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The Power of Red

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The Power of Red

Red is the color of blood–and has many healing properties. Dress up in rich, warm red, and you will feel relief from an aggravated Vata or Kapha dosha. But overdo it, and you risk raising your Pitta quotient.

Dip a toe into Ayurvedic color therapy sometime, and you will learn that Red is also the color of Rajas–one of the three ‘gunas’ or qualities identified by Ayurveda (Rajas, Tamas and Sattva). Rajas signifies ambition, action and success. The use of the color red increases the Rajas element in your being, making you more dynamic. But again, use it with caution, or it can cause burnout–read stress, heartburn, and an increased Tamas (associated with darkness and lethargy.)

But Ayurveda apart, I love red because it stimulates, excites, whets appetite and enhances enthusiasm. In fact, psychologists say red has more personal associations than any other color. We associate this color with power and passion for two reasons: evolution—where the color of blood is red, and environment, where we see traffic signals and danger signs as attention-catching symbols.

Your Favorite Color: What it Says About Your Personality


Red is the color of focus. It helps to improve your memory, too. Researchers at the University of British Columbia showed 600 people two sets of images: one displayed against flaming red, and other displayed against cool blue. Afterward, these subjects were asked to recall what they had seen. The results were interesting: most people remembered the red set far better, with more clarity and greater attention to detail.

Say Bye-Bye to Shy

Is your wardrobe cluttered with boring blacks and whites and greys and blues? It could be a sign of reticence, and a natural tendency to mingle with the crowd. But hey, every woman needs to be noticed: dare to step out in a bold red once in a while. You’ll look and feel like a star. That’s the power of this attention-grabbing colour.

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick,” said Gwyneth Paltrow.

Playing to win? Sport red. It is the colour of blood, so it gives you strength and stamina. And we have the studies to prove it:

“All things being equal between two figure skaters – including their actual speed on the ice – the judges will perceive a skater in red moving with greater speed than a skater in blue, and may reward the skater in red with higher marks,” says Mazyar Fallah, study author and assistant professor at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the university.

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
8:09PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

no red clothes in my wardrobe..but my living room is floral daughter feels that we are living in the garden like fairies.

12:54AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Not a whole lot of that made much sense to me but I've always adored red! Thanks for fun article!

6:18AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012


12:39AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Thanks. I love red and it's nice to understand why.

4:39AM PDT on May 17, 2012

Does this only count for the Ladies ? me - red car, red T shirt so what does that tell you ? the answer : they was both within my budget, it did not come down to colour.

2:41PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012


1:26PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

I didn't understand the Ayurvedic part of the article - wouldn't know a Vata or Pitta if I fell over them. I do like red in moderation. No "kickass" lipstick for me but I have splashes of red in my home and office (e.g. paintings, lamps, vases, pillows) not real splashes. There are many shades of red and I am drawn to "true red" - no orangy, blue or brown tones.

12:57PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Thank you

12:54PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

I acknowledge the power of red - but opt out. Red was never my thing - too much red in a room actually makes me feel uncomfortable.

3:58PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012


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