What You Know May Kill You

(…or Simply Drive You Bonkers)
As defined by the World Health Organization’s Constitutional Preamble, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

I’ll subscribe to that definition. Our health is comprised of a complex interaction of biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors. But how is balance of these variables, which are constantly in flux, established and maintained?

I venture to espouse that dancing through life in a more wide-awakened state contributes to a healthier balance— up to a point. Über-mindfulness, 
hyper-awareness and individuated sensitivities can herald a cascade of unpleasant diminishing returns, invoking a host of anxieties.

Image Source: parvezsagarfoundation.blogspot.com/2011/04/happy-world-health-day-2011.html

Knowing too much about the innumerable, often contradictory theories on striking, what ostensibly should be a mellifluous balance, can result in some serious imbalance. My teacher prudently advised, “Think less, feel more.” Maybe all that’s needed is silence, mental space and self-compassion. Balance is not about being perfectly still. Slight adjustments constantly need to be made, just like in challenging yoga postures, or when playing music in tune.

I am reminded of the steadfast focus of Arjuna (a hero of the Mahabharata, an Indian epic), as he exclaims to his teacher, "Sir! Now I can't even see the body of the bird. All that I can see now is the eye, which is to be my target. If you are to ask me whether the eye belongs to a bird or to a beast, I am not in a position to reply as I see only the eye and nothing but the eye." (Quote Source)

Laser-like focus is often required to masterfully execute intensely challenging tasks. But, as a long-term strategy, it may be most efficacious to hone the ability to zoom in and out, with mindfulness, so as not to get saddled into a rigid zoomed-in focus. Although the calibration of this inner lens will vary from person-to-person and will change over time within each of us, it is an invaluable skill to come closer to balance in an ever-changing internal and external environment.

These days, I find myself agreeing more and more with the adage, “What you don’t know won’t kill you.”

We each experience a unique cocktail of stressors that overload and weaken our inner-balance and can make us feel marooned on the shores of imbalance. Breathe. Move. And, repeat— all while thinking less and feeling more.

Nicole Newman is a conservatory-trained flutist, who developed scoliosis after many years of practice, without instruction in mind-body-instrument awareness. Through yoga, Nicole realigned her spine. As a Yoga Alliance Certified Educator, Nicole dedicates herself to sharing the gift of yoga by founding Yoga for the Arts (www.yogaforthearts.com). Nicole’s mission is to help artists live happier, healthier, more artistically productive lives.

E-mail Nicole with questions about Yoga for the Arts: [email protected]