an accent wall in this room with a deeper, warmer tone of gold, so it’s also a perfectly neutral room even during Pitta season, when the “warmer” colors would generally be more aggravating to the Pitta dosha. Seasonally changing out a few throw pillow or curtains is also a great way to circulate your color therapy as needed, and once you invest in a set or two, you can reuse them again and again for instant balance and centering.
Even though winter and the beginning of Kapha season can tend to be slower, darker, and feel a bit more oppressive as we’re waiting for spring to… well, spring, using some of these tips to incorporate color therapy in our daily lives is an easy, sometimes remarkably quick way to add a little brightness to the shortened days and energy to the cold heaviness all around us. Try sprucing up your wardrobe like I have with shades of orange, yellow, and purple, add a little decorative flair of these colors in the most frequently used rooms of your house (or even an accent wall), and bring in the new year with a subtle pop of balance through warm, nourishing golds. Our Ayurvedic candies in these Kapha-balancing colors—like Inner Glow, Chai Me Up, and Cinnamon Shan-tea—make excellent party gifts, and their all-natural Ayurvedic ingredients will keep you on-track and feeling balanced in your New Year’s resolutions, too. So here’s to the Kapha season and a Happy New Year from all of us at Dosha Pops.