Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ayurvedic Design

We've all heard of Ayurveda. It is the oldest existing medical system on the planet – the word Ayurveda means the science of life or living. The medicines are prepared using all natural ingredients found in herbs, plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables grown indigenously.
No, no this is not a post on Ayurveda, so don't wander away....
There's plenty of info available so I won't go into it, but simply put - we are all born from a combination of five elements that pervade the universe - earth, water, fire, air and ether. Earth, heavy and solid constitutes our bone and muscle mass; fire generates heat for metabolic processes like digestion to happen; water brings calmness and emotional succour; air gives us life breath and allows for the play of the mind; ether is the space in which our organs reside, giving us mental expanse and clarity. This play of elements is the fundamental principle of Ayurveda. These reside in pairs and give rise to three "doshas" which make up our constitution, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

So what dosha are you? 

(Stay with me, I am getting somewhere "designy" with all this....)
There are a gazillion websites that will hep you figure it out, some more complicated than others and some with such a long questionnaire, by the end of it you don't really care, you just want to be done with it. But for us visual designer types who have little patience with lengthy verbose quizzes, here is a quick one to help you figure out if you're a earthy Kapha, a fiery Pitta or an airy Vata! Based on your dosha, Ayurveda will help you understand what foods are good for you what foods you should avoid to keep all your doshas balanced and in harmony, because one is always more predominant than the other. Anyone want to guess what dosha I am? Hint: impatient, hate the summer heat, stubborn!!!!

So in a nutshell Ayurveda is all about medicine and food.

But wait......have you heard of a color palette for you depending on your dosha or your constitutional type? Yes, AFM Safecoat has developed a 108 colors in three palettes of 36 colors each. The significance of the number 108 is is sacred in numerology. Each micro palette contains a range of colors that are skewed energetically meaning whether the colors are hot or cold, warm or cool, calming or stimulating, uplifting or grounding, moist or dry, etc. On a simplistic level, it exerts a balancing force in the direction opposite of that which may tend to erode an individual’s homeostasis. 

A mesomorphic fiery Pitta like me (yes, I am a Pitta, surprise surprise...) needs colors with a cooling and calming orientation, likewise an ectomorphic airy Vata is balanced by earthy colors. 

So, to recap, if your constitution is a Vata, your skin will benefit from deep hydration. Surround yourself with a palette of subdued, muted earthy tones suggestive of moisture to balance your dosha. Go with paint colors that are reminiscent of the earth, landscape, leaf, sun, cloud, nature, grass and sand.

If you are a hothead Pitta, you need complex colors with a cooling, soothing and calming orientation. This will balance you and lower the irritability we types are so well known for........ Pick green and blue toned colors that scream of evening, meditation, peace, comfort, balance, breath, restore, calm and attune. 

And then lastly, if you are a calm, steadfast Kapha, (like my better half) embrace a palette of vibrant and stimulating colors with warm overtones that will get you out of your almost inert and lethargic nature. Go wild with fiery colors like spirit, fire, revive, purpose, inspire, awake and discover.

I found this pretty fascinating, but what was a mystery is that whatever your dosha may be, you are instinctively drawn to colors that only aggravate your characteristics....for example, as a Pitta I am to veer towards calming greens and blues, but that is the one color I stay away from....instead I gravitate towards the Kapha colors of clay, fire, red, and orange. Which is just making things worse.......????

All images courtesy here, here and here.


Patricia Torres said...

sounds like I'm probably a PITTA myself... :-) oh.. and those green colours are calling me for sure...

Sudha said...

super post kamini...just last friday, i was having a discussion with my amma..:)..a holistic approach to decor to suit our temperament

Sharon said...

I am definitely a Pitta, but will go take that test! the link between your dosha and colors is fascinating!

Sayantani said...

beautiful post Kamini. am definitely a Pitta and like you always stay away from Green. like these colour only house plants.
between in a family with different Ayurvedic doshas what should be the rule of designing? anything to balance that out?

Shanthi said...

Well Well I am pitta too. That's a surprise. So what do I like - Blues and Greens - I am not sure. Green Plants yes and Turquoise blue Yesssss!! But I like all other radiant colours too.

indianyarn said...

i lovve white - now isn't that complex - because it reflex all colors. does that mean i am supposed to keep away from colors.
as much as i am drawn towards colors i am drawn away from them at times --

Anonymous said...

A fascinating thought to link ayerveda with design. I'm a pitta most certainly, but I am repelled by greens and blues, I don't want to live with them. I'm drawn to the reds, oranges, etc. Is that what's to be expected, to be drawn to our natural constitution? But for balance, are we supposed to consciously purposefully move away from what further excites pitta to colors that would soothe us more? I feel like I'd have to force myself to do that! Very interesting!

rkramadh said...

Very interesting connection. Yep, I am a pitta character who is opinionated and I stick to my guns. I sure do love oranges and reds and sunny yellows. It just cheers me up like crazy. I can't be lethargic no matter hope for me since I don't see myself surrounded by blues/greens. I love plants but don't enjoy those calming colors except when I am on a tropical beach vacation :)

Anonymous said...

This is great to read.. I am a true how I love those earth tone colors.
Amazing to read.