Have you ever had a favorite color? Or a favorite object that you liked because of its color? Safe to say that for most, we have associations with color, consciously and subconsciously — like a clear blue sky will bring us joy, or a vivid red slice of watermelon will be satisfying. I’ll take it further to say these associations affect our behaviors, moods, and overall wellness. And though colors mean different things for all of us, each color actually has its own significance, function, and purpose.
Do you currently harness color to support you or your health?
Historically, color has been used for healing and therapy.
Uses of color theory or chromotherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India, where they all explored colors for mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
In ancient Egypt and Greece, color revolved around the sun. They believed that the colors reflected through the window could treat the body. So much so that homes and rituals were intentionally designed around the way color would enter the space. In both cultures, shades of yellow and gold, seen as the color of the sun, symbolized perfection, life force, and eternity.
In ancient China, color was related to health and medicine. A system of five colors was developed to correlate color with mood, organ function, and the elements. Color has also been used as a method to symbolize diverse energies and imbalances. For example, the color yellow is associated with the digestive system, worrying, and earth energy.
In ancient India, color was related to our internal health, the elements, and nature. Ayurvedic medicine and the chakra system focus on these beliefs. For example, yellow is the Manipura chakra: the third of seven, located at our solar plexus, which is the center of our vitality and symbolizes positivity and confidence.
Each of these ancient healing modalities was created to balance each color and their flow of energy. Today, these color theories inform many disciplines such as: color psychology, movement meditation, art therapy, and design.
In my practice, I explore how making conscious connections to color can positively impact our individual healing. It has been my experience that by understanding where and how color lives in our bodies, we can better support our health. A lot of times, we think of color superficially, but if we turn inward, we can learn a lot about ourselves through color.
Let’s Do an Exercise: Body Scanning
To get started, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit or lay with your eyes closed for at least 10 minutes. It’s important that you allow your body to guide you. Your relationship to color is embodied, it engages all of your senses.
Once you’re there, let’s start body scanning, grounding in your body, starting from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. How do you feel? What thoughts arise? Do you see any images or colors
Sometimes we may not see a specific color, but we’ll experience something specific along some part of our body: a certain spot got itchy, a sound was made, you felt a sensation — this is not insignificant.
Let’s say as you scanned your body, you got thirsty. It may indicate we start exploring at your throat: meaning spending time in blue and tapping into the current state of your communication or trust. Or you suddenly felt hungry. It may lead us to look at your stomach energy: how worry may be showing up for you, so we can cater to your relationship to yellow.
This isn’t to say that exploring color will lead to us finding an issue, imbalance, or to diagnose a symptom. Instead, exploring our intimacy with color can allow us to see ourselves through new perspectives and create new meaning.
Let’s do another exercise: scanning the environment(s) that you spend time in. What colors do you see? Are any recurring? How do these spaces make you feel?
You can learn which colors you may want to build a relationship with by seeing which are absent or overly present. For example, if your space doesn’t have orange, it may create an imbalance to your self confidence or intimacy. Or maybe you feel really creative in one spot and realize it actually has a lot of purple.
Making these connections can increase your awareness, understanding, and impact the health of your emotional, physical, and mental bodies.
Catalina Cipri is a healing artist, birthworker, and founder of Reciprocate Studio. You can connect with on Instagram. If you’ve tried some of the activities in this piece and want to learn more, are simply interested in exploring the ways that colors are taking shape within you, or would like to explore healing modalities to balance color, reach out to Catalina for an individual session or check out her offerings for healing with color available at www.reciprocate.studio.