Updated: Jun 6, 2020
My friend and I were looking to do something mindfulness-related for my birthday, given some recent realizations / reflections amidst the insane rush of life.
By a stroke of coincidence, my boss told me about Shan Living, started by his friend, and they had a workshop that had a mix of meditation and making something, which was a perfect fit for me!
Shan Living is located in a beautiful space – the third floor of an old shophouse, with an outdoor area (sorry, forgot to take photos!) to relax (soak your feet and drink tea) before the session, and an indoor area for meditation and craft.
The session comprised of two (related) parts – learning about and practising some basics of meditation and mindfulness, followed by making a set of mindfulness beads (bringing the same mindful frame of mind at that point).
Lovely space we sat at for the first part of the mindfulness and meditation
We selected the main crystals prior to the session, and got to choose the designs for some connecting beads. We also picked a “lucky crystal” from a bag, which sat with us throughout our session – mine was an amethyst.
Beautiful and calm area where we sat to string the beads
Silvia teaching us how to string the beads – we got to cleanse the crystals before starting (I lined mine up on a sheet of tissue to dry); that’s my lucky amethyst crystal sitting in the glass jar
The entire process includes some repetitive steps, not uncommon of craft workshops. The difference lies in the intention of these steps – here, we were told to think of someone / something we were grateful for, every time we tied a knot between each bead.
Knotting my way through the beads!
Almost done – just piecing together the bottom section, and making the tassel!
At the end of the session, we received a small bag of little crystal pieces, together with a pouch to keep our mindfulness beads in. Because the workshop was to celebrate my birthday, Silvia very kindly gifted me a beautiful rose quartz, too!
We ended the session with a short meditation session, where we were taught how to use our meditation beads to count our breaths while meditating.
Us and Silvia, the founder of Shan Living, and our instructor for the session!
This has been one of the more meaningful workshops I attended (given the objective and intent of it), and I have been trying to practise what I learnt from the workshop, and it does have a calming effect – will need to continue making an effort to consistently keep up with it!
Details of the workshop
Duration: Website listed 2.5 hours, but I would recommend blocking out at least 3 hours, in case you end up have a longer chat with the instructor, and if you take a bit more time on some parts of the beading – would defeat the purpose if you rush towards the end of the session, and lose the calmness built up!
Price: $148 per person, inclusive of all materials + everything else we got to bring home, and the session also comes with light snacks and tea. It also came with 10% off for group bookings (anything more than 1 person is considered a group!) we booked it on the Shan Living website
Level of “fun”: 3/5
I am not sure if “fun” is the right word to describe the workshop – perhaps calming and purposeful would be better words to describe it? It’s quite a different workshop compared to others I have done, because it focused more on the journey and intention (of mindfulness), rather than the output/product itself.
I enjoyed how Silvia explained the various meditation techniques to us, and also provided context behind the mindfulness beads, and the different crystals.
I noticed that many of the craft workshops I have gone for are meditative, but not explicitly communicated as such (I just came to that conclusion while reflecting and doing the tasks), and it was refreshing to reframe my mind for this workshop.
Level of difficulty: 2.5/5
The overall bead-making process wasn’t difficult, and Silvia was always there to give clear instructions, and offer help when we needed any. I told Silvia that I liked to do various craft projects, so she let me do a few other things myself, which she would typically do for students (e.g. melting a string to form joints on the holder) – that was a nice touch, to adapt the steps towards what she thought a student would enjoy.
The part that I think would be considered more “difficult” was to successfully meditate and get to the right mental state during the first part of the workshop. Meditation and mindfulness takes a lot of practice (I’ve tried it before but am still very new at it!), so don’t feel too bad about it!