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.
This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo from the blog Crochet Concupiscence. She discusses crochet for mindfulness in her book Crochet Saved My Life. Check out my review of Crochet Saved My Life.
Kathryn’s book has been a Huge Help in my life and I hope she is adequately rewarded. Of course, she has all the love and gratitude from all the folks she has helped. That, Shelley, is priceless.
Much love to both of you.
I have to admit, I can’t seem to get on the Yoga bandwagon. So many people love it, and I just can’t seem to see the appeal.
However, I do understand how relaxing knitting/crochet can be, and how sometimes the act is better than whatever it is you are making. There is wonderful comfort in that – that I don’t have to be a yoga junkie in order to use mindfulness in my life. It’s not the first time I’ve heard crochet/knitting/stitchery as a type of meditation, and I doubt it will be the last, just because it is so true.
I can’t get into the idea of yoga either, but i have been a believer of mindfulness.. just need to practice it! when i was going through a lot of health issues relating to a hyster and my mom’s death, i had to learn to meditate, to do breathing exercises and learn about mindfulness… it’s’ all about learning to focus on WHAT YOU ARE DOING and not what is all around you.. learning to keep your mind on one thing as opposed to many things is super hard for some of us (ADHD!) but it can be done… but it is truly a healthy way to lower blood pressure and improve ones health!
I do kundalini yoga most every day and have learned to love to meditate. I must admit that I didn’t like yoga until I got into my early 40s and started meditating mid 40s. It definitely takes practice but it so worth it! I shall check out the “Crochet saved my life”.
You were offering a crochet tool container you were giving away in December. How do we sign up for the give-a-way???
Do you mean this one?
There isn’t any way to sign up for giveaways… you have to read the blog and enter each one that comes up!
Great article; as a beginner to crochet, I will try these steps in my projects.
Again Thank You
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