In late autumn, a little idea to combine the Scandinavian concept of Hygge (meaning cosiness) and Yoga became a sell-out success. The founder of YOGADOO, Lucy Aston has traveled to Finland and Norway over the years and fell in love with Hygge-like living, she was inspired to create a whole new cosier way to practice Yoga by creating Hygge Yoga.
The word (pron: Hoo-gah) actually made it onto the Collins English Dictionary's list of words for 2016. Books about Hygge, Hygge recipes, and Hygge experts seem to be at every turn this winter, but in case you've missed it, it's a concept which describes as a feeling of comfort and contentment as well as indulging in all the good things and people in your life.
It focuses on making the ordinary, special or meaningful - savouring everyday activities such as a cup of tea or having dinner. It's about putting tech to one side and embracing simple pleasures such as lighting candles, wrapping yourself in a blanket or enjoying a piece of cake.
YOGADOO launched Hygge Yoga mini retreats at the luxury Combe Grove Hotel, just outside of Bath at the start of Bath. The half day retreats include a candlelit Hygge Yoga™ Vinyasa Flow yoga session which takes place in a beautiful glass-fronted studio, looking out on to trees and greenery. After your 90 minute practice, you’re gifted a pair of beautiful knitted, woollen socks to wear for your Savasana. Then you head to a beautiful, cosy room with a crackling log fire for a candlelit meditation, wrapped in a beautiful woollen blanket. Following the meditation you enjoy delicious, warming soup and bread, a hot drink and a piece of homemade cake.
There are eight Hygge Yoga mini retreat dates between December and March. The first event sold out within 24 hours of going on sale, the next three dates sold out within a week, and the final four dates have just the last few places remaining. You can book places here.
But why are Hygge and Yoga such natural bedfellows?
There are ten main yogic principles, and we've highlighted some which very much cross-over with the principles of Hygge:
- First up, one of the grounding principles of yoga is Non Violence (ahima), non violence or being peaceful. BKS Iyengar is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world describes ahimsa as having “a wider positive meaning – love.” So ahimsa is really about kindness and love to all beings, and love towards ourselves. Hygge is about taking time for ourselves, nurturing ourselves and our loved ones.
- Truthfulness (satya), Live in the truth. Basically, be honest with yourself and others. Hygge is about a complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming, being honest with yourself about what you want to spend your time doing, and who you want to be spending your time with.
- Wisdom (brahmacharia) Be centered in your inner happiness and peace. If you ask anyone from a Scandinavian country about Hygge they will tell you a Hygge-like moment is often silent. It's not about making small talk or polite conversation, it is about internally happy and at peace with yourself and the people you are with.
- Simplicity (aparigraha) Be moderate in external enjoyment and consumption. A spiritual person lives modestly outwardly and inwardly rich. Hygge is all about enjoying the simple pleasures in life. It's about lighting a candle, enjoying a country walk and brewing some fresh coffee.
- Contentment (santosha) Satisfied with what one has. Hygge is exactly this. The simple pleasures in life are enough.
Click here to book one of the remaining places on the Hygge Yoga mini retreat.
Founder of YOGADOO and creator of Hygge Yoga, Lucy Aston spoke to BBC Radio Bristol's Laura Rawlings all about Hygge Yoga on her Afternoon show on Tuesday 27th December.