Close your eyes. Focus your thoughts on the sensations coming from the soles of your feet. Feel the connection with the ground or floor beneath them and notice its temperature and texture.
I find crochet to be relaxing---even more so than knitting. I'm not good at it, I don't know how to fix my mistakes without ripping out, and I can't seem to pick it back up without unzipping some of the stitches, but somehow that doesn't bother me. The above passage introduces Betsan's Relax exercise but this book is not all about relaxation! Rather, it's about mindfulness and how crochet can be used as a vehicle toward that practice.
Often the Projects chapter of a book is organized into subcategories by type of item (sweaters, hats, blankets) or by season. The projects in this book are organized by aspect of well-being and begin with an exercise to reinforce and promote each quality. The 10 sections (see below for the full list) cover meditative, energizing, and joy-seeking projects---two in each section.
Several of the projects are or utilize mandalas, circular objects which symbolize the cosmos and are used as meditation aids. Included in these are Nguyen Le's wonderful Sun Salutation yoga mat bag which features mandalas depicting successive stages of sunrise sewn onto it (the bag itself is cloth). The mandalas shown on the cover are small enough to be carried around as reminders to stay calm.
Each section begins with an exercise to promote mindfulness. Some involve color choices, and ways to modify your crochet technique. Others are meditations apart from the craft which you can do any time. The projects themselves include notes for practicing and enforcing these skills.
I wonder whether Betsan's first book, Knit for Health and Wellness, contains different exercises. I tend to get much more intense about knitting than crochet---good for focus, not so good for my body. Betsan includes several Basic Exercises to stretch and warm your upper limbs, hands, head and neck.
I recommend this book for beginning crocheters and anyone interested in mindfulness and/or wellness. Don't overlook the Techniques chapter--- one of the best I've seen in the world of crochet. Helpful and soothing, it lends a new outlook to common points of stress such as increasing and finishing.
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a review copy of this book. Kangath was not otherwise compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
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