Decades ago I dreaded public speaking after having a presentation go poorly (in my estimation). Others said I was too hard on myself and that it was fine. I was told to "face my dragons and do more presentations. At that time our local school for adult education needed a teacher to replace a retiring teacher of public speaking. They found my name in the yellow pages and convinced me to run the class. I wasn't a confident public speaker and yet was determined to help others overcome their fears. In doing so my confidence soared. Interestingly, I did it for years and ended up with both private and corporate clients as a result. Now I am comfortable speaking in front of an audience although the opportunity hasn't presented itself in years. Like riding a bike, I'll be able to again when the occasion arises.
Similarly when Patty Jacobs saw the hats that I knitted for the children in my family, she invited me to teach a knitting/yoga class. I was reluctant as I am not a master knitter and can barely follow a pattern. It was only after I attended a Stitch-n-bitch in Miami Beach with a young knitwear designer that I recognized that my approach to knitting, unique to me, may work for others as well. She encouraged me to step into my own and claim my knitted artistry. I did, creating a copper wire and bead canopy for my daughter's wedding, as well as knit garments and accessories that prompted people to ask for the patterns.
Just like yoga where no two people will look exactly the same in any pose, knitting allows for individuality of self expression. My process is to find inspiration everywhere and get library books to familiarize myself with concepts and techniques. I'm also in a weekly knitting group with lovely and talented ladies who share a love of fiber and fashion. They create fabulous garments and accessories via patterns and assistance from our teacher, Kim. I often pick a pattern and yarn but then listen to my inner muse who wants to explore and play and see what emerges. Which gets us to my silk yardage, originally supposed to be a pantsuit, but was instead ripped and knotted creating a one of a kind silk yarn which emerged into a one of a kind art to wear top.
My wish is to open people to their own creativity through yoga inspired movement and breathing along with mini meditations. Patty facilitated that piece and we made a good team.
Anyone can go to a knit shop, select a pattern and yarn and get instruction on their project. They can even sit and knit there so they have direct supervision. I did that decades ago when I taught public speaking. I spent hundreds of dollars and often didn't like the fit.
These days I go with the flow of where my needles and yarn take me. I show people how to recycle old sweaters and scarves. I show them how to look at designs and how to adapt them. They won't always be perfect. Yet what is? And yet it's all perfect. Tuning into one's inner voice to allow creative self expression is part of developing authenticity.
And untangling the knotted yarn like Patty and I did the other night can be both a meditation and a metaphor for life. We teased out the kinks by letting go. We stretched out the tangled mess moving slowly and mindfully and it wound out of its constriction.
Yes there is a real connection between knitting as a spiritual practice and yoga. And thanks to Patty, I got to recognize that I can facilitate that exploration within community.
And like the tangled, knotted yarn that I referred to in an earlier blog, all of what we do in our Light Within knitting group melds into an interesting experience and an opportunity to care and share as we breathe love and consciousness into our stitches.
We can be mindful of the sutras as we move forward individually and as a group. As indeed, we are all connected
So yes, I can teach the basics and beyond as I am a perpetual student and we are all each other's Teachers!
Respectfully submitted by Meryl Joblin, Knitting and Yoga facilitator