My three winters in Copenhagen taught me the true value of hygge for coping with the long winter nights. A pop culture buzzword a few years ago, the Danish concept of hygge is hard to translate—despite many books valiantly making the attempt. The literal rendering of the word is being cosy, but the Danes embrace hygge as much more than woolly sweaters and an Instagramable wood fire. It’s about creating a sense of happiness and belonging, feeling content and safe and comfortable.Continue reading “The season of hygge”
Copenhagen’s winter nights are long, dark, and often rain-soaked, which makes this the perfect season for cozy yoga classes!
Join me for Tuesday evening restorative yoga classes and the incredibly hygge Ground Yoga + Økotea in Østerbro. Classes start at 19.00 and are 75 minutes of very supported, super relaxing poses like gentle twists, soft backbends and soothing forward folds. It’s normal to do only four or five poses in a 75 minute restorative yoga class because they’re are held for up to 25 luxurious minutes!
I’m also teaching a regular yin yoga class at Ground on Sundays at 10.00. Yin is not quite as slow as restorative yoga and it’s a wonderful complement to the rest of our yang (simply meaning active) lives. It’s also a great way to cope with a bit of a hangover!
Confirm that you’re coming to classes at Ground on the studio’s Facebook page.
I also teach periodic yin yoga and mindfulness meditation classes at Hot Yoga Østerbro on Nordre Frihavnsgade. Rest assured the classes are not sweaty, just warm! I generally teach on Thursday evenings or Saturday/Sunday afternoons.
Check out my schedule for up-to-the-minute details of when and where I’m teaching.
In the long, dark days of February, it’s worth remembering that we can create our own light. The greyness in Copenhagen is sometimes oppressive (the clouds hang so low!), but we can tap into our inner light and allow it to illuminate our outer worlds.
“Your inner light lights up your outer world.”
~ Matshona Dhliwayo
Canadian-based philosopher, entrepreneur and author
Thankfully, the days are starting to get longer and the promise of Spring is creeping closer! And, even more thankfully, I have the joys of chatting with family, teaching yoga, spending time with friends, walking the dog, enjoying food and drink, practicing yoga and loving my husband to fuel my internal light until the Earth’s rotation around the Sun brings on more daylight!
We’ve been in Calgary for about a week and a half and are starting to adjust to the dry climate, cold temperatures, and bright sunshine. The windchill can be harsh, but actually seeing the sun in the winter (unlike the typically grey skies in Vancouver or Berlin) offsets at least some of the wintry pain. Sofie’s enjoyment of the deep snow also makes the winter weather more bearable!
Despite being shorter than the drifts, Sofie loves running through the snow – snuffling and sniffing as she goes. She usually winds up with a very icy beard and frequently needs some thawing time after we get back inside. At least she’s consented to wearing booties to ward off the worst of the cold, prevent ice balls forming on her feet, and protect her paw pads from the salt and other chemicals used to melt the ice on sidewalks and driveways.
She was baffled by the booties initially and it was hilarious watching her trying to lift up all four paws at once in protest, but after a few minutes Sofie figured them out and now lets us put them on without a fight.
Sofie’s proven herself to be pretty adaptable and has very much made herself comfortable… an inspiration to my and my husband!
Staying with my sister-in-law and her family has certainly helped with feeling like we belong. They’ve made us feel incredibly welcome and comfortable – even though we’re still half living out of duffle bags!
We’re both looking forward to really settling in – renting an apartment we’ll be in for longer than a few months, finding jobs, developing our hobbies (cycling, squash, and German lessons for him; yoga, volunteering, and a better command of French for me) and learning about our new city.
If you have any tips for Calgary, please let me know!
Instead of returning to beautiful Vancouver or taking on Canada’s biggest metropolis (Toronto), we’re going to mix familiar and foreign (although far less foreign than Germany!) by settling in Calgary.
While neither of us have lived in Calgary before, my husband’s sister and her family live there and much of their extended family is in the province. We both lived in Edmonton (a 2 1/2 hour drive north) when we met and I’ve lived through four Albertan winters (my Northern-born husband has been through many more!), which is proof that I can survive -40º Celsius temperatures, deep snow drifts, and blinding mid-winter sun.
Mannheim is trying to help us get ready for Calgary’s winters by sending us off with snow. We woke to a wonderland of the white stuff, which made Sofie super happy. She loves the snow… and I suspect there will be lots of it waiting for us in Calgary!
The darkest day of the year is almost here and it certainly feels like the depths of winter in Berlin. The sun sets early and whatever rays are able to peek through the clouds are weak. It feels like time to hibernate.
Gloria Latham (founder of Semperviva Yoga in Vancouver) posted recently that It’s Dark for a Reason and I’m inclined to agree. In addition to the long nights encouraging long sleep-ins, cuddles with loved ones, and carbohydrate consumption, the darkness is also conducive to reflection, reading and writing, and generally taking stock.
Winter prods us to look inwards as we spend time indoors. And with any luck, that introspection leads to inspiration for the year to come!
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
~ Pietro Aretino
Italian author, playwright, poet, and satirist
Music that captures the seasonal spirit and works as a soundtrack to a yoga practice. Take a look at the Listen page for a full list of songs that are great for a yoga practice and at the Meditate page for meditation music I recommend. Click on the iTunes button to purchase a specific song.