Using colours to cultivate calmness and happiness.
The colour breathing meditation is a powerful breathing exercise that helps reduce stress. It involves mentally picturing a colour that represents how you want to feel (e.g. happy, calm, serene), whilst letting go of the colour that represents the stressors in your life.
As Tessa Watt explains in her book Mindful London, the “breath is probably the oldest and most common focus for mindfulness. When you feel your breath you are connecting with the basic feeling of being alive. (…) When you tune in to your breathing, your body and mind are in sync: the breath is a bridge between the two. (…) The more you become familiar with the breath, the more it becomes a haven for your awareness – something you can trust.”
Step 1 – Sitting (1’)
Sit in a comfortable position, keeping your back straight yet relaxed and resting your hands on your legs or your lap.
Step 2 – Breathing (2’)
When you are ready, close your eyes and focus your attention on your body breathing. As you breathe comfortably but relaxed, make sure your outbreath is twice as long as your inbreath.
Step 3 – Absorbing a positive colour (2’)
Now bring to mind a colour that calms you, relaxes you or makes you happy. Imagine yourself bathed in the colour of your choice and as you breathe in, feel the colour entering your solar plexus and spreading throughout your whole body.
Step 4 – Releasing a negative colour (2’)
Similarly, bring to mind a colour that represents what stresses you in life. As you breathe out, visualise the colour that represents your stressor leaving your body.
Step 5 – Continuing to breathe (3’)
Continue to breathe in the colour that calms you and breathe out the colour that stresses you, with the outbreath being twice as long as the inbreath. As you keep breathing, feel your body letting go of all the tensions and anxieties and sinking into the colour that relaxes you.
Step 6 – Creating a shield (2’)
Slowly, there is no more space for the negative colour in your body as you are fully surrounded by the positive colour. You are creating a shield of calmness and happiness that protects you from all stress and anxiety.
Step 7 – Expanding your shield (2’)
As you feel fully protected by your shield, start expanding it to include the person next to you. See how it feels to include them under your protection and wish them calmness and happiness. Continue expanding your shield to include your family, colleagues, community… until the entire world is covered by your positive colour. All is well and happy.
Step 8 – Coming back to your awareness (1’)
When you feel calmer, gently bring your breathing back to its normal rhythm and become aware of the space around you and its sounds. And when you are ready, open your eyes.
Step 9 – Reflecting (15’)
Whether you did this exercise alone or in a group, take the next 10-15 minutes to reflect on your experience. What colour were you breathing in? And what colour were you breathing out? How did it feel to know you were fully protected by your positive colour? How did it feel to know there was no space left for stress and anxiety? And how did it feel to wish everyone loving and caring vibes?