April 28, 2006

Yoga and Knitting- Knitting and Yoga

So Lolly has totally inspired me with her latest post- here is what I have to say in responce to it- What do you think?

It is interesting that knitting and yoga are so often compared or put together "Knitting is the new yoga". But I don't think that is really true... They are both yoga, nothing new about it-
When we create we are at peace we focus and we bring ourselves to a state that we aren't normally at- we look at the world and objects differently- How can you look at a pile of fiber and see a hat or sweater? How can you look at your body in the mirror and imagine it with a leg wrapped around the head or balancing updside down?
As my yoga teacher says," I think you can bend this way because I believe you are Gumby and you don't" plain and simple, get your mind out of the way and you can do/create anything.

Here is how yoga/knitting shape our lives-

I am currently getting certified to teach yoga- (as many of you know if you are regular readers) that means not just a lot of asana, but a lot of philosophy and reading- and over the past few months I have seen so many things that tie the two seemingly different things together- knitting is a form of yoga and yoga is a form of knitting- just different mediums are in use.
In yoga the goal is to chip away at our ego and at our mind to find that which we really are- The idea is that our true self is just waiting to be seen- we go thru asana and meditation we become closer to that which is real. I think when we knit we are doing a similar thing- take this ball of yarn and shape it into something wonderful-
Have you ever noticed that yarn has a way of deciding what it wants to be, even before you cast on to the needles? It has a mind of its own? When the yarn really doesn't want to become something it fights tooth and nail- tangling and dropping and snagging? I think that is because the yarn already knows what its true self is, just like we do, it is up to us to peel away the layers ... you can't force it into being something it wasn't meant to be- just like we can't force ourselves into something we weren't meant to be with out a bit of resistance, struggle and pain anyway.
Also the Sanskrit word "sutra" means string- All the sutras that make up the philosophy and mantras and *stuff* of yoga are all 'knit' together by the string or the sutras- interesting when you start to think about it.
Our muscles and nerves and ligaments and bones and joints and tendons and skin are all woven intricately together forming a wonderful functional object- just as the yarn does. There is even a thing called “knitting” in yoga- an action that you do with the abdominal muscles.
In yoga you are constantly challenging yourself to take even the *easiest* pose and find new meaning and challenge in it. (I don't really believe there are easy poses; there is always something to challenge yourself with in any posture, no matter how long or how consistent you have been practicing). I think that the same can be true of the *simple* stockinet stitch. As a novice or expert knitter we can always find something in that stitch to challenge us- to try it in a new way. Maybe by adding in a second strand of color, going continental instead of English, using straight needles or DPNs instead of circs- using itty bitty little tiny size 0 instead of big-old 19s or changing up the yarn from wool to cotton or from bulky to lace weight- all of these things make the experience different. Just as every time you step on to the sticky mat and stand in tadasana (Mountain Pose) you find that the body doesn't feel the way they did yesterday- that we need to work on grounding all four corners of the feet or engage the kidney loop or inward/outwardly spiral our legs to find the energy and center of the pose.
Just as we wind our bodies into different asanas we move our needles and yarn into different objects. Each process aid in clearing the mind and to put us closer to a Higher place- finding the true self.


Karen said...

What an incredibly insightful post. Thank you for sharing.

kat said...

i always say the knitting is like meditation for me....its my time to be somewhere else if i need to.

Jennifer said...

Interesting comparisons. I haven't ever done yoga, but now I'm thinking I may need to try it.

Stacie said...

I like it! My sister in law sent me a book called Knitting Sutra, and I really liked it. It is about meditation through craft. Thanks for the inspiration!

KnitAbout said...

I did not know that you needed to be certified to teach Yoga! Very informative. I don't think knitting and Yoga are the same. Knitting helps me deal with my head space and yoga helps with the body. I gte cramped knitting sometimes and should do yoga to deal with that. Congrats on getting certified!!!!

Gary said...

Great post. I had never thought about a yoga connection, but for me a spell of quiet knitting is as good as sitting meditation.

lovegreendog said...

i whole heartedly agree-
"When we create we are at peace we focus and we bring ourselves to a state that we aren't normally at...."

i really enjoyed reading your comparisons