I was not a true believer in the healing power of Yoga, Pilates and Stretching classes until my Chiropractor told me, straight faced, that I would no longer need to see him any longer if I started a regular yoga, Pilates or stretching regimen. This doctor was willing to sacrifice my money in order to tell me the truth about taking care of my body. I have not seen a chiropractor in over 2 years.
Just in case one person's opinion does not sway you (All you researchers and research assistants out there, i am talking to you!), I ran across an article in my latest edition of AFAA's (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) monthly magazine that will give you a little more scientific evidence on the subject.
The largest randomized & controlled study to date on yoga was published by the Archives of internal medicine in October, 2011 (included 228 adults in 6 cities with moderate back pain). The study showed that weekly yoga and stretching classes were effective in the treatment of low back pain and the improvement of back movement. The benefits of both types of classes were even shown to last months after the classes ended! Americans spend over 50 billion dollars per year on back pain and it is the most common cause of job related disability. Various treatments are available but few have actually proved effective in getting to the root of the problem (consider medicines- they can mask the pain but the problem is still there). After 12 weeks (75 minute classes) of yoga or stretching classes back related function was better and decreased use of pain medications lasted at least 6 months, shown in the follow up of more than 9 in 10 participants! "Our results suggest that both yoga and stretching can be good safe options for people who are willing to try physical activity to relieve their moderate low back pain" - Dr. Karen Sherman of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle
Currently the UAB Campus recreation center offers yoga, Pilates and stretching classes in the morning, at lunch time as well as in the later afternoon (all currently available to members free of charge).
References:Sherman, K.J., et al. "A randomized trial comparing yoga, stretching, and a self care book for chronic low back pain." Archives of internal medicine 2011; http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106098 (accessed August 17th 2012)"Largest U.S. Study Shows Yoga Eases Back Pain." American Fitness. March-April 2012: 8. Print.