As a yoga practioner, I always cringed whenever I heard the phrase “knitting is the new yoga” tossed around by people who both did not knit, and did not do yoga. As someone who semi-regularily partakes in both activities, I can tell you that knitting is in fact, the new meditation.
Yoga is the practice of asanas (poses, either done statically or through a movement sequence that flows) that is designed to help you link the mind and body in ways it does not normally co-exist. Breathing plays a huge role in yoga, as does mindfulness and body posture. When people equate knitting to yoga, I think they actually mean to equate it with meditation. Stockinette and garter stitch can start to get a rhythm that just sucks you into the motion. You feel your hands move the yarn and needles, your breathing is relaxed, and outside distractions just melt away. Yoga can often get you relaxed enough to be in a meditative state, but meditation and yoga are not one and the same, they simply complement each other.
I should know, since as of last month, I am now a practicing Buddhist, who engages in meditation at least every other day, if not daily. And that is what I want to make this post about today, Buddhism. Specifically, a focus on one of Buddha’s teachings about The Four Noble Truths. In short, the four noble truths tell us that a)suffering in our lives is constant b)the sufferings we experience come from the mind c)we can learn to control our mind and d)once we control our mind, we will experience bliss. This post will focus around the second truth.
When the Buddha used the word “suffering” it really should have been translated as “discontent” or “dissatisfaction.” Suffering implies pain, and he really means that we can never really be satisfied because our minds are constantly telling us that to be happy we need to get this new outfit or get a new piece of furniture, or get a new job, or do any matter of things to affect our external world, when really, its just our minds have the power to make us really happy. And hey, there’s no shame in this. We’re all guilty, myself included. But once we recognize the problem, we have the power to fix it.
I have thankfully not been much of a stashing knitter. I do have a few spare skeins or balls of yarn lying around, but most of my yarn is purposed – set for a specific project, ready for when I have the time or skill (or both) to make it, and also, lots and lots of leftovers. If you look at my Ravelry projects you will probably notice lots of projects lately being made out of the same yarn. That’s because I’m trying desperately to get rid of my leftovers. But when I see stashers (a photo my mother showed me once of a woman who’s sock yarn stash alone covered her entire queen or king sized bed) flaunting their huge quantities of yarn, and still thirsting for more, well, first I feel a little twinge of jealousy, but then, I let it go.
My only point here is this: There is nothing wrong with stashing, but I hope you remember that your stash cannot and will not make you truly happy. Only YOU can make you happy. It’s okay to let that “perfect” skein go to someone else, afterall, how many “perfect” skeins do you have sitting in your stash waiting to be knit right now? Can you recall feeling joy as you clicked the “submit” button on the payment screen for many, if not all of them? And now what do they do for you? Take up space and collect dust until you finally remember about them and use them. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty, but I also feel that truth has well, a lot of truth to it. I will definitely be remembering it the next time I peruse the online yarn sites.
And now, for something completely different.
Andrew is almost crawling. I promise I’m going to upload videos to YouTube very shortly. In the meantime, if you want a baby fix, check out my YouTube channel. Search for 85bluedragonfly.
So, Namaste, happy knitting, and may all beings be happy, and all that jazz.