I'll concede that the idea that yoga might aid with an aching back is not exactly groundbreaking. (Deep stretching and sustained, strengthening poses might help iron out some kinks from a long day of sitting at my desk? Shocking.) But I also won't pretend that the progress I've charted through my own practice hasn't been significant. After years of grimacing through lower back issues – and, more recently, a stubborn pinched nerve in my shoulder blade with a tendency to shoot pain down my left arm at any given moment – I've been virtually pain-free since committing to near-daily yoga late last year. It's truly the best physical therapy I could have asked for, without the headache of an insurance copay.