Medknitation Part III: A Calmer Way of Life
Medknitating even works for people who have a more traditional meditation practice, like best-selling author and yarn expert Clara Parkes. “Every morning before I get up, I breathe in for, say, four seconds, hold that breath for about seven seconds, then slowly exhale for eight seconds. Sometimes when I begin I can’t hold my breath for that long, but after a few repetitions, it’s easy,” she says. “I try to do at least ten repetitions. I also do it if I’m in a plane going through turbulence, or if I’m nervous before giving a talk.”
But Clara also agrees that medknitation is a thing, and one that works. “The rhythmic, repetitive motion of knitting absolutely brings on a meditative state for me. The minute I sit down and assume the knitting posture, hands together, eyes cast downward, fingers performing the familiar motions, I can feel my body begin to relax. My mind shifts into a place of quiet calm and focus.”
How to Medknitate
Here’s how to get in a daily dose of relaxing, wellness-promoting medknitation:
1. Dial down distractions. Turn off the TV, music, or anything else that’s making noise, and silence your phone. If you’re using your phone as a timer, choose a soothing tone as the alarm and silence all other notifications. If you’re with friends, agree to work in silence for ten minutes.
2. Align your spine. If sitting, lengthen your spine by sitting up tall. Your body doesn’t have to be rigid; just make sure you’re not slumping. Allow elbows to be at your sides, and lower your chin enough to see your work. If standing or walking, choose a project light enough that it won’t weigh your hands and head down, or let it rest on a tabletop or in your bag.
3. Keep it simple. Choose an easy project, one where you don’t have to refer to a pattern for the duration of your medknitation. Counting is okay.
4. Be mindful. While knitting or crocheting, bring your awareness to your breathing . . . the way your body feels while sitting, standing, or walking . . . the feel of the yarn . . . the colors . . . any sounds. Let your focus be gentle but steady.
In yoga teacher training, I learned that when you explain what an exercise does for someone, they’re more enthusiastic about doing it, and they may even experience greater benefits because of the mind-body connection. You may have been knitting and crocheting very happily before, but now that you know your yarn work is a form of meditation, you can feel even better about it. And if you thought you couldn’t meditate before, congratulations—you’re a medknitation master!
Header Image: An impromptu mediation group, left to right: Victoria Hamilton, Mariana Zane, Ubaldo Feliciano, Knitty City owner Pearl Chin, me, and Daniel Casanova. | Suzan Colón is a yoga instructor and author who lives and knits in New York City.