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Yoga for Lower Back Pain

"At least 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime... In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults experienced low back pain in the past 3 months," according to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

"Recent studies in people with chronic low back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function (the ability to walk and move). Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help relieve anxiety and depression," according to a NCCIH article.

Yoga, meaning "unity" in Sanskrit, "unites a mind and body practice," according to a National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH)

Yoga is believed to have originated in the 5th or 6th centuries BCE in India. But it didn't become popular in the west until the 20th Century. Just twenty years ago, if you practiced yoga, you may have been skeptically regarded as a "hippie" or "a little too new age." But today, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner. In fact, it's become so mainstream, that my physical therapist recommended yoga to me for healing from my particular knee and back surgeries of last year (I've been a practicioner for at least ten years), though I adapt poses to my individual needs, per her instructions (and which you should do per your doctor's instructions).

I recommend yoga or any other mindfulness meditation practices for my clients when changing their lifestyle habits. It is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you transform your health and your life. The mindfulness you can experience with yoga (or other forms of meditation) can help you become more focused and clear, for concentration to be more sustained. It can help you handle emotional situations more effectively by improving decision making and reducing impulsivity, as I relate in my article, "Mindfulness in Eating and Living," and I describe in my book, "Diet Simple."