Colour meditation and yoga are the latest, more unusual, classes to hit Six Senses Spa so Lisa Travell went to see what it’s all about.
I admit it; I was skeptical. My problem is that I find it difficult to switch off. My mind is always whirling away, thinking of my next article, what I can make for dinner out of two eggs and a packet of frozen peas, and where I put my favourite pink lipstick. So, when I was asked to attend a colour meditation class, I thought if it didn’t work out, at least I’d be able to mentally write my Christmas list.
When I arrive at Six Senses Spa at Sharq Village I’m in a foul mood as the traffic has been a nightmare. The meditation room is bathed in a blue hue and Walaa Al Muhaiteeb, the instructor, is just starting. Rather than feel the coolness normally associated with blue, I instantly feel warm, and we settle into a comfortable position to focus on breathing techniques. Using our fingers we concentrate on closing alternate nostrils and breathing out through our mouth, which works, as I’m forced to focus.
It’s not long before we start our twenty-minute meditation session. The thought of sitting still for that long, with just my thoughts, is actually quite disconcerting. However, Walaa’s melodic voice soon helps me to relax. She encourages us to really ‘feel’ the colour blue, to ‘imagine’ ourselves as blue; I determinedly push the thought of me as a smurf from my mind, and begin to relax.
Walaa uses all the colours of the seven chakras in her classes and each has a different meaning. Blue is associated with self-expression, self-truth, purity and creativity and she makes us imagine blue raindrops. As blue is the ‘throat’ chakra we also imagine we are breathing in the blue light.
The time goes really quickly and Walaa slowly brings us round using white light. After some stretches and relaxation poses we come back to reality and I can’t believe that I feel so good. I expect cramp from sitting still, but all I feel is happy, and not at all blue (in the sad sense that is).
Walaa’s not surprised when we chat afterwards, ‘Some people come into my class with a face; their job or the traffic is crazy, then when they leave they are happy and relaxed, and that gives me a lot of pleasure,’ she says.
We agree that one problem we face in today’s society, is that we never switch off; that’s why it actually felt great to close my eyes and clear my mind, with no distractions. ‘Meditation is amazing because it slows you down and we don’t slow down these days - it helps us heal just by slowing us down,’ says Walaa.
Of course there are skeptics (not me now), and Walaa explains that’s why the lights help. ‘When I change the colour at the end of the class people feel different. Even if your eyes are closed you feel it, the change of atmosphere and energy.’
Colours evoke different reactions in us all and Walaa believes this is key in identifying inner issues. ‘People feel colours intuitively, when you have a strong negative reaction to a colour, it’s usually because you don’t want to deal with an issue that’s associated with it. Or when you are attracted to a colour, it means you really need it in your life.’
Walaa advocates daily meditation, although she encourages class participation too, as apparently the collaboration of energy is stronger.
‘I run these classes to empower people through meditation,’ she explains. ‘You can use it to help you be still, to release energies, and to bring it to your day when you are really stressed.’
Let’s be honest, we live in a country that’s not exactly a rainbow of colours. Walaa explains that’s one of the reasons she started these classes here. ‘My focus is bringing colour and spirituality into your life, so you don’t have to live in just plain white!’
There are several forms of meditation, but according to Walaa they all have the same objective. ‘The goal of all meditation is to bring us to the centre and slow us down. Whatever tool we use, they are different doors to the same room. Every person has a door, it’s just knowing which one works for you.’
I really enjoyed my session of colour meditation and Walaa advises that as a writer I should have something blue on my desk, to discourage writer’s block and encourage creativity. So this year, I’ll be hoping for a blue Christmas.
For more information contact Six Senses Spa at Sharq Village & Spa (4425 6666), or visit ‘The Color Recipe’ page on Facebook.
Three more to try
Six Senses Spa also offer meditation classes that focus on traditional yogic meditation with pranayama. ‘Prana’ means life breath and ‘yama’ means control. These classes focus on controlling our breathing in order to control our thoughts.
Classes are with Soumya at Six Senses Spa, Sharq Village & Spa, Khulaifat (4425 6666).
Yama Yoga Studios have a series of ‘wellbeing’ courses, including an Introduction to Meditation. This course teaches participants basic meditation techniques that they can incorporate immediately into their daily routine in order to reduce stress, improve their sleep patterns, and increase concentration and creativity.
Classes are with Marjorie at Yama Yoga Studios, Asas Towers, West Bay (6617 5802).
Often yoga and meditation go hand in hand. The Ritz-Carlton Fitness Centre offer Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga, where breath and movement are connected and coordinated, this not only strengthens and aligns the body, but also the mind.
Classes are with Ravi at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8000).