Mindfulness is a skill that we can all benefit from. This section will provide you a brief explanation of what mindfulness is, and how we can use knitting to help cut out the stresses and strains of everyday life using rhythmic and repetitive movements with a beautiful textured yarn.
Do you look forward to picking up your knitting and crochet whilst doing other tasks? I always have to create that peace, the space where I can totally relax and concentrate, without the niggles of a washing machine to empty, or a letter to post etc.
Here is a simple exercise to help to create that precious “space”:
3 minute breathing space
Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately adopting a dignified posture. Imagine that a silk strand from the top of your head is gently pulling you to be as tall as possible as you sit. If possible, close your eyes and consider – “What am I experiencing …in thoughts … in feelings … and in physical sensations”
Gently redirect your full attention to breathing, to each inhalation and to each exhalation, as they follow, one after the other.
Expand the focus of your attention on your breathing, so that you become aware of your body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression.
Take a deep breath, relax and commence your knitting or crochet.
This exercise will help to develop mindful practice.
Just 3 minutes a day will help to prepare you for subsequent exercises that will include your craft as you practice mindfulness.
Exercise 2: Mindfully Knitting in Normandy
On my first day in France, I was sitting in the grounds of the Chateau where we were staying in our caravan. I felt inspired to do a mindful exercise as I knit.
Becoming mindful takes practice. Usually I knit as though I have a deadline – as fast as I can! I am enthusiastic about my project and want to get it finished. This is unless I am doing fairisle or colourwork, and then I have to take my time!
This breathing space of two and a half weeks has provided me with plenty of time…
Take a moment to consider your environment, sitting in a comfortable chair under a beech tree allows me shade with the benefits of a gentle breeze. Trees rustle in the distance as the breeze gathers and proceeds towards me. The breeze varies, at times in different strengths, directions and frequency…
Are you sitting outside or indoors? You may choose to do this exercise as you commute.
Tune in and focus on what your senses can observe.
What can you hear? Is it a regular sound, is it a pleasant one? Notice it and listen for other sounds, consider sounds in the distance, consider sounds closer to you. Be aware of the varying tones, volumes and pitches of all of the noises…
What can you see? Appreciate the colours, textures and shades around you. Be aware of the impact of your “noticing”, allow yourself to acknowledge the emotions that your observations impart and then move on to textures.
What can you feel? Are your clothes comfortable against your skin? Are your feet exposed to the breeze or cocooned in soft woolly socks? Become aware of your body as it is supported where you sit. Consider the texture of your needles and wool as you knit or crochet. Move slowly as you work and consider the changes in tension on the fabric as you move along the row.
Take a moment to look at your project.
What emotion does it evoke – how does it make you feel?
Gently feel the knitted or crocheted fabric in your hands, pay attention to the sensations through your touch. It may be crunchy, silky, soft or bouncy, it may feel cool and smooth if you are working with cotton. Observe the colours and appearance of the finish of the fabric. Pay attention to the yarn in its’ skein or ball, so full of promise, creating a beautiful and unique project with your skills.
Consider your breathing.
Take a couple of minutes to focus on the movement of air, as it enters in through the nose, travelling to the back of the throat, and down into the bronchi, or large tubes going deep into the lungs. Focus on the breaths for 2 minutes and then slowly return your attention to your activity.
You may want to have a lovely refreshing drink.
My next mindful entry will be about focusing on the body considering posture, tension and explore how to look after ourselves so that we don’t do ourselves an injury!