Many of us picked up crafting to carve out a little me-time in our busy days. It’s a significant gesture, taking a few moments for ourselves. Chances are, you’ve read about the additional health benefits of crafting. Maybe you saw our post last month, ‘Craft for Less Stress’! One of the most important benefits, which is also one of the subtlest, is how our breathing changes when we concentrate. By focusing on our breath, we can get the most out of our crafting time. Read on for easy breath tips for crafting more comfortably.
For those who haven’t tried meditation (and even for those who have!), the breath is a sneaky process. It’s one of the automatic functions of our body, like the pumping of our blood or digestion of our food, and we hardly ever notice it. Isn’t it wild that these most vital tasks can be so imperceptible? We tend to notice our breathing only when something has gone awry – when we’re scared or nervous and feel short of breath, when we’ve pushed ourselves while exercising, or more seriously, during a panic attack. This is our ‘fight or flight’ response, which is totally natural, but not an optimal way to live. Taking a deep breath invites our ‘rest and digest’ response, which we want more of in our daily lives!
But when we focus our attention on this simple action, a whole world of possibility opens up to us. We can control our stress level, heart rate, and even emotional reactions, just by pausing to notice. Many schools of meditation use the breath as a tool to say, ‘I’m here.’ Breath brings us into the present moment like nothing else.
When we choose to knit or crochet for a few minutes, we’ve created the perfect opportunity to take a breath. While we might be wrestling with a difficult new stitch, or a particularly confusing row, plenty of our stitches come easy, and we’re already counting anyway. If you’re someone who tends to hold their breath when things get dicey, these tips will be revolutionary for your crafting comfort, and creative process!
The first step to breathing better is making sure we’re open. This is an idea you may have heard in a yoga class, but we speak about it often in life. Open to new possibilities, open to what’s ahead. In a physical sense, ‘open’ means loose! Available! We spend so much time tightening up at our desks, behind the steering wheel, our bodies are naturally in a state of tension. Relaxing our muscles, and exploring simple range of motion exercises, reminds our bodies of all they are capable of! And soft muscles are more ready & able to allow deep breaths to come.
If you are intrigued, we created a whole series of yoga videos specifically with crafters in mind. You can find the Youtube playlist of all 18 videos here, and follow along. Shira even joins in for a few!
We love the laughs! So important to remember that breathing can be funny, too – laughter is a great way to get your breath going. The Lion’s Breath reminds us to stretch our faces, which are often neglected in yoga, and definitely get worked up while we craft. The ‘concentration face’ is no joke, and can lead to neck pain & headaches!
If you’re new to breath work, it can be intimidating to get started! Just remember, it can be as simple as reminding yourself to take a breath every few stitches. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in a rhythm!
Caren shares three different breathing techniques, which include some yoga language. While these techniques might not be perfect to do while you’re crafting, they are great options for when you take a break. We recommend a mini-break every 30 minutes to stretch, breathe a bit, and make sure you aren’t adding more tension during your crafting session!
It can be daunting to overhaul your whole crafting process in one sitting, so choose 1 or 2 ideas to incorporate over time.
Before you get situated in your favorite spot, take a moment to stretch! Whether you use our LB video above, one of the others from our playlist, or a favorite stretch of your own, count to at least 20 for maximum benefits. We suggest a stretch that focuses on your upper back, neck, or shoulders, as these get most involved when we grab our hook or needles.
We are of course big fans of the Lion’s Breath, but you could choose any of the techniques above (or one you already know). We recommend taking a few breaths as you settle in to craft, and see how it affects your posture & mood.
There are two ways to check in – you can plan to take a break after about half an hour of crafting, or check in after a set number of rows! Whichever you opt for, use this moment to assess (without judgment!) how it’s going. If you’re breathing more shallowly, or have stopped breathing entirely, maybe it’s time for another couple mindful breaths before beginning again. If you notice some tension creeping in, stretch gently in a way that addresses the affected muscles.
If you have any health-related concerns or issues, please do what feels safe and comfortable for you. It’s always advised to check with a physician before trying new physical techniques, and it’s important to us that you craft happy & healthy.
Will you be adding more breath to your crafting style? Share in the comments which ideas you’ll be trying, and if you have any other breath-related tips you use to keep your crafting easy & tension-free.
To crafting easily & crafting often!