Key to Happiness: Hygge Manifesto

“Danes are the happiest people in Europe according to the European Social Survey” (The Little Book of Hygge). Denmark is also known as one of the happiest countries in the world.  Why?  Hygge (pronounced   hoo-ga)

This month, I am on the journey of hyggestund – A moment of hygge- ‘well-being’ and happiness.  I plan on incorporating the 10 ideas of hygge in my life this month as I pursue a month of gratitude and savoring the simple pleasures in life.  In short, I plan on finding the happy. First, I must get my environment and mindset ready for a month of COZY!

1. Atmosphere

turn down the lights

use natural lighting (fireplace, windows, let the natural light in)

Use dim lighting (candles, lamps)

2. Presence

meditation of mindfulness

turning off my phone alarms

3. Be kind to yourself- give yourself a treat and give yourself a break

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Sun Salutation A

4. ‘We’ over ‘me’

Sharing tasks – cooking, laundry, cleaning

5. Gratitude 

show it to your tribe, co-workers, challengers, and self

say ‘Thank you’

Smile

journal

6. Harmony 

finding balance in your physical and mental health

find your Sparkle

Do everything with Passion

7. comfort

cozy blanket

warm bath

music

yoga pants

8. truce

End the fighting within yourself

leave the negative, the drama, and the hostility

9. Togetherness

Focus on your village, your tribe

Find time to build relationships, connect, and be together

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 reading nook

10. Nook- hyggekrog 

comfy space

So, my plan is to spend time outdoors gardening, hanging-out with my village, evenings with my family, Sundays working together on chores, and reading in my nook. I plan to Continue my yoga practice.

I am also going to start a macramé wall art project and prepare for an evening with my friends- outdoor fire, BBQ, TREATS, and being together.

All of this in the hopes to bring together all of my favorite things into 1 month of gratitude, well being, and HYGGE!

I hope you follow me on my journey this month. Please send me pictures of your HYGGE on Instagram. 

@omnivore2herbivore #hyggelife

Yoga for Better Sleep

A daily mindful yoga practice has many benefits. Some of these include improved flexibility, stress levels, strength, weight loss, and boost your immune system. One of the benefits I have already noticed in just 12 days of my daily yoga practice is better sleep.

I am sleeping harder,

I am falling asleep quicker,

and staying in Deep REM (at least according to my Fitbit).

I know I shouldn’t brag because I live with an insomniac, (here is a link for 10 more habits that can help with your insomnia) and when I talk about my sleep quality he just gets angry.  I don’t blame him because sleep is crucial, and it can, seriously, make or break your world.

Side Note: Deep REM (also known as NREM) heals wounds, aids in the creation of white blood cells, restores muscles, and releases growth hormones.  Most importantly, it reduces your blood pressure, decreases stress levels, helps maintain good weight and helps with your immune system.  Needless to say, sleeping, falling asleep and quality sleep is vital for a quality life.

If you are someone who struggles with winding down or distressing after a difficult day… Yoga is the answer. Not any kind of yoga, Mindful yoga that focuses on the breath with long holds in each pose- Yin Yoga, Restorative and Nidra Yoga (more of a meditative practice) is best for sleep. Here are 7 Bedtime Yoga Routines to view if you are interested in more verbal ques.

 

CaptureBefore I go to bed, I roll out my mat, light up my incense, lower the lights and turn on soft music or my aaptive app.  Each pose is held about 20 seconds or 3 breaths (inhale to the count of six, exhale to the count of six) focusing on my stomach lifting and lowering. The practice is relies on the mindfulness of the breath and being in the moment.

or

Complete the Sun Salutation Flow from last weeks post

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After a warm cup of herbal tea, I have no problems falling asleep.

I hope that this is helping you on your journey of a more quality life- #intentions. If you are on Instgram, post your yoga pose or practice with the  #intentions and @omnivore2herbivore. I would love to see you.

Namaste

 

Sun Salutation – The Secret Weapon of Yoga

Rolling out the yoga mat has been a weekly goal for me, but in just four days I have managed to change it from a goal to a daily desire. I already look forward to my time on the mat because of its ability to increase serotonin levels, its ability to relax, slow my breath and focus my attention on the present. All, of which, help with both anxiety and depression – two things I have been struggling with this year.

There are over 38 benefits of a daily yoga practice (and depending on the resource, there could be up to 50).  My go to flow has been Sun Salutation A- and if you ever enter a yoga studio, this is the one that you should go in being a little familiar with.

5543394F-969F-4599-8B9F-47DBDE90F4DFAs you can see, I am not a perfect Yogini. I have a lot of work to do in the flexibility department- my legs are NOT straight in forward fold, my heels don’t even come close to the mat on the downward facing dog, and my knees never get straight on the halfway lift. This doesn’t stop me from practicing.  I enjoy the control, the focus and the breath during the practice, and I look forward to how this flow makes everything feel after just 25 minutes.

A yoga practice has so many health benefits.

yoga-benefits This Sun Salutation A is most beneficial for…

Weight Loss– specifically for the core– as the yogi moves through the plank pose, the core is activated.

Improved Digestion– The flow allows for a deep massage through the digestive system to stimulate and remove waste from the body.

Good for the heart- This practice increases the heart beat and the circulatory system. The body receives fresh oxygen and encourages the lymphatic system to work more efficiently to combat germs, bacteria and illness. Any yoga practice also lowers blood pressure and blood sugar.

Improves Lung function– By focusing on the breath and movement together it allows the body to optimize the function of the lungs. By completely empting the lungs, the brain gets fresh oxygen which provides more energy.

Smooth kidney function-Moving from one position to the next massages the kidneys in a way that increases their supply of blood.

loosens muscles– Humans are notorious for lower back problems. By moving from a forward fold to a core strengthening pose (plank) allows the hamstrings to not only become more flexible but the core to strengthen, which is our #1 reason for back problems.

enhances skin and hair health– The forward fold allows blood to the brain and circulates to the scalp.

Good for your joints- all that circulation lubricates those joints, plus yoga doesn’t pound the pavement like a run does.  This is an exercise that can be done forever.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety- The focus on the breath-movement connection allows for the yogi to be present and mindful during the practice.  The deep, shallow breaths slow the heart rate and stressors.  

If this flow is done quickly, it can provide a good cardiovascular workout.

If completed slowly, the postures can tone and relax the system. 

Regular practice can provide the above benefits. 

Sun Salutation can be done as a warm-up to the main postures of your practice. 

This flow of ‘asanas’ or postures is very portable and can be completed anywhere you have space.

The week, I challenge you to roll out your mat (anywhere) and try to experiment with Sun Salutation A. 

Take a few flows slowlyuntitled

Take a few flows quickly

Breathe

Focus and pay attention to how you feel.

 

Lean in- Yoga Intention

With March’s intention beginning tomorrow, I wanted to send out some resources and tips before our journey begins.

Yoga is the connection of breathing and movement and the mindful, inward attention.  I challenge you to begin your practice with 1 hour a week.  You will see the benefits of your practice within that first week, and you will start to naturally add on to your practice looking forward to your time on the mat.  You do not need to be an expert or have had the experience of yoga classes prior to beginning this intention. You just need to have an open mind to practice every single day for the next 31 days.

Throughout this month I will refer to a few essential items that will be getting me through my intention.

  1. Wanderlust by Jeff Krasno- This book provides the yogi/yogini with a unique way of understanding the practice of yoga.  With instructional ideas, music playlists, recipes, healthy food options, beautiful art/photos, and thought provoking ideas I can’t wait to dive in.IMG_2893

2. My mat, laptop, phone– I plan on my practice being done at home, for the most part. I thmay venture out and take a summits yoga class every now and then. But my phone- My Aaptive app will be guiding a lot of my practices. (Cost/month is 9.99 or a year for 59.99) Worth the cost, if you are looking for a year of coaching workouts, meditations, and guidance. along with youtube videos

 

3. YouTube videos– As I am practicing at home, I plan on using some yoga videos that have great reviews, a  lot of followers, and some ‘down to earth’ blog posts.

yogabycandance  – her website will give you options for your 30 day challenge, healthy recipes, a great blog, and a modern way of looking at yoga.

Yogawithadrienne- this is very similar to the previous link, but she also has an app that can be downloaded (recommended by a friend)- the reviews show that this may be best for beginner yogis.

Both of these yoginis have great YouTube videos. 

4. Yoga Dice411ycCyyIkL._AC_UL436_I purchased these on a whim, but I am so glad I did. Each block focuses on a different chakra, and as you shake and dump the wooden cubes out they generate a variety of yoga practices for practitioners of all levels.  ($15.00 on amazon)

86843aa6e07276d30d74c767603b38c5This month, my intention is not on how YOGA makes me look but, rather,  how YOGA makes me feel. Rachel Scott has a great blog about what yoga can do for you internally, and I recommend this become your mindset for the practice this month.

I also encourage you to dedicate 10 minutes a day for the first week and then start adding on time as you start becoming more comfortable. I have also been to a lot of classes where the music can make or break a class. If you don’t need to ‘hear’ the yoga cues, go ahead and blast your own music.

The most important part of our practice is consistency, BREATHING into the movements, and being nonjudgmental for 31 days. Progress, NOT perfection.

Lean in to the practice. It may be boring, it may even be difficult, BUT lean in to that discomfort because it is all about mental self-care. There are so many benefits to a consistent yoga practice. Go ahead and lean in.

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