As you all know, I took a day off from Project Cowl yesterday. I did some lawyering (yes I still do that!), some knitting and a whole lot of Medknitation. I know you think that I just made up that word – since I made up ‘yarn-o-holic’- however, there is such a thing in reality called Medknitation. To put it simply, its meditation while knitting or mindful knitting and its quite popular amongst knitters.
I am, unfortunately, one of those people who suck at the normal kind meditation. I sit down with a good intention, close my eyes, focus on my breathing and suddenly I start seeing psychedelic colours. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I then start hearing all sorts of noises that frankly only bats should be able to hear. The few times when I have managed to avoid the colours and the noises, it has meant that I have fallen asleep and hence, have had to get to work in a mad rush.
That is why when I came across Medknitation while reading a book on knitting, I was beyond thrilled. I also realised soon enough that I was good at it. No colours, no noises, no sleep this time. When I’m alone and knitting and there are no other distractions, I manage to reach what I can only call a state of higher consciousness.
If you think about it, it makes sense. After all what is meditation, its about bringing your awareness to the present moment. It seems that the repeated clickety-clack of the needles forces your mind to stay in the present moment and to not wander off to Neverland. Its like chanting or using a rosary – the repetitive motions reduce anxiety and create a sense of calmness. And I am not the only one saying this, the smart folks at Harvard are saying the same thing. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute in 2007, found that knitting lowered heart rate, by an average of 11 beats per minute, and induced an enhanced state of calm, similar to that of yoga. Another report – by a UK based organization, Knit for Peace (with 15000 knitters as members) – suggests that apart from its calming effects, knitting also has the ability to distract from chronic pain and to alleviate depression.
I don’t know much about studies and reports, but I will say this that every time I feel a rush of anxiety or stress coming over me, I pick up my needles. Nine out of ten times I get distracted or at least manage to catch a breath before rushing into things. So based on my personal experience and as the daughter of two doctors, my personal advice would be – Medknitation everyday, keeps the doctor away!
Before I forget, there is a bonus for those of us who enjoy (albeit guiltily) snacking between meals or late at night. Once you get into a state of higher consciousness while knitting, even that chocolate in the fridge won’t be able to tempt you.
The picture of the woman in this post will prove, beyond any doubt, what I have just said. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, her smile is.
In case anyone wants to read the entire Knit for Peace report which mentions several other health benefits, please download from here