calm mind, healthy body, happy life

Happy New Hygge! (hue-gah) – The Danish art of Happiness

What is hygge & how do you pronounce it?

A friend and student gave me this candle as a gift this Christmas and whilst practising yoga today on New Years Day in its scented golden glow I have reflected on the close parallels between Hygge and the effects of the ancient art of yoga and meditation. I hope you find this article by as interesting and heart warming as I do! Thank you Liz.

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.

Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Technology and modern day busy-ness has removed so many of us from ourselves, our homes and ordinary tasks, making them feel as though these things are chores, have no meaning/importance or are too time-consuming so they’re skipped or not enjoyed. It’s stopped us from being authentic and conscious of how we live and interact. Hygge is about celebrating reality and being present and transforming the ordinary into a moment to recognise instead.

Danes are often cited as the happiest nation in the world and for good reason – they make enjoyment a priority and take the time to celebrate/acknowledge simple, wonderful moments (like meals, visiting, being active or even just sitting by the beach) that nourish the soul. They find ways to incorporate hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension rather than a forced and stressful event. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or an evening meal can make a huge difference to one’s spirit. It’s an act that’s also enjoyed – and perhaps that’s what hygge really is. Acknowledging the moment instead of drudging through it.

By creating simple rituals without effort {such as brewing real tea with a little china cup every evening to stopping at the flower shop every week} the Danes see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not every drudgery to get away from. Hygge is about being present and recognizing (and enjoying) the moment.

Think of it as what “joie de vivre” is to the French; a lifestyle that can explain a table top to a dinner party to a charming house or a personal way of being. Basic, uncomplicated, un-exaggerated – Hygge!

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