Close your eyes and picture your perfect setting for peace, comfort, coziness, and ease. The scene varies from person to person. For many of us, the scenario includes people we love. There might be warmth from the sun or a fireplace. Certain food or drink might be involved.
The Danes have this scenario down to a science. They call it hygge. Pronounced "hoo-gah", many credit it as one of the big reasons that Denmark consistently rates among the happiest countries in the world. I'm intrigued by the concept and am reading up on it in The Little Book of Hygge. Its author Meik Wiking (also CEO of Copenhagen's Happiness Research Institute) refers to hygge as "the art of creating intimacy," "the absence of annoyance," and my personal favorite, "coziness of the soul."
That last one hits home for me, because it is exactly how I would describe the effects of a consistent personal yoga practice. People practice yoga for different reasons, and I practice for several reasons. However, that coziness of the soul definition is the circumference around all of the reasons I practice.
Yoga can make us feel more physically comfortable in our bodies. I can sit, stand, and move with greater ease when I practice regularly. I feel like my body is something powerful and a tool to help me accomplish my goals.
Yoga gives one a feeling of lightness. It's not as if I walk around surrounded by rainbows and blooming flowers, but I find that regular yoga better enables me to access that little space inside where I cultivate peace and happiness during my practice whenever I need it. I am less anxious and feel more joy with regular practice. And funny about the lightness is that good lighting is one of the big pieces of hygge. The Danes love their lighting and their candles. I agree. It's just a softer and prettier way to view the space around us.
I'm really working on maintaining a daily yoga practice. So far, so good for the last three weeks or so. Some days, rather than taking a yoga class (rare lately) or doing a home practice, yoga happens with my students in yoga classes. Other days, it's a yoga-inspired running warm up. Occasionally, I only take 5 minutes of sitting still and breathing mindfully. It's all yoga, and it all counts toward the good stuff that yoga does for me.
Pretty soon, a little yoga sequence will appear each week in this space with the blog. I hope that it will bring you hygge and inspire a regular practice. I am convinced that yoga can enrich every person's life. I'm here to help you get started.
Peace and Light,