If you’re a super-regular reader of this blog, you may know that I adore yoga. I love the physical difficulty paired with working on increasing my flexibility. But let me tell you. . . I’m not so good at the meditation & ‘quieting the mind’ part.
I’ve read about all of the great meditation research that’s going on: quieting your mind lowers blood pressure, gives you more energy and makes you smarter. But it’s hard!
So, when I read about an easy way to practice mindfulness using crochet. . . I knew I needed to share! I stumbled across the technique in Kathryn Vercillo’s Crochet Saved my Life… and guess what? Kathryn has been sweet enough to come over and share it with everyone!
Crocheting is Relaxing
A core reason that many of us crochet is because it helps us to relax. One of the reasons crochet is so relaxing is because it allows us to achieve mindfulness, the state of being in which we are fully immersed in the present moment.
This gives the mind a much-needed break from worries about the past and future, allowing the brain and body to both rejuvenate themselves.
More About Mindfulness
Mindfulness was originally an Eastern spiritual concept but has become widely used by psychologists and other professionals in the Western world. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is widely helpful for people dealing with a diverse array of situations ranging from every day stress to chronic debilitating illness.
Mindfulness just means that you let go of all of your worries, judgments and fears and focus on the fact that you are okay, right here, right now, in the present moment.
Why Practice Mindfulness?
It is not healthy for our minds to constantly chase down our thoughts about the past and future. Doing so often creates stress, worry and anxiety. This can lead to a stress response in the body that can have any number of physical symptoms including headaches, muscle pain, fatigue and high blood pressure.
The brain may also whirl wildly in what is called a “cycle of rumination”, which can be both a hallmark of and an exacerbation to mental illness including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Practicing mindfulness teaches the brain and body to relax. It brings peace and helps both prevent and alleviate myriad stress-related health problems.
Seven Crochet Steps to Mindfulness
Crocheters can practice mindfulness using this easy seven-step exercise:
- Select your favorite crochet hook and a really cozy easy-to-work-with yarn.
- Sit comfortably in a quiet space with your work.
- Begin to crochet a foundation chain, one slow loop at a time, counting each chain as you go. Do not allow yourself to think about anything except creating the chain.
- Focus on the details of creating the chain. Notice how the yarn feels against your skin. Pay attention to the detailed hues of the yarn and hook. See if you can mentally be aware of each micro-movement that makes the loop.
- Your mind will naturally begin to drift to thoughts of other things, like the bills that are due or a conversation you had earlier in the day. Each time that happens, frog the chain.
- Take a deep breath after frogging the chain and start over with chain one.
- Repeat the process until you are able to complete a full foundation chain of ten loops without having to frog it because of extraneous thoughts.
That’s it! You may only be able to get to four or five loops at first because your mind is running rampant. Be gentle with yourself and just keep practicing. As time goes on, you may be able to make longer chains of mindfulness. Do this regularly to infuse your life with the rest and relaxation that we each need and deserve.