The Yoga of Knitting

Our natural relationship to the world is not indifference.

It is curiosity.

                                                                                                          – Tara Sophia Mohr

There is something about knitting that I just can’t quite understand.

It takes my breath away, and it gives me goosebumps; I see yarn and my heart goes out into the roads less travelled imagining what that piece of yarn can turn into.

There really is no logic to this passion. There is no reason why I do it, or what for. It is much easier to buy that knitted shawl at the Gap—much less effort, even less expensive! Although I thought it would be a passing fling, my curiosity ignites every single time I knit. When I see yarns,  I see ways to express what words sometimes are unable to. I see a grandmother knitting and I am curious about how her finger movements are intricately connected to her brain waves.

There is such beauty in using our hands to create.

But more important than what will come out of it, is what happens inside. Knitting puts me in touch with the part of me that is free of shoulds and productivity. It is that part of me that is free of expectations, free of what I will get in return for what I do.

In the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text of the yogic tradition, one of the main teachings is about offering our work as a selfless offering, without attachment to success and failure.

Krishna says:

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself—without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat.”

I find that sometimes having this wonderfully free attitude is hard with a daily job, which many times is our way of getting a good pay, a raise, a reward, an acknowledgement. Yet, all the sacred texts remind us this state is possible even in our daily work; especially in our daily work.

How then can this be reached in our everyday lives?

I believe a simple step toward this state is starting with that which we already love. It might not be the ultimate thing. It might be the simplest thing, such as loving to window shop, or loving to journal or read, or loving to clear out our drawers, or loving to draw, or write short stories, or take pictures of dogs at the park, or gardening, or doing ceramics, or learning French.

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dogs of SF, by Daniel Valencia

Whatever it is, we all have that thing that just feels right, that we just simply love. It sparks curiosity, it makes time fly by. It wraps our attention, and there is no logical reason why we do it. It sort of happens on its own, just for the love of it.

The thing is, it’s easy to let those things fall away. There are so many more “important” things to do in life, and to get done. With time, that thing we love can easily become a dormant voice inside. And truly, a part of ourselves  is left behind.

If I don’t knit for a few weeks, the yarn in my knitting drawer starts to appear a bit bland. It even feels like clutter. I think of giving it away, and making space in that drawer for other more important things.

It’s easy to let the naive curiosity of the heart go into a slumber.

Thankfully, it also takes an easy change of heart to move back to the curious state. Get some yarn, a new color perhaps. Sit for a while and let the curious spark be fanned back to life.

Slowly, this voice of doing things for the love of it, can begin to whisper into the other things we need to do.

Because, in truth, although that thing we love to do has to do with the thing itself, it’s really an inner state. The state of being in the flow. Of getting so engrossed in whatever we’re doing, that we forget about wanting to multitask or get things done quick, or giving our energy half-heartedly to what is in front of us.

With time, this state of being in the flow, the river of quiet bliss, becomes the place we seek in our daily lives.

It becomes our yoga, our practice,alive in each moment of our lives.

Then, we might surprise ourselves, and be supremely curious, at suddenly seeing ourselves “Performing work in this world, as a man established within himself.” Established in that state where following our inspiration, our passion, our bliss, becomes as natural as a grandmother knitting an amazing shawl.

Make time for what you love.

You deserve it.

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(As previously published on Elephant Journal)

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