To ski takes a certain amount of balance. But that purely physical state of non-teetering equilibrium isn’t all that interests Aspen/Snowmass Diamond Pro Ski instructor Jacqui Forster, when she gathers her students atop a slope on a bitterly cold winter day. Instead, she’s conjuring soul magic. “Before we start, I want everyone to breathe deeply and take a look around. See where you are,” she says. “Look at the colors.”
An Australian who has been in Aspen for a decade, Forster begins every lesson with an ode to being present. Believing that every athletic endeavor, not to mention every human act, should emerge from a place deep within, she urges students to employ more than their quads when S-turning down the mountain. “Root in,” she says. “Feel your connection to the earth; be aware of that fire in your belly. Visualize your power. See it.” We close our eyes and colors flit beneath our eyelids.
This is what Forster is after. An Aura-Soma practitioner, Forster believes our connection to color revitalizes, empowers and informs us. A trained therapist in this color therapy system—as was her mother—she understands that color vibrates on a separate frequency. She explains that color has its own energy, and that its varying hues derive from light. According to Aura-Soma (as in both Chromotherapy and Ayurveda) color plays an integral part in the practice. Historically and symbolically, colors correlate to certain aspirations, traits or states of being. Like a mirror to our soul, they can be metaphor. Yellow, for example, can signify wisdom, red could evoke vitality, green might connote the vastness and beauty of nature. There are no right answers. It’s all about you. But, in a good way.
On the mountain with Forster, after one brief meditation, the colors encircle us like a magic spell. Even in the middle of a chilly storm with the atmosphere awash in white, they speak to us—if we let them. Under her ministrations, our intuition takes over and we descend with a focused gusto that seems both joyful and harmonious, in what she calls “a nurturing, protective bubble,” a sort of blanket of soulfulness. “Color affects our energy,” says Forster. “When we choose colors, we choose from our soul level. We take what we need and it reflects back to us.”
Aura-Soma, founded by Vicky Wall in 1984, draws from a variety of ancient practices: color energy, aromatherapy, and herbal healing. Not many spas in the US offer Aura- Soma, but at Mii Amo in Sedona, practitioner Bhakta Ruttiger leads the program, and has been a color guide at this world-renowned destination spa since 1992.
Amid the otherworldly red rocks of the region, in a locale known for its energy vortex, I experienced Ruttiger’s ministrations. The reading involved instinctively choosing four bottles of brightly colored oil from more than 100 on a shelf. I discovered each bottle augured a life lesson, provoked a question or served as a marker for a path yet unexplored. In Aura-Soma, bottles comprise two juxtaposed colors, mixed with herb -infused oils and a small amount of water. They appear like enchanted potions, as lovely to look at as to smell. That day, I was most moved by a duet of regal purple and pumpkin orange. I took it home and, following directions, rubbed it gingerly on my skin, using it to completion over a period of a month or so. My cares unraveled.
I think of that today, with Forster on the mountain. In the snowflakes I see a flurry of purple; in the slivers of light from the sun, I note a dappling of lime green; in my belly the fire burns brightly orange. I am awake and alive and anything can happen.