December arrived. As frost decorates our windows in the soft morning light, we slow down and turn inward for warmth.
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish sensibility of acknowledging a moment or feeling as being charming and cozy in it’s simplicity. It brings a essence of the extraordinary to the ordinary. It is the ability to be present, to appreciate, to enjoy with conscious awareness. It is an easy contentment. It creates intimacy, not only with yourself but with your environment, and those around you.
There is no one word that serves as an English translation for hygge – which it was makes it so enchanting to us. In Dutch it is known as “gezellig”, in Swedish “mysa” and in German “Gemütlich” and “Heimlich”.
The word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy” It is associated with the origins of the word for hug – which means to comfort, the word hugr which means mood, and the Germanic word hycgan which mean to think and consider.
In yogic philosophy hygge would be most closely known as samtosha – modesty and a feeling of being content with what we have, to accept what happens and be OK with the outcome. It is not a verb or a noun – but a portal into authentic and precious happiness. It arrives from the inside out as a state of inner peace. The Danish hygge takes this to the next level, allowing for feelings of comfort to arrive with this inner light.
The yoga practice that best inspires hygge is Restorative yoga – a practice that invites us to lean into the simple beauty of the moment, to be present with a quiet, content heart, and be hugged by blankets, bolsters, cushions and soft light.
It is lighting a candle on a rainy morning. It is a cup of tea in your favorite mug. It is a cozy corner of your house where the light is just right. It is the quiet after a snow fall. It is clearing away clutter and appreciating the view. It is friends gathering in your kitchen for no special reason. It is the scent of lavender on your sheets. The smell of coffee filling the house before you wake. It is the soft flutter of curtains breezing through an open window. It is the quiet space you step into when you pause and pay attention to something familiar.
Hygge has Scandinavian texture, mood, and light inspired by the long and dark winters, and a yogic sensibility that reminds us to be acknowledge that we are all part of one miraculous and beautiful tapestry.