On Mondays we talk about how to be mindful with our making and I try to provide inspiration for things we can focus on. Another piece of this practice during our making is our breath. When we are trying to be mindful, the focus is on our current state of being. As crafters, we tend to do this naturally when working on a project. We are able to focus on our craft and not think too much about the world around us. Another great way to bring ourselves to a mindful way of thinking is to focus on our breath.
There are lots of different breathing techniques for meditation, relaxation and general well being. Breathing exercises are used for pain management and during strenuous exercise. There is even evidence to support beneficial physiological affects when we slow down our breathing. This week, I want us to practice with our breath as a way to focus our mind to the here and now.
As always, find a time and place to sit quietly. Pay attention to your breath, noting the length and depth of the in and out. Then, take a deeper breath, counting to 3 slowly as you breathe in. Count to 3 again as you breathe out. You can increase the count on either end depending on what feels comfortable for you; they don't have to be even. Now that you have a better sense of the time of your inhales and exhales, coordinate that breathing exercise with your craft. I'm a knitter, so I would breathe in for one stitch and breathe out for the next. If you are fast, maybe try two stitches for a breath in, or slow down a little. Remember, this process is for mindfulness, not necessarily progress.
Finally, take note of how you feel after these breathing exercises. Maybe you feel nothing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If your typical state is anxious or overwhelmed, nothingness might feel pretty good. As for most things, feeling comfortable with these exercises takes practice, so don't quit after the first attempt if you're not getting it. That's not really your style anyway. You're a crafter. If you had quit trying after your first stitch because you didn't get it, you wouldn't be here.