Roving Reporter: 3 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness Through Spinning

Mindfulness is a word oft used in our modern day-to-day lives. To me, cultivating mindfulness is simply learning to be more present and aware. Many spinners take up a spindle or wheel as a source of quiet and peace in a busy life. For those of us who need an oasis, how can spinning yarn become practicing mindfulness?

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The newly renovated historic bar at the Inn loaded up with wool. Photos by Kate Larson

I’ve just returned the first Yarn+Yoga at the Hot Springs retreat. Held at Montana’s Boulder Hot Springs Inn, the weekend was a joyful gathering of new friends. We produced beautiful yarns, practiced restorative yoga, learned spinner-specific poses for every body, and laughed a lot. We’ve already begun planning next for year!

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Madeline of Fox and Spider Arts created a beautiful lock-spun skein between plunges in the hot springs.

In a quiet, safe space away from the noise of daily life, we can take a deep breath and find our bearings. Retreats such as Yarn+Yoga are a great way to do this, but you can practice anytime, anywhere. Here are a few tips for developing a more mindful spinning practice.

Practicing Mindfulness: A Spinner’s Guide

Check in. As you are spinning, simply check in with your body. I set my phone to remind me to do this about every hour when I’m doing a long-haul spinning project. How do your hands feel? Are you pinching hard? Are your shoulders reaching towards your ears? Are you treadling fast? Start by noticing how you feel.

Find balance. If you noticed pain in your hands from gripping, see if you can relax your hands and wrists a bit. (This is something I see in high-stress spinners quite often.) Try loosening the wheel uptake tension if needed. Do you lean forward while spinning? Maybe try to find a more comfortable position with your shoulders relaxed. Everyone’s body is different, so see where the day’s stress has accumulated.

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Kate spinning on her charkha in Yellowstone National Park.

Choose a practice. Sometimes relaxing and stepping away from the non-stop news is about finding the right fiber or project. I’ve been practicing charkha spinning, as I mentioned a few months ago. Plein air spinning (meaning spinning outside) has being giving me a small space in my day to not think about anything at all except the wheel turning and the fiber slipping through my fingers—a lovely way to start any day. Commit to set aside a bit of time and mental space every day, whether you think of it as meditation, self-care, or just a moment to catch your breath.

Learn more about Yarn+Yoga at the website.

Kate Larson


Cultivate Peace with Yarn!