CLOSE TO HOME| Nimble hands, nimble minds

ONLY TWO decades ago, we still see our oldies knitting and crocheting. Many times back then, I would see a grandmother of some playmates who would sew and knit while we run around and play. These days, I rarely see that and I see many adults, counting myself in, so hooked on the screen.

I learned knitting way back in 2014, when as a parent, I needed to attend the knitting session at the Tuburan Institute. I had complained during that time because I was so sure that I did not have “the gift” for doing handicrafts. But when I finally moved past the learning curve, I found the activity engaging that I can go on and on with the repetitive patterns of the needles. Even when I learned it though, I was not able to practice it fully because I had so many excuses. It became a practice when I finally became a teacher because I must teach knitting to my students starting Class One.

Last year, I took on the habit of knitting and each time when I feel that the world is closing in or that time is flying so fast, I knit and I often sense my being getting hold of my very own self.

In an article entitled The Healing Benefits of Knitting, written by Jane E. Brody and published by the New York Times, the repetitive action of needlework was identified by Dr. Herbert Benson, the author of “The Relaxation Response,” as an activity that can induce a relaxed state associated with yoga and meditation. Knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, the article also says. Perhaps the plus with these handworks is that after doing it, one can make useful and beautiful creations that can also increase the feeling of productivity.

 The article furthers that a 2011 study led by Dr. Yonas E. Geda, published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, found that people ages 70 to 89 who are engaged in crafts like knitting and crocheting have reduced chances of acquiring cognitive impairment and memory loss.

 In Waldorf Schools, knitting is being taught to children starting Class One because they help the children in grasping algorithm by allowing the neurons to wire in a way that will help them to process better mathematical concepts. Knitting time is usually the quietest time in my class. For 10 to 15 minutes, I bask in silence because my children are so deep into the process of knitting. At the end of a project, I sense their excitement in creating another. Their interest keeps growing.

For us adults, our lives have been run by urgency and busy-ness and this usually happens without us noticing it until the manifestations of stress take a toll on our bodies. Perhaps, taking on this little activity for at least an hour of the day will make it easier for us to cope with our days. I used to complain that social media is overrated but I feel that there is nothing else to do, so I stay hooked. When I began to knit, I felt a sense of empowerment and I am glad that I’m able to educate my hands to do the things I thought I would never do in my life.

A mentor and friend Bella Tan once told me that the way to nimble minds is nimble hands. I’m sure this applies to everyone, the younger generation and us. We ought to educate our hands to do useful stuff that the people who surround us may also enjoy.

(Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan works as Nurturer at Tuburan Institute. For inquiries and comments, feel free to reach her at hello@joanmaesoco.com)

Posted in Opinion