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  • Writer's pictureJamie Elmer

Advice from a neurosurgeon (Spring, 2021)

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Good morning! I have an interesting story I’d like to share with you…

This past week I went with a family member to see a neurosurgeon. It wasn’t the first visit or experience with this doctor, and once again, as before, it was reassuring to hear him talk about refraining from surgery as long as possible, and the importance of physical fitness and cross training for overall physical health.

After he discussed the specifics of the visit, and went over the recent MRI, he spent the other half of the appointment talking about how important it was for people to not only keep moving and exercising in different ways, but that FORM is of the utmost importance. He mentioned several times, examples of people doing things like push ups, or planks, and if their form was good, it was healing and beneficial, and if their form was off, these same exercises were doing more harm than good.

I LOVED hearing him talk about this.

Why? First of all, I’ve heard too many times in my teaching career things like, “yoga hurt my back”, or “Pilates injured my neck”. And believe me, years ago, I said similar things. But now, I say no. It wasn’t playing basketball or a plank position that hurt you, it was HOW you performed said activity. Movement is medicine. All different types of movement can be medicine depending on HOW we practice those movements.

In one of my teacher trainings with Annie Carpenter years ago, she said, “Yoga, by nature, is therapeutic”. (At least that is what I remember her saying!) But it clicked for me. A posture, an exercise by nature is worthwhile, healing, strengthening and balancing, depending on HOW we practice it.

I’m a dancer at heart, and love to MOVE! But now that enough time and years have gone by, I appreciate the necessity of alignment while moving. Without alignment, without focusing on form, we’re not necessarily helping ourselves, but may instead, be doing more harm than good.

So, get out there. Move. Choose activities that are fun and that you look forward to. And, don’t forget to focus some on form and alignment. It will help you in the long run. Don’t just take it from me, but my family’s trusted neurosurgeon!

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