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Weaving as a Meditative Practice for Self-Care and Stress Relief: Part One

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

Weaving has been used for centuries as a form of creative expression, but it can also be used as a form of self-care and mindfulness practice. Weaving can be meditative, helping to promote relaxation and anxiety relief through repetitive motions and active focusing needed to engage in the weaving process. Weaving can be a form of self-care, as it asks that we remain present with ourselves in the moment for a designated amount of time and to uphold the intention of finding a state of peace and concentration with the act of weaving. For many people, weaving provides an opportunity to focus on a repetitive task and block out distractions and this can often lead to a relief of anxiety.

As noted above, weaving can be a deeply calming and meditative activity. The repetitive motion of the shuttle passing through the warp threads can help to quiet the mind and promote relaxation. The in and out motion that repeats over and over becomes a meditative action in which we can ground ourselves to in the moment. Also, there is a sensory quality of the materials that allows us to remain grounded in the moment- we begin to focus on how the various textiles feel in our hands and pay attention to what those sensations evoke for us on an emotional level.

Our purpose for engaging in this activity may reflect a need to feel grounded, to work through difficult feelings in a safe and individualized way, or to experience more positive feelings, a sense of mastery, a positive form of distraction, and cognitive stimulation. We may be searching for a way to improve our sense of confidence and skills by building mastery of the weaving process and learning how to effectively manipulate the textiles to create an interwoven pattern. The activity itself requires a level of fine motor skills to be able to feed the thread through the vertical strings on the loom. This can be a great activity to work on improving fine motor skills and concentration for hand eye coordination.

Weaving can help to distract from stressors, by gently bringing our attention to the action in front of us rather than our thoughts about a recent event or a work-related task. As a form of mindfulness, we align with the belief that any activity that allows us to be present with what is in front of us and to connect our bodies and minds with the external moment benefits our mental health. We can remind ourselves that this time we are taking to engage in this weaving activity is meant to hold space for our sense of peace and not for our demands or stressors outside of this creative space.

The process of weaving can also improve problem-solving skills, and boost creativity. When we are weaving our fabric or string into the strings on the loom, we are making decisions about how long our string should be, what colors to add, how to transition to another color, how to add in an additional strand, and how to change directions. Often an individual will encounter multiple decisions at one time and this process allows us to work with our choices, adapt to unexpected happenings and reimagine our mistakes into creative opportunities to change directions in our work.

There is a beautiful metaphor that stems from the process of weaving; weaving becomes associated with combining and interconnecting pieces, strands, parts that had not been in relationship before in the same way and creating a new ‘whole’. When used in a therapeutic way, weaving can aid an individual in processing feelings of loss and grief, identity issues or anxiety by combining a soothing process with a visual created by one’s hand. The types of fabrics and yarns used for the weaving may be personal or evoke strong emotions in the process and the sense of touch in particular can bring about strong emotions.

In our next blog post, we will outline the weaving process and provide options for creating your own loom at home!

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