Fika: A New Practice of Connection from Sweden

Fika is one of those things that must find it way into our lives!

Wanna fika with me? 

This past April I had the crazy cool opportunity to represent Cleveland at the Lululemon Ambassador Summit in Whistler, British Columbia. It was a magical 4 days that I will never forget.  

One of the best parts to the summit was the new friends I met from all over the world. On a chilly run through the woods, I connected on a run with another yoga teacher, Anna Hultman from Sweden. Over the course of our run she shared the most beautiful practice with me that is habitual in her native Sweden. In Anna's words...

Fika is the habit of two (or sometimes more) friends (or acquaintances) get together over coffee or tea to talk about what’s going on in their lives. A fika is casual and can happen at home as in “why don’t you come over so we can have a fika" or “one of these days, you should come over for a fika”. Or, perhaps more often these days, in a café or a coffee shop. If you have a fika with a casual acquaintance, it’s often to find out if there’s more to this relationship (perhaps you’re going to do a project together - you would very likely start with a fika) and then you would meet outside of home.

A fika always involves catching up; a fika can start light and depending on the circumstances turn into a deep, meaningful talk. A fika may sound superficial (just having coffee together) but it often involves a heart-to-heart talk. A fika is not a place to talk business  although you may talk about what makes you happy or not about your job.

In this health conscious world fika could be a smoothie but more often it’s a hot beverage (this is Sweden, after all) and something sweet like a cinnamon bun, a cookie, a slice of pie or possibly something like a sandwich. Fika is only very rarely cooked food and then only taken in a café or coffee shop. Fika can NOT happen in a restaurant.

In Sweden, I have fika with friends or my mom several times a week so it can be quick, 20-30 minutes - or the ultimate luxury longer than that. Sometimes we bring the kids so they can play while we catch up.

Often, fika is also associated with other activities like “let’s go to yoga and then we can go for a fika afterwards”.

Also interesting to know may be that a “fika break" is a “workers right” in Sweden. Many blue collar jobs (and although not enforced by law to the same extent, also white collar jobs) have “morning fika” and “afternoon fika,” a time where colleagues (and often the boss) gather for 10-15 minutes to talk about what’s going on, rejuvenating, clearing their heads and bonding among colleagues over coffee and sweets. Often, someone has brought a homemade cake or cookies for all to share. If someone has their birthday , people will sing, there will be cake etc. The thinking here is that people will be more efficient if they: 

  • Get a break to clear their heads, to think in new ways 
  • Know their colleagues - both professionally and personally - better 
  • Get an informal opportunity to share knowledge across departments and projects

I left our run feeling uplifted by Anna's warm, contagious energy and for her willingness to share this beautiful practice with me.  I reached out to her later and and asked if she could share with me her practice.  Connect, share, give.  Nothing better!


About Anna:

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I am originally from Sweden but Has had the blessing of living in France, Spain, the US (Miami and NY) and right now I am in Singapore with my family (husband and two kids). I teach yoga full time and is fortunate enough to travel the world doing it. My favourite way to relax and kick back is a fika (mine is always a green tea - or a decaf oat milk cappuccino) with close friends, catching up, sharing both the most superficial as well as the most intimate details of our busy lives.  

 

Follow her on IG: @annahultman_yoga