A different kind of enabling

For anyone who’s been around me in person lately, or listening to my blatherings on my Twitter feed (sidebar), you’ll be fully aware of the fact that for the past 2 months I’ve taken up yoga. After 9 weeks of at-home practice, 3-5 times a week (thanks to the aid of DVDs, much reading, and patience), I have to tell you I’ve completely drunk the Kool Aid. I used to do yoga off and on for the last several years, but committed myself to trying it again more thoroughly as a way of recovering the strength and flexibility I lost in my hip last summer after my running injury (or, more likely, the lack of strength that allowed the injury to happen in the first place). It turns out yoga really does do everything it says on the label – i feel a great deal more flexible and strong, and am gradually learning to focus my concentration long enough to hold some of the more challenging poses. (Though I draw the line at attempting to stand on my head. For now. Until I get to a studio. Never say never, after all.)

July6-Yoga2

At first I was mostly focussed on my leg and hip mobility, but I am discovering more and more how much this really does influence the entire body. I am finding myself more aware of my posture and how I sit, and – much to my pleasant surprise – the parts of my arm and shoulder that are often prone to repetitive strain injury during times of heavy knitting (which I am currently experiencing, prepping some fall designs), are feeling fantastic. Knitters, get thee to a yoga mat. (Are knitting-related yoga classes a thing? Can we get on that?)

July6-Yoga

(Why yes, this is me doing Legs-up-the-Wall against my yarn stash. I decided it was soothing.)

It has been a pretty solid reminder of how likely we are to tax our bodies doing the crafting endeavours we love, and how even some basic postures and stretches can help counter it. The mental immersion of working on a knitting project often counter-balances other stressful parts of the day, but then, what counter-balances the knitting? It is great food for thought.

July6-Frostbite

In other news, I can also report that the non-sensical hat-knitting-in-summer continues, this time with a new Frostbite hat in Knit Picks Cadena, currant and cream. (I love this colour combination so much I could eat it.) Thankfully, the iced beverages are also flowing freely, and I am pleased to report I have also fully committed myself to the joys of iced coffee.

July6-IcedCoffee

May you have some cool and relaxing times this weekend, knitting friends! Until next time.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “A different kind of enabling

  1. hawknitr13

    does yoga help you lose any weight? i’m ready for both flexible & lighter!! this was a great post for me! i just moved my treadmill downstairs (by myself!) to hopefully use it more in a cooler environment!! love your stash cubbies!!! and your hat!!
    ^)^ linda

  2. Kris

    I’m interested in your at-home yoga practice. Can you tell me which DVDs you used?

  3. Kris – I have been rotating among a selection of them to ensure I don’t get bored too quickly and to give some variation of poses and intensity; The ones I like the most are by Element with Ashley Turner, and by Gaiam with Rodney Yee. I also have a ‘Biggest Loser’ one with Bob Harper that is a nice workout although his instructions are less clear sometimes. I also have a couple of DVDs that are more basic; A ‘Beginners & Beyond Yoga Weight Loss’ by Bodywisdom, and another Element one called Yoga For Beginners that are less strenuous and good to alternate with the more vigorous power yoga or ‘flow’ ones. It’s a nice variety!

    G

  4. Morgan Bowers

    I am also a knitting yogi! I do vinyasa yoga now, after, like you, years of doing yoga on and off, have finally clicked and have become reasonably obsessed of late! Can i request some yoga-related posts? (yoga socks, leg warmers?) :-)

    And to hawknitr13, vinyasa yoga (also called ‘flow yoga’) burns up to 600 calories an hour!

    Morgan x

  5. suburbanyogini

    Yay!!! I love it when people find yoga. I teach lots of hand and arm work in one of my classes because its filled with crafty types. Also knitting is quite meditative :)

  6. I was never really big on yoga until I was introduced to hot yoga… O-M-G! Quite the workout, extremely good for flexibility and weight loss :o) I dropped 60lbs in 15 months and used knitting to help keep my mind busy, very therapeutic and helped me keep my sanity…

  7. Get thee to an Iyengar studio, if you have one within a reasonable distance. The difference between Iyengar and the other disciplines is incredible. I end up being bored and uninspired by other forms. And yes, you would do a headstand with the use of props until you are ready to push the props away. It really is a lot easier to do than you think. Handstand helps keep the aches out of my overworked knitting hands.

  8. I just bought yarn in those identical colors to make my third Shellseeker. I love it, too.

  9. Heather

    I have loved the yoga/knit combination for years. Yoga is very good for weight loss in that it strengthens/builds muscles and muscles are key to weight loss. Also it help with your core. My friend/yoga teacher is constantly syaing “Everything is core and core is everything” So once you have good core you will sit better, hold your needles better, breathe better.
    Also LOVE the color combo on the hat!!

  10. I just started yoga again as well! Loving it! I would love to find a pattern to make a loose flowy yoga top.

  11. Jan

    I have been thinking of taking up yoga again and this has definitely inspired me. Thanks!!

  12. Oh, yes! Yoga and knitting go very well together. I’ve been practicing both for years. I do think of my knitting as a practice, just like yoga. Both are very centering and calming.

  13. Karen

    I loved yoga, and I stopped doing it. Why? Once I have finished the house move diy I will be getting out my mat. Will check out the DVDs you mentioned. Many thanks for being inspiring!
    That hat is gorgeous too, and your shelves are not dissimilar to mine, but yours look much better organised… Planning a stash reorganise too now…..

  14. I just came to the yoga party, too. I gained a bit of strength and lost a bit of weight on our safari and wanted to counteract my aging concerns. Loving the Bikram Yoga!!!!!! My daughter is sorry she asked me to go. Make sweat, not excuses.

  15. Marie Roche

    Do you have any sources that you recommend that deal with the problem of jogs in circular knitting with patterning? Do you have a tutorial on the subject, or how do you deal with this issue?

  16. Perfect timing for posting this! I pulled that tiny muscle in my hip that lets you lift your whole leg up. And I’ve got a spot near one elbow that acts up every other time I lift something heavy. So, I have been feeling very old this past week. I’m going to check out yoga videos at my library. My living room is tiny, but big enough for a mat, I would love to have more strength and flexibility. Especially if it gives me more knitting strength!

    As far as a knitting comment – beautiful hat! One of these days I’m going to learn how to do that kind of two-color knitting.

  17. Tonya

    I love how you stash your yarn :). I’d also love to hear what poses have helped your rsi’s? I’m extremely prone to them

  18. Hi Tonya –

    I think much of the standard sun salutation sequence(s) are helpful, for the plank, chaturanga/push-up, upward dog, and downward dog poses, where some of your body weight is supported in your arms and shoulders. Strengthening my shoulders has been a big help for my knitting.

    Also, poses like triangle and extended side angle involve bending while rotating your torso, and holding your arms above your head – these ones were more challenging for me at first, as I really noticed some shoulder strain, so I had to ease into them a bit. Now I find them much more accessible. So some strength has developed there!

    Happy yoga-ing ;)

    Glenna

  19. Viviana

    Try http://www.yogatoday.com or watch their free video on yotube!
    The teachers are great and if you see their video filmed in the Gran Teton National Park you will feel the fresh breeze during your trainig :-)

  20. Lynne

    I had a few sessions of tai chi once and it made me feel so relaxed! Now, with my arthritis, if I lie on the floor there’s no guarantee I’ll get up again!

  21. I’ve been trying to get into a workout routine for sometime now and have been thinking about trying yoga. I tried a few pilates tapes but get bored with them easily. Glad hear yoga also helps with sore arms from knitting!