New You for a New Year

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. It was certainly a nice long weekend.
So now we turn to the New Year. Since this is a time of year when many people decide to make a new beginning, here is one more reason to include yoga and pilates in your list of resolutions.
It will probably come as no surprise to most of you that approximately 85% of Americans experience low back pain at some point in their lives.  How to deal with low back pain?  The solution may be a bit more of a surprise. According to Harvard Medical School, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Mayo Clinic, exercise is listed as the number one solution for low back pain prevention.  The most important goals when exercising for this purpose are stretching the back and legs and strengthening the core (abdominal) muscles. And now for some really good news:  yoga and pilates both include exercises that do exactly that and more.
If you want more information, check out this article on exercising to beat back pain. And remember – there are no requirements in any class. If any move is too difficult or challenging, don’t do it.  Simple as that.  Just do what you can. No matter what that is it’s better than doing nothing.  The more you move, the easier it gets.  And, conversely, the less you move the more difficult it gets.  So start where you are and go from there.  We are all an experiment of one.  Pilates and yoga are designed to strengthen the connection between your mind and your body.  Focus on your own body and your own needs. You may be surprised to find out how much you actually can do and how much better you feel when you do it.
There are always caveats and all practioners should check with a health care professional before starting any exercise program.  Also, a private session with an experienced teacher may be a better choice than a class for anyone with specific concerns.  But most people can do more than they think they can.  And it is my firm belief that if you can move, there is a movement program that can be designed to help you maintain or even improve your abilities.
So before you say “I can’t”, give it a try.  There will never be a better time than now.
Happy New Year to all.  It is my fervent hope that we find a way to experience peace on our planet.  Peace and non-violence begin with each individual.  May you each find your own peace this year.
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