Make Peyote Stitch Your Spiritual Practice

Apr 5, 2013

Many of us love to do bead-weaving, and peyote stitch in particular, because of its meditative nature. The gentle rhythms of peyote stitch, along with the little mantras, or sayings, that we repeat to ourselves as we stitch are so soothing and calming, it's no wonder that so many people consider bead-weaving to be a great form of stress relief!

But my love of peyote stitch has gone deeper lately, mostly because I've been going deeper into my yoga practice. At nearly every yoga class or home practice session, I find something else about yoga practice that is incredibly similar to improving my practice as a beader. For me, both practices are deeply spiritual, and both create a sense of peace and love in me that I can't help but pass on to others.

Here are two of my favorite teachings, or sutras, from my yoga practice, and how they can apply to your peyote stitch practice!

No Ego.

What does this mean? In yoga, it basically means that even though you're great at doing one-leg balancing poses, you might not be so good at poses that stretch the backs of your legs. Or you might not be able to do a forward bend, but can get yourself into a lunge very easily. It means that you don't feel bad if you have to drop down out of an intense pose like Downward Facing Dog to rest for a few minutes before continuing with your practice.

In yoga, having no ego means that you don't judge yourself or compare yourself to what others in the studio are doing. The whole point of doing yoga is so YOU get the most out of it -- not your neighbor.

I find it to be the same thing in peyote stitch. So what if you're not comfortable with flat, circular peyote stitch? You can whip up a tubular peyote rope faster than someone can say "Tulip needle", and that's your special gift. Don't judge your peyote stitch abilities based on what you see others doing, and you'll get more enjoyment out of everything you CAN do.

What can you learn? Don't judge your own skills by comparing them to someone else! You are unique, and your experience, whether it be from practicing peyote stitch or from practicing yoga, will not be like that of your neighbor. It's all good!

No Attachment.

This is another concept that might seem hard to understand, and can make some people defensive. Remember when I talked about how you shouldn't judge your own skills against what someone else can do? Well, the idea of no attachment means that you can't pat yourself on the back too much for your successes.

In my yoga class a few weeks ago, the instructor taught us a new pose called King Dancer. It involves balancing on one leg while reaching back, grabbing the other foot, and lifting that foot high into the air, all while pivoting forward at the hips to lean forward as far as you can, while keeping your other arm raised and in line next to your ear.

Now, when I saw her do this one, my first thought was, "No way." But, I gave it a chance, and sure enough, pretty soon I was giggling at how EASY this pose was, and how much I enjoyed it!

Fast forward to my next class, where we learned another standing balance pose. For this one, we had to bend one leg up against our body, raised off the floor, and then extend our entire leg so that you're standing one one leg with your other leg extended straight out in front of you, toes pointing towards the ceiling.

I had to laugh it off and just drop back down into a resting pose for a few minutes. I just can't stretch out my leg that far in front of me, yet. But that's the whole point of no attachment -- even if you get a new pose right away and can do it easily, there are always hundreds more poses just waiting for you to master, some of which are going to be very challenging. So, don't think that you've suddenly become a yoga master just because you fall easily into a new pose, because you've still got lots of work to do!

It's really the same way with peyote stitch. Sure, you can celebrate your success, but always remember that there will always be something new to learn, a new bead-weaving skill to master.

What can you learn? Congratulate yourself on your successes, but don't dwell on them. Don't beat yourself up for your failures. Just be in the moment!

Expand Your Peyote Stitch Practice

Are you ready to expand and go deeper into your peyote stitch practice? Don't forget that it's important to hold on to your "beginner's mind" as you go -- hold on to that feeling that you had when you were just starting out, the feeling that all things in peyote stitch (and yoga!) are possible!

We have a special collection of five of my favorite peyote stitch resources gathered together in the Peyote Stitch Ultimate Collection. If you're ready to become a peyote stitch master and discover all of its possibilities when used for beaded jewelry design, this is a collection that you'll want to add to your library. With peyote stitch instruction and beading projects from some of today's most talented and passionate bead artists, your creativity will soar when you see just what those little seed beads of yours are capable of when you use them in peyote stitch!

The wonderful Peyote Stitch Ultimate Collection includes a combination of print, video, and digital resources so that you can learn in the way that you're most comfortable. Get your copy of the Peyote Stitch Ultimate Collection before they disappear! (And if you want to get started on your peyote stitch journey right away, you can also download your copy of the Peyote Stitch Ultimate Collection in digital format and get all five resources in just minutes!)

Now it's your turn: tell us why you love peyote stitch, and how you can turn your peyote stitch practice into a spiritual practice! What life lessons do you learn from practicing peyote stitch? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts and stories with us!

Bead Happy,




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Jocille wrote
on Apr 5, 2013 3:24 AM

I'm sorry Jennifer.  I have nothing against Yoga, but I am interested in reading about Beading, not spiritual things on this site.  Please don't try to mix the two together for us.  It's great that you experience the similarity between Yoga & Peyote, but I want to read about beading only.  The way I mix Religion and Beadwork is to thank God for giving me "some" talent and offer my entire day and all my endeavors to Him every morning.

ottercat wrote
on Apr 5, 2013 5:55 AM

Thank you, Jennifer.  Your articles are always enlightening and informative.  'Beading -- it's a zen kind of thing' (for me) is the harmony that results when the physical and mental (frame of mind) unite/balance during the creative process.  Thanks for sharing your insight/experiences.  I have found that many crafts share common principles and by applying those, I can learn others.  I don't presume to speak for others, but I have met a few 'spiritual' people without a religion and some 'religious' people without spirituality (faith); which means (to me) that 'spirituality' (faith) doesn't necessarily equate with 'religion' (rites/practices).

on Apr 5, 2013 10:13 AM

Awww... Jennifer!  What a lovely piece you've taken the time to so thoughtfully piece together.  This article means more to me than you could know.  

I manage a bead shop and have taught many a customer and employee bead weaving.  The urge to compare ourselves to our peers and others can be so stifling that it often prevents us from creating anything at all, less it be "inferior" to the other creations that surround us.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  And those pieces we create in the beginning...they're so wonderful. . so full of learning. . .and such a wonderful talisman of our journey.

I'll be printing this out and posting it in our shop for all of the employees to read and relate to .  It's a wonderful thing to give ourselves permission to make "mistakes".

Thank you for exploring the thoughts and practices that drive us to create and evolve as craftspeople.  


mumsyof3 wrote
on Apr 5, 2013 11:02 AM

Jennifer- your blog today could not have been more timely for me personally.  I inherited 50+ years of beads and findings when my grandmother passed away.  She made costume jewelry for department stores.  I was in such awe of the things she made yet also too emotional to "use her things" that they sat for 20 years.  I am now tentatively using these beautiful things, trying to teach myself as I go along.  Initially, I was thrilled when my work looked hand made- not home made but the stitches and designs were simple.  As try more complicated patterns, I found I was becoming defeated: feeling I was not as creative as I'd thought I was.  Your blog has been printed out and re read twice so far today.   I've stated similar words to students I'm teaching in the past- NOW , I needed to be reminded myself.  Thank you for a very needed reminder- take a deep (yoga) breath, find your balance and celebrate what you can do, the harder stuff will come in time.

LOVE your blog, Beading Daily and Beadwork magazine- my grandmother would approve!

Christine Ross

claysu wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 6:34 AM

I loved your blog on the practice of peyote stitch.  Trained as a Process artist, these were the skills to creating that I learned.  When I practice the non-egoic skills that feed the Creative Process, I can find the heart of meditative silence.  Most anything created from There is beautiful, one way or another.

These days I find  great value in being in higher consciousness while functioning in the 'real' world.  Sharing the finished product is sharing some of the bliss of creating.

on Apr 6, 2013 1:04 PM

I find working with any medium that you are correct in not comparing ones self with others abilities... Creating for me is also thearpy in body, mind, and spirit... I have learned to not worry about my work not being perfect , as most people don't see the mistakes ... We are our own worst enemy when judging ourselves ... Thank you for the inspiration to continue to learn more challenging skills & not to compare my own skills to others ..

teop1 wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 11:27 PM

Lighten up, Jocille!  

lindalilac wrote
on Apr 8, 2013 10:49 AM

Love the turquoise/jade piece with 6 sided peyote elements and the two sided pattern (swirl on front). What book is that from please?

BeadPassions wrote
on Apr 11, 2013 1:02 AM

Jennifer, I have many times found interesting correlations between my spiritual interests and my beading endeavors, yoga in particular.  The ease with which you were able to bring the two together for comparison, overlay the thought processes, and gently and prosaically infer the differences was quite lovely.  It is all related in a subjective way with certain of us beader/seekers.  I thank you for your insight.  Right on, sister beady buddy!  Linda Thompson-Mills from the San Francisco Bay Area

grammy@22 wrote
on Apr 12, 2013 2:22 PM

I enjoy the peyote as a means of relaxation.  I use it in several ways.  If my time is short, I work flat and with a minimum of colors.  If I have longer to work, say riding in a car for a long trip, I might work on something larger.  I don't think of it as a religious experience.  I can not put that kind of connotation on beads.

on Apr 15, 2013 11:24 AM

Thank Jennifer for en-lighted comments and answers.As a Native American and having been doing bead work including "Peyote"Stitch. It is customary to leave a mistake purposefully because it is believed that only  our "Higher Power" make things perfect, Also when we give a beaded craft as a. gift we also give our thought and prayer (while making it) would be of extra benefit tom the donee.

On another note Jennifer I have never used a peyote bead graph paper to make a design, I would like to know more about it, To learn (round objects) to make and follow a pattern, It can be confusing,please let me know what you think? Thank you