Much of yoga principle and thought is based on the notion of inward, outward and upward. A yogini turns inwards to meditate and still the chattering mind. She may then move outward, putting effort into right work and right action. The ultimate goal is to move upward to a higher Self, an Absolute. What all this comes down to, as I see it, is that we examine our "self," whatever that may be and make an effort to use any knowledge to make our world a better place. Whether or not that involves an Absolute or just what that Absolute might be is up for debate.
How can we use spinning, knitting, etc. to practice yoga? We know that intense focus on spinning and knitting can lead to calming states, although these states may be more "zoning out" than becoming attuned. It's fairly easy to extend this knowledge into deliberate yoga/meditation practice. Find yourself a spindle, some fibre, a quiet, comfortable space to sit and begin.
Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes. That time will be devoted to spinning and only spinning. You will not be spinning for a purpose; you will not be spinning to fill time, to busy your hands while you watch television. You will not be spinning to escape anything; rather, your full attention will be on the spindle, the movement of fibre into yarn, the winding of yarn onto the spindle shaft, without judgment. Every time your mind wanders (and it will), bring your attention back to the spindle. If it helps your concentration, focus on one aspect of spinning, such as the turn of the whorl or drafting, or the feel of the yarn as it changes from fibre to string.
At first you'll be restless, even if (perhaps especially if) you are an experienced spinner. You will wander off into thinking, judging your actions and their results. When you become aware of this, gently bring yourself back to spindle and yarn. The awareness of wandering mind is part of mindfulness. You will think, "This is silly, boring, useless, fun, whatever." None of this matters. Remember, you don't have to like the practice; you just have to do it. Stay with it, no matter how difficult or easy this practice seems, until the timer ends your session. Slowly, put spindle and fibre aside and resume your usual activities.
Doing daily spinning meditation sessions, 10 minutes a day, is akin to the time you spent learning to spin in the first place. Here, you're training mind to stay in the moment, to bring your full attention back to spinning, not allowing the muscle memory you developed when you learned to spin to lull you into mindlessness. Keep at it and you may find that your "monkey mind" becomes a bit calmer and you move into stillness more easily.
It's a simple idea, but it must be practiced, rather than explained, in order to receive any benefits which may or may not occur. Start now. Pay attention.
Simple. Not so easy.