Sites We Love: MindBodyGreen

MindBodyGreen is one of the web’s leading sites for health and wellness—both physical and emotional—that’s approached from a mind/body standpoint. Ranked by Alexa as one of the top 3,500 sites in the world in terms of traffic, MindBodyGreen offers the collected wisdom of thought leaders, yoga teachers, medical professionals, and others offering advice on diet, nutrition, meditation, and emotional health.

The site is the brainchild of founder Jason Wachob, who developed the idea for the site after yoga saved his back and helped him avoid surgery.

Wachob first developed back problems while living the fast-paced and hectic life of a startup entrepreneur. The high stress levels of his job weren’t doing his body any good. All the while, Wachob had to stick to a relentless schedule of traveling 150,000 miles a year while building his organic cookie company. He tells the Good Life Project:

“I was fit, but I wasn’t well: I had two extruded discs in my lower back, which were pressing on my sciatic nerve. (Translation: excruciating pain.)”

Two doctors told him he needed surgery, but Wachob didn’t want to go under the knife. He took a different path. Instead of getting surgery, Wachob turned to yoga to heal his body. He had already been exposed to the ideas of healthy, organic living through his cookie company. Although the company produced junk food, it was organic and sold in natural health markets nationwide.

But despite this early exposure to an organic, natural way of life, Wachob wasn’t initially interested in yoga and other healing practices. He would go to the gym and lift weights, but that activity did nothing to help his back. Through yoga, Wachob says he completely healed his back and avoided surgery.

MindBodyGreen founder used yoga to heal excruciating pain from extruded spinal discs.

He would practice twice a day, just four or five poses on his own, in a gentle way that worked for him, instead of going to a class and moving through a sequence that would potentially be too vigorous for him. Within a couple weeks, his sciatic nerve pain began to recede, retreating further and further up his leg until it disappeared entirely. Wachob says:

“I thought health was about going to the gym and looking good…Health was about weight loss. But through this experience, it became very clear that health was not just about weight loss.”

Instead, Wachob says, health is the result of a three-dimensional foundation that includes spirituality and feeling good about yourself, moving your body in a mindful way, and eating nutritious food that’s good for you and the environment.

For MindBodyGreen founder, living with chronic pain was the catalyst to uncovering his life purpose.

The experience spurred Wachob to abandon the cookie company and put all of his energy into building MindBodyGreen, which he envisioned as a media property that would make wellness accessible to the masses. He found two co-founders who worked on the project part-time. Wachob wanted to use the Internet as a megaphone for spreading ideas of health.

The name MindBodyGreen represents the mindset, physical activity, and nutrition that support a life of vitality and health. In September 2009, Wachob started the site, pouring all his energy into building content and traffic, even as the economy was crashing all around him and media companies in particular were undergoing massive layoffs in response to crushing debt.

Wachob had worked in startups, but never in media, and didn’t know anything about what it would take to build a successful website. Fortunately for him, it was a time of experimentation because no media company fully understood how to make money online. Everyone was figuring it out. It took two years for the site to become profitable and for Wachob to be certain that the project would become a success.

In the meantime, Wachob’s wife supported him and he pushed through with the optimism and certainty that the site would not only earn money eventually, but that it was his life purpose.

Today, millions of people visit MindBodyGreen every month, looking for inspiration to turn their lives around and improve wellness on both the physical and emotional levels.

While the mission of making wellness information available to the masses has stayed the same, Wachob says the format of the site has changed. At first, he was the sole writer and content promoter, creating one post per day. He did everything from write content to promote the site on social media and later, edit submissions.

Eventually, friends he made in the wellness industry while growing the site—yoga teachers, nutritionists, and others—asked if the site accepted guest posts. Wachob said yes, and MindBodyGreen began to evolve. Today, the site continues to grow and it now offers paid content like educational video courses in yoga, meditation, stress management, and other ways to live your ideal life.

Ultimately, Wachob says, he turned his pain into his calling. He says:

“I definitely believe this is my life’s mission.”

His mantra has been:

“I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but I know it’s going to happen.”

On the site, chronic pain patients will find articles and videos that will help them learn how to meditate, reduce stress, and learn yoga. Video sessions offer paid content that’s targeted to beginners, offering comprehensive information to guide you through things like yoga and meditation even if you’ve never done them before.

MindBodyGreen’s food section offers a repository of delicious recipes and inspiration for eating healthier, such as this article describing ways to sneak more vegetables into your diet.

Reading the articles and implementing the tips into your life can help reduce stress and inflammation, which could both help reduce pain. Learning ways to incorporate more movement and healthy food into your life are also wonderful ways of minimizing pain and improving quality of life.

Some of the ideas and methods described might seem a little too far-out depending on your personal viewpoints, but simply ignore what doesn’t resonate with you. Much of the site’s content has the potential to dramatically improve how good you feel on a daily basis. Wachob says he strives to keep the tone inclusive and accessible. He says:

“I think wellness should be fun and for everyone.”

Find the site online at Mindbodygreen.com, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Have you ever visited MindBodyGreen? What is your favorite wellness site?

Image by Take Back Your Health Conference via Flickr

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