With the Danish practice of ‘hygge’ growing in popularity here in the UK, we’ve put together our guide to creating the Great British Hygge.
Of course, no ‘hygge’ is complete without focusing on some quality ‘me’ time to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect. Meditation and mindfulness expert Chris James, who regularly shares meditation, yoga and nutrition tips with over 6,000 Twitter followers, kindly shared his tips on how to meditate as part of the perfect hygge:
Meditation tips for a perfect hygge
Find a good meditation teacher if you can
Do try to get along to a meditation class taught by an experienced practitioner; it can really help to learn in the company of others and also to ask questions and get direct answers from someone who knows the territory.
Best not to meditate on too full a stomach!
Before breakfast is good. If you’ve just eaten, your body is using its energy to digest your food: you are more likely to get sleepy in meditation after a heavy meal.
Be sensible about posture
Westerners, unless they’ve done a lot of yoga or are naturally not particularly flexible, generally can’t get into a lotus position at all let alone sit comfortably that way for 20 minutes. You don’t need to sit in full lotus to meditate! Kneeling on cushions or sitting on a chair is fine. Be as comfortable and upright as you can.
Make some clear time
Choose a time to meditate when you really do have a bit of undisturbed time and can relax, even if it’s just for five minutes! Turn off your mobile phone and close the door. Do what you can to make it possible to allow yourself to let go of being available to outside demands for a while and take an undisturbed space for yourself.
Warm up a little before, chill out a little after
Prepare to sit with some stretches for the hips and easing out of stiff shoulders, give a bit of kindly attention to any tense places. Finish meditating in time for a cup of tea or even just a minute’s gazing out of the window doing nothing, before you go on with your day’s activities.
Find a quiet place free from distraction
If you decide you’d like to meditate regularly at home, it can really help to sit in the same place in your home each time and to create a bit of a special atmosphere there, perhaps with a candle, some flowers and a picture that really inspires you.
Let go of expectations
Have faith in yourself and a sense of humour. There are all kinds of meditation experiences, just as there is a huge spectrum of human experience, from serene to grumpy, ecstatic to bored, blissfully clear to distracted. Don’t judge yourself as having ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditations. Being aware of whatever is going on is what counts.
Celebrate your progress!
Meditation is conducive and supportive of positive change in your life, but be gentle with yourself – you may just not get enlightened overnight. Some old habits die hard, but bringing awareness to them and cultivating an increasingly positive emotional attitude towards yourself, you can achieve great things for yourself. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…
Just as a correct diet enhances the body’s store of nutrition, correct breathing enhances the body’s vitality and promotes blood circulation. Regular deep breathing slows the action of the heart, reduces blood pressure, alleviates the symptoms of stress and anxiety and helps to relieve digestive problems. I practice Kapalabhati every morning for 10 minutes which helps to oxygenate body and mind. With my private clients, particularly those who suffer from stress (sometimes insomnia), I teach breathing techniques that stimulate the R&R response – Anuloma Ujjayi is a key technique for this.
Setting the scene
In terms of creating the right meditation scene, I would try to create your own Sadhana (place of spiritual practice) at home. This does not have to a large space, actually the size of a yoga mat!
How to meditate
You can designate just 2 minutes in the first week, graduate to 3, then 5 etc. Find a comfortable place to sit, on a chair or on the floor: allow the natural breath to settle. Bring your attention to the navel. Observe the gentle expansion of the breath on the inhalation; observe the contraction of the breath back towards the spine on the exhalation. Continue to observe the breath without forcing it at all. When the mind wonders, as it inevitably will, bring the mind back to the breath. Meditation occurs when the space in between your thoughts increases.
Tips all written and provided by Chris James
As a British manufacturer, we’re very proud of our roots and of what we achieve in this country. We’ve spent decades honing our skills and perfecting our water softener product, and we’ve grown our brand through a combination of home sales and exports to partners overseas.
We recognise that there is so much value in learning from other countries as well as our own, and hygge offered us the perfect opportunity to combine a foreign concept with home based values. That’s why we’ve put together this series of guides to creating the Great British Hygge.
If you’d like to learn more about Harveys as a brand, take a look at our about us page, where you’ll learn about our founder Harvey Bowden, our history and our future plans. You can find out more about our water softeners too, or book a demonstration to find out how soft water can contribute to an even more cosy British hygge.