As much as I love a bit of summer sun, I am so excited for cold weather. Every morning that I wake up to blue skies and a crisp atmosphere I can’t help but feel happy. If you’re a summer person through and through, this might sound strange but I adore the cosiness of autumn and winter, even if the inevitable British wind and rain (or even storm!) is somewhat less pleasant. As the landscape starts to turn orange and everything starts being flavoured with pumpkin spice, being cosy becomes a lifestyle. Hygge was so much of a buzzword last year that it almost became cliche. However, I am more than happy to see it still going strong this year and am ready to embrace it once again. This year I’ll be taking the concept into my yoga practice to invite some softness to my mat. Whilst Danish lifestyle and eastern yogic tradition may not seem to be natural partners, I think they work beautifully in tandem.
Especially if you’re a morning practicer, there’s nothing worse than stripping down to stretch on a cold floor. Bring in some hygge yoga by layering up at the start of practice or being in a warm room. If you go to classes in town halls rather than purpose-built studios, you may be practicing in a draft space. Long tops and jumpers can be removed as you get flowing, but they make those first few sun salutations so much easier. Although vinyasa-style movements are designed to warm you up, appropriate clothing will help avoid over-stretching of cold muscles. Alternatively, move your mat closer to the fire at home. Forrest yoga classes are actually practiced at 25 degrees as standard, bridging the gap between standard yoga classes and hot, which can be too much for many practitioners.
If you were to buy one hyggeligt item, it would have to be a candle. Reportedly, the Danish are the biggest consumers of candles. Lighting the room of your yoga or meditation with a candle gives a sense of ceremony and importance to your practice, as well as creating a soft, ambient light. Oil burners and diffusers are another option if scent is your focus, or an electric candle if you’re more concerned about light. I have all sorts dotted around my room; a lotus shaped tea light holder; a salt lamp with a shavasana blend candle inside; a rich, wintery scented candle. All of these add a sense of calm, cosiness into my room and to my yoga practice.
If ever you have considered adding slow, or yin yoga into your practice, now is the time. I can’t think of a better way to describe hygge yoga than yin. Sign up to a block of yin classes at your local studio, or see what YouTube has to offer. I’m a vinyasa girl first and foremost, but taking the time out for a slower yoga practice feels amazing. Taking a restorative or yin class (see here to understand the difference between the two) can help to remove the fitness element of yoga, leaving you free to listen to your body and move gently to where it wants to be.