Knitting: Better than Yoga!
What if I say there is a simple activity that can act as meditation, can improve hand movement, eye and hand coordination, alleviate stress and depression, stimulate brain patterns by using visualization, enhance memory, and teach goal setting, planning and execution of a project? Knitting can do all that. It was always with us in the background, usually thought of as something for elderly ladies. Then, about a decade ago, several world famous stars picked up the needles and it became increasingly trendy and cool, often dubbed as the New Yoga, but aside from fashion, knitting can be beneficial in many areas.
Knitting is easy and helps focus. As the saying goes “anybody who can tie their shoelace has the necessary skills to learn to knit”. You can select your project as easy or difficult as you like. There is something that needs to be thought over, figuring out, and requires hard thinking? Do you find sometimes it is difficult to focus because your hand fidgets and your mind wonders? Pick up an easy, mindless project, a two by two ribbed sock or a garter stitch scarf, and your hands would be busy, a small part of your brain is occupied, while the other can focus and work on the important thoughts.
Knitting is relaxing. Is there something that you would love to forget but can’t? Something your mind goes back to again and again, making you stressed and worried? Look for a difficult pattern; a complicated lace perhaps or a many colored Fair Isle sweater where you have to pay close attention to your hands, slow down your thoughts, check what you are doing at every stitch. After a while one can get lost in the project and forget about other troubles. Research shows that knitting’s rhythmic repetitive movements can induce deep relaxed, almost meditative state, which can be helpful for depressed patients or ones with chronic pain.
Knitting is practical. Clicking the needles can help prevent boredom while waiting; in a doctor’s office, at an airport, long and boring train trips, or sporting events. It can keep you from bad habits like smoking or snacking. If you knit for others it can help you be charitable, if you knit with others it can help build communities. It can help children’s development of motor skills, color sense and creativity. Basic math from adding up through multiplying to combinatory also can be practiced through this simple craft. Kids can learn goal setting and how to carry out a project from the planning stage to the finished item. For old people it can help keeping the muscles in shape, and the memory in practice.
No matter what age you are in, or what reasons you have for knitting, most people agree that it is good for you. And let’s not forget, at the end there is a product that can be useful, practical or beautiful or all three at the same time. Only a few wouldn’t appreciate hand knits; the comfort of socks, the warmth of gloves, and the uniqueness of a handmade sweater.