Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”), according to The New Yorker, is a Danish word meaning coziness and comfort that encompasses a feeling of contentment or well-being. It is a feeling more than a word — it is the ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures and making the ordinary more meaningful, beautiful and special.
Hygge is a soothing lifestyle that is being adopted across the U.S. In 2016, hygge was among the finalists for the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. Within the same year, at least six books were published about hygge in the U.S. Since then, the word has entered into over 50 Instagram accounts, and countless pins on Pinterest.
Hygge is also growing in the yoga community. Similar to the art of Zen and meditation, hygge is about focusing on the moment. Yoga helps to keep the mind focused on breathing, stillness, and being present.
A local yoga teacher from Yoga in the Valley studio in Searcy, Kelly James, built her house with the idea of having a safe place for meditation, joy, comfort and a very hygge friendly lifestyle. James built her house within her yoga studio. Her home features a loft in the back of the studio with a spiraling staircase much like a treehouse, designed for meditation. She has cozy furniture, fireplaces, decorative water fountains, diffusers and music that encourage happy thoughts.
“Hygge is really a practice,” James said. “Just like yoga, it’s about living in the moment, and that is the main thing I try to do with my life.”
James said the breathing portion of her yoga practice is essential to feeling peace. The hygge lifestyle is about being present in the moment, according to James.
Senior Sarah Webb practices several aspects of the hygge lifestyle. Webb enjoys feeling the warmth and coziness of fireplaces, using diffusers to cleanse her room and lighting candles with her favorite scents as a calming mechanism.
“The thing I like most about the idea of a hygge lifestyle is that you’re free to be yourself,” Webb said. “It helps you get in the mindset of being present and capturing the moment, which really helps with my career in photography.”
According to The Seattle Times, Seattle is the country’s No. 1 hygge city, because of their love of books, coffee and fireplaces. Searcy local Genevive Lim is planning to move to Seattle with her husband in May. She and her husband have lived on the East Coast for the last 10 years, and they are excited to have more opportunities to experience the outdoors and hygge lifestyle there.
“I generally tend to think of hygge as a winter concept,” Lim said. “One core aspect of hygge is the idea that you want to spend lots of time outdoors/bring the outdoors in. “I think my favorite thing about hygge is that it’s a lifestyle that promotes appreciation of the outdoors, cultivation of a warm and comfortable atmosphere, and enjoyment of the home.”