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I’ve written before on how I think knitting and yoga are related. How the meditative nature of knitting helps reduce stress. Well I was reminded of this when I started knitting a new project. It was a small kerchief scarf. The pattern basically has you repeating the same stitch over and over again until you run out of yarn. It is a very simple project and the repetitive meditative nature is clear.
As I was knitting to stay focused and keep my stitches even my mantra was my pattern. “knit, knit, knit, knit” and so on. Every so often I would check that I wasn’t slouching and that my breathing was steady. It is easy to get caught up in a project and forget to take care of your posture, but like any repetitive motion you need to be mindful of your movements to not cause injury. When you spend hours in a row knitting it can cause your hands to cramp if you are gripping the yarn and needles too tightly. I find that taking periodic breaks to do minor stretches and take a few deep breaths help me out. As you become a more experienced knitter that just becomes part of the knitting – being balanced with your breath and you move through the project.
If you are not a knitter, but want to start, I recommend first making something simple like this scarf, because the chunky yarn knits up quickly and you will have a finished product within hours. (email me for pattern: firstname.lastname@example.org) Or if you want to learn to meditate, but are unable to “just sit there”, knitting is a great way to be introduced to the idea of a one pointed focus and sitting still.
Using a super chunky yarn does make a project knit up faster, but I also love using a thick yarn because of the texture. It highlights the stitches so much more and is super cozy. In the fall and winter I love nothing more than a super thick chunky knit scarf or poncho to keep me cozy.
Live Light Practice: No matter if you are knitting or sitting writing an email pause and check in with your posture and breath. See if you can keep the breath deep and steady. Also, see if you can keep a tall spine so you are not slouching forward.
Some days just go in slow motion. I started my home practice today and realized it was going to be a mellow day. My mind was racing, but my body was moving slow.
To quiet my mind and move towards a state of being where my body and mind were connected I did practices that had my head below my heart and sometimes my forehead connected to the earth. By grounding my forehead I started to notice the slowing down of my thoughts.
In this child’s pose (picture on the left) I put my hands between my heels and butt so that it was a softer pose. I let my muscles relax and gravity do its thing. Soon after getting into the pose I felt more balanced. By having my head connected to the floor, my hands and legs joined, I was able to breath deeply and coax my body and mind to a similar slow rhythm.
I began and ended my practice with this cuddly child’s pose. Feel like you are having a mellow day? Try it out.
Live Light Practice:
Take a child’s pose where you feel fully supported. That might mean a block under your forehead and blankets behind your knees. Take time to set it up so you can rest there for about three minutes.
I Choose My Own Adventure
Using a daily mantra or intention is a powerful way to live authentically. When making decisions throughout your day always keeping the mantra in mind.
This week I have been using the mantra ‘I choose my own adventure”. So before making any decisions – from what I am going to eat, to the style yoga class I am going to take – I think ‘I choose my own adventure’. It is a playful way to remind yourself that you are in control of your happiness and that it is the small stuff that builds up to the bigger picture of your life.
If you are pondering bigger life decisions like what job to take or masters program to go into, the same principle applies. Before making a choice you use your mantra to help you. Think of those storybooks when you were a kid that gave you the option of picking the ending to read.
By choosing your own adventure you are not being pushed around by life, but writing your own story. You get to choose your happiness and how you get there.
Live Light Practice:
For one day use “I choose my own adventure” as your mantra. No matter if it is choosing the route to work, or the afternoon snack you have. Look at each choice as an adventure along your path of life.
One thing that scares you
I am sure you have heard the saying before “try one thing a day that scares you”. By following this guidance it can help us to move beyond our comfort zone to a point where we can grow and do things we didn’t know we could before. Challenging ourselves and pushing our limits gives us a chance to change. Trying to do one thing a day that scares you is a way to do that.
When faced with a fear we can cower away from it or forge through it. Being fearless doesn’t necessarily mean you have no fear, but that you act in spite of that fear.
In this photo I am doing a handstand on a 5 ft high rock wall. Although I am not afraid of handstands, I was nervous to be trying them so high up with limited space for error. It was exhilarating and forced me to stay very focused on my control while upside down. It was a mindful practice that challenged me physically and mentally.
Live Light Practice:
Do one thing today that scares you. It can be anything from talking to a stranger to trying a cartwheel! Have fun with it and see how you feel after.