Tag Archives: yoga

Opening what was closed: my weekend of yoga

My friend and her much more confident arm balances

My friend and her much more confident (than me) arm balances

I just got back from a yoga retreat this weekend, and I feel like I’m just beginning to appreciate everything I took home with me.  On our last morning, our instructor suggested that one of the take homes they wanted to leave us with was “opening what was closed.” Which I think perfectly summarizes for me the weekend’s most important lesson.

Yoga on the dock

Yoga on the dock

In the car, on our way home, my friend and I discussed the weekend’s highlights, of which there were many. I asked myself what was the most significant thing I would be taking home from this weekend; was it finding a comfortable seat for meditation? The stretches of lakeside quiet time? Time spent catching up with a good friend? A refined downward dog and some solid arm balances and inversions? The inspiring conversations with a diverse group of successful women (and a even couple men)? A new appreciation for vegan food and paleo-baking? Any and all of those experiences were well worth the time, and effort, but it is the subtle change in my approach to daily life that I hope sticks with me long after the pressures and demands of home close back in.

One night in yoga nidra, I think that I was finally able to let go of some of the baggage the recent years have piled on. Which begs the question, what will I let take its place? All weekend, I worked on being present, strong and patient; three qualities I’d like to carry around with me instead.

Knitting after morning meditation

Knitting and coffee after morning meditation

I tend to express love by doing: doing laundry, scheduling playdates, swimming lessons and dinner parties, knitting socks, cleaning the house, organizing family photos, buying tricycles, shoes and groceries.  Certainly, all of those things are important, but they can distract from the most important way to express love: by being with the people you love.  If you let them, they can crowd out the spontaneous kitchen dance parties, long phone conversations with distant friends and family, quiet chats on the front porch, and noisy afternoons at the park. That is the biggest take away from my weekend of yoga by the lake: to be present with those I love. At first, I felt a little guilty about taking this time from myself, and leaving my husband and son to cope together at home, but now I think that I may be able to give them more, because I went. And now comes the hard part, keeping those lakeside lessons with me all year.

Fisherman’s Pose Legwarmers

Legwarmers in Cascade Superwash Paints

Adult size legwarmers in Cascade Superwash Paints

I love to wear capri leggings to spinning and yoga, but I also live in Canada, so slim fitting tall legwarmers were definitely needed to get to the studio and back. Legwarmers should fit snugly around ankles and knees, but also stretch easily over the rest of the leg.  I chose textures that would hug close to the ankle, but also stretch to accomodate cycler’s calves.  The combined 2 by 2 ribbing and traditional pleated fisherman’s sweater pattern resulted in really stretchy, very easy legwarmers. As a result, size and gauge should not be major concerns.

Needles: Size 5 and 6 DPNs (double pointed needles)

Notions: tapestry needle, stitch marker

Yarn: Adult/Large Child: 400-450 yards of worsted weight yarn, Small Child: 350-400 yards (in these adult legwarmers, I used 2 skeins of 220 Cascade Superwash paints)

Size: Adult, Large Child/Preteen, Small Child/Toddler. The texture provides a lot of stretch, so one size should really fit all.

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch (stretches to less than 4 stitches/inch)

Sizes: Adult (Large Child, Small Child)

On size 5 needles, cast on 72 (64, 56) stitches. Join in the round and mark the end of the round.

Ribbing:

*Knit 2, purl 2* Repeat to the end of the round.

Continue in k2, p2 ribbing for 3 (3, 2) inches.

_AWN1789Leg: Switch to size 6 needles.

Row 1: *k7, p1* repeat to the end of the round

Row 2: *k6, p2* repeat to the end of the round

Row 3: *k5, p3* repeat to the end of the round

Row 4: *k4, p4* repeat to the end of the round

Row 5: *k3, p5* repeat to the end of the round

Row 6: *k2, p6* repeat to the end of the round

Row 7: *k1, p7* repeat to the end of the round

Row 8: *k2, p6* repeat to the end of the round

Row 9: *k3, p5* repeat to the end of the round

Row 10: *k4, p4* repeat to the end of the round

Row 11: *k5, p3* repeat to the end of the round

Row 12: *k6, p2* repeat to the end of the round

Repeat rows 1 to 12 until legwarmer measures 12 (10, 6) inches from the cast on edge.

Ribbing:

Switch back to size 5 needles. *Knit 2, purl 2* Repeat to the end of the round.

Continue in k2, p2 ribbing for 3 (3, 2) inches.

Bind off, using a stretchy bind off.  My favourite is: k2, slip stitches back to left needle, k2tog, *k1, slip stitches back to left needle, k2tog* repeat until the end of the round.  You may choose to bind off in the ribbing pattern (knit the knits, purl the purls).

Sew in loose ends. Complete a second legwarmer and enjoy.

For personal or charitable use only. LGN, 2013.

New Year’s Resolutions and New Year’s Knitting

My husband  in my final holiday gift, Mona socks by Cookie A in madelinetosh merino

My husband in my final holiday gift, Mona socks by Cookie A in madelinetosh merino

Now that I am finally done my holiday gifts, my mind has turned to the new year and new projects. As I set my intentions for 2013, one word came to mind: flexibility.   Physical flexibility to help my tattered knees through a new year of travel and adventure, but much more importantly mental and emotional flexibility to help me become a better parent, spouse, friend and family member.  This year, we hope to take our son on his first major trip (possibly to Iceland?) and I have a feeling that crossing the Atlantic (or part of it) with a toddler will tax my exisiting flexibility.

One of the traits I most admire in my husband, is his ability to abandon the long list of to dos and be in the moment with our son.  Maintaining a household with two working parents and one tiny person requires a lot of scheduling and managing, but in 2013, I resolve not to let the schedules and tasks prevent me from being present.  I resolve to let the little things slide, so that I have the energy and strength to do what’s most important.  Basically, I resolve to be more flexible.

Work begins on my legwarmers, yarn,  Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone and a tricksy knitter pattern making book that my sister gave me for Christmas

Work begins on my legwarmers: yarn, Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone and a tricksy knitter pattern making book that my sister gave me for Christmas

I’ve taken this resolution to the yoga mat with me a lot this week, and that’s inspired my first project of 2013: leg warmers to make the trudge through the snow to the studio a little easier.  Legwarmers require minimal shaping, so they’re a great place to play with texture.  My parents bought me Cables, Diamonds and Herringbone for Christmas, and I’m experimenting with the lovely fisherman’s sweater textures to make my legwarmers in Cascade Superwash paints.  I can’t wait to get these finished and on my legs.  When I do, I’ll share pictures, and the pattern.