As an additional string to my yoga bow I have started making Mala beads. If you are not sure what these are, they are Yogic meditation beads. They have 108 beads with a guru bead at the centre, with the number 108 said to hold spiritual significance (I'll write a separate blog post about that soon).
I am making them initially for myself and also as gifts for friends, but eventually I'd like to make my offering available for purchase probably on Etsy. Mala beads can really beautiful aesthetically but can also be a really effective tool to help you with meditation (again another post...).
As I'm making these Mala's, which are hand knotted between each bead. I've noticed a couple of things about myself. Firstly my perfectionist tendencies which I normally work quite hard to keep quelled as I think it can be a waste of time!
But as I'm making these beads and tying these knots, if the knot I've tied isn't 100% perfect I've been undoing them...I just can't leave it be. Which is good in terms of me making a quality product if I intend to sell them, as I believe if you want to share something with anybody, especially if you intend there to be a monetary exchange, it should be the best it can be.
However sometimes these knots take a while to undo, and I have to work at them with my little crochet hook. I just keep working at it, and changing my angle and perspective, and then trying again. It might even take 5-10 minutes. But then all of a sudden... I feel a tiny little give, a smidgen of space and then whoosh! The knot unravels! The process can be really frustrating, but ultimately satisfying.
And it reminded me of Yoga practice. Both asana (physical) and meditation. In asana, sometimes you feel like you are making no "progress" in a pose, but you keep at it, you keep moving to your edge, and holding it, and breathing and finding steadiness "Sthira Sukham". And then one day...you start to feel that little pinhole of space and you edge it and whoosh, just like the knot in the mala, the asana opens up to you. It may even take years.
For example, when I did my first hand stand: I just couldn't do it. Couldn't do it as a kid; couldn't do it now. I went to class and did my home practice and diligently practiced other asanas, and did the prep work for handstand. But Nada. It eluded me.
Then one day, I was actually at home resting in bed as I had a bit of a cold. I had the urge try a handstand so I got out of bed, went over to the wall and I suddenly kicked up and I was in a handstand! If I wasn't upside down concentrating very hard I would have fallen down in shock!
Same with meditation. Sometimes you may sit and sit and sit and feel like nothing is happening....but just keep going. One day you will see the space and move right into it. The knot will open and there you will be - right in the middle of the space that you thought never even existed.
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in". - Leonard Cohen