Training Courses for Qualified Yoga Teachers

Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Training

HELP US TO ALLOW YOGA HAVE A BIG AND POSITIVE IMPACT NOW – keeping to the evidence-base.  This specific yoga research (and YHLB course) contributes significantly to the body of evidence that yoga works for back pain (Cochrane, UK national guidelines for low back pain with or without sciatica, and other reviews)  – therefore the general public and referrers are seeking this yoga now. Public Health England list the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ programme as one of 7 interventions that would offer commissioners a good return on investment (£10 for every £1 spent, includes QALYs and productivity lost).

Experienced yoga teachers interested in teaching this safe, effective and research-proven yoga programme can apply to train.  Learn how to introduce the sequences appropriately according to the carefully-designed course, Teachers’ Manual and differing 12 class plans.



‘YOGA for Healthy Lower Backs’ –  Teacher Training COURSE (YHLB TT).  Provided by The Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – approved by national yoga governing body for Sport England and Sports & Recreation Alliance, British Wheel of Yoga, as a Recognized Centre of Excellence in Training and Standards.  4 Units = 300 hour course – 2 intensive training weekends; home study and practice; mentor-supported 12-week course teaching as trainee.  Full Course Programme below.

Tutor:  Alison Trewhela (Cornwall UK)  Original trial tutor and designer of the YHLB programme and sole YHLB TT Course Trainer.  Contact Alison via the Contacts page to register your interest in future courses (or to invite her to teach in your area).

There has been considerable interest in this specific evidence-based yoga programme from potential yoga students,workplaces and from GPs and health providers.  This course opens up opportunities to offer this 12-week yoga programme under the recommendation of the NHS,  within workplace settings and for Councils.


Shropshire, Shrewsbury 2018

Level 1 – Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th April 2018

Level 2 – Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July 2018


Poole, Dorset 2018

Level 1 – Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July 2018

Level 2 – Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September 2018


Penryn, Cornwall 2018/2019

Level 1 – Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December 2018

Level 2 – Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April 2019


Edinburgh, Scotland 2019

Level 1 – Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May 2019

Level 2 – Saturday 3rd and 4th August 2019


Chesham, Buckinghamshire 2019

Level 1 – Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May 2019

Level 2 – Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July 2019


2020  – Potentially – Bristol and/or Cornwall plus another – please express your interest in courses.


It is often possible to attend Level 1 in one area and to swap to another area for Level 2.

Click here for downloadable sheet and send to [email protected] Application Form – Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs TT

Alison has already trained teachers in:-

  • Buckinghamshire, High Wycombe
  • Cornwall, Penryn
  • Cumbria, Penrith
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • South Yorkshire, Sheffield
  • Wales, Swansea
  • Norfolk, Norwich
  • Buckinghamshire, Chesham
  • Merseyside, Liverpool
  • Wiltshire, Devizes
  • Stirlingshire, Scotland
  • Hertfordshire, Albury
  • London, Central
  • Scotland, Edinburgh
  • West Yorkshire, Leeds
  • Hampshire, Southampton
  • Tyne and Wear, Newcastle
  • Surrey, Cobham
  • Warwickshire, Warwick
  • Kent, Royal Tunbridge Wells
  • South Yorkshire, Rotherham

Other localities and dates on demand – please ask tutor.

2017-2018 Course Costs:- £100 per day, i.e. £400 total. (Price includes mentor support during taught 12-week course.)   (2016 Course Costs:- £85 per day.)  Our aim is to keep the cost of the course as low as possible in order to share this exciting evidence-based programme for the good of yoga, yoga teachers and those with back pain. 

Already trained YHLB Teachers may attend chosen repeat/refresher days at a 50% reduced fee and these count towards yoga CPD points. 

SEEKING COURSE ORGANIZERS –  In order for yoga to benefit more from this evidence-based research, we need to have more teachers with the quality of knowledge and skills in order to be able to professionally pass on this yoga programme effectively and safely.  If you would like to invite Alison Trewhela to a suitable venue near you to teach the full 4-day ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ Teacher Training course and you think that approx. 15 experienced teachers would be likely to be interested in attending this, please contact Alison via the Contact the Authors page on this website for further details of how this could work.  Thank you for your help and support with this.

We want to share this information with others.

CPD Days for Fully Qualifed YHLB Teachers

– For those who have ideally taught a minimum of 2 YHLB 12-week courses, but please ask nearer the time to see if there are spaces if you have taught less than this.  

(Please book through Alison on [email protected]):-


CPD 1 Focus on Discs.  North London, Chesham, Bucks (Bagnall Integrative Healthcare Centre) – Sunday 9th November 2014 – 10.00-16.00

CPD1 Focus on Discs.  Cornwall, Penryn (The ZedShed) – Saturday 22nd November 2014 – 10.45-16.45.


CPD1 Focus on Discs.  Liverpool (YogaYou Sanctuary, Wirral) – Saturday 26th September 2015 – 11.30-17.30.


CPD2 Focus on Facet Joints and Spondylolisthesis.  Cornwall (ZedShed, Penryn) – Saturday 19th March 2016 – 10.45-16.45.

CPD1 Focus on Discs.  Falkirk (on trainline between Edinburgh and Glasgow) – Saturday 6th August 2016 – 10.00-16.00

CPD1 Focus on Discs.  North of London, Chesham, Bucks – Saturday 3rd December 2016 – 1.30-7.30  (CPD2 on following day.)

CPD2 Focus on Facet Joints and Spondylolisthesis.  North of London, Chesham, Bucks – Sunday 4th December 2016 – 10.00-4.00.  (Preceded by CPD1 on previous day.)


CPD Teams – Team-building, NHS work. Penryn, Cornwall.  Sunday 19th March 2017 – 11.00-3.00

CPD New Teachers Manual.


CPD Pain plus Experience of Class Plan Teaching. Penryn, Cornwall.  Friday 7th September (7.45-9.45 pm); Saturday 8th September (11.00-5.00); Sunday 9th September (11.00-2.00)


Future CPD

CPD Focus The Psychology of Pain

CPD Sacroiliac Joints

CPD Management of LBP Flare-Ups through Yoga

CPD Importance of Class 1

CPD YHLB to help those living with osteoarthritis


Arlene Angela Dunkley Wood Testimonial

Information Re. APPLICATIONS FOR TRAINING IN ‘YOGA FOR HEALTHY LOWER BACKS’ PROGRAMME (To view and download documents- see links below)

Click here for our PDF  to learn more. Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Trifold Info Leaflet vSept2018

‘YOGA for Healthy Lower Backs’ 




Our ground-breaking University of York research and past research (K. Williams et al and K. Sherman et al and others) has shown that specialized group yoga is effective against chronic, episodic, or recurring low back pain, disability and depression in low back pain sufferers. Arthritis Research UK generously funded this research. Through this course, learn how to safely and effectively teach our specially-designed, 12-class yoga programme designed for newcomers to yoga with non-specific chronic low back pain as used in The University of York’s high-profile randomized controlled trial research. This yoga is one of the best evidence-based treatments available for this common condition. Our published Economics paper shows it would be likely to be cost-effective within an NHS setting. Everyone has a lower back – learn how to rebuild, strengthen and maintain its health. Please let other teachers know about this training.

Prerequisites: This training course with considerable home study and mentor-supported Trainee course teaching requirements is available for sharing.  In order to maintain quality and standards, it is only suitable for fully-qualified / certificated (ideally 500 hr course or 200 hr plus additional CPD/Module hours) and already experienced yoga teachers. A minimum of 4 years’ post-qualification yoga teaching experience is required before undertaking this training to teach the full ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) programme, as well as an interest in teaching the 12-class courses to newcomers to yoga with generalized low back pain. We especially appreciate the uptake and support of senior teachers and those interested in therapeutic yoga. Iyengar Yoga teachers and British Wheel of Yoga teachers were trained and taught for the trial. Other yoga teacher qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, bearing in mind that ideally applicants will have completed a 500 hour yoga teacher training course over a period of a minimum of 12 months along with practical learning and peer-reviewed assessment.

National Approval: The British Wheel of Yoga, as the national governing body for yoga for Sport England and Sports & Recreation Alliance, have approved Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs teacher training course as a Recognized Centre of excellence in training and standards.  Only high quality and already-qualified and experienced yoga teachers may attend this training course. The University of York and Arthritis Research UK support the rolling out of this unique ‘best practice’ evidence-based yoga programme and support Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs.  Details of those who have satisfactorily completed the training weekends will be listed in the Trainee Teacher section on the website. To be listed as a fully-qualified YHLB teacher and put on the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Teachers Register’, you will also need to have satisfactorily completed the teaching of your first 12-week, mentor-supported Trainee YHLB course and the full training requirements.

Many national associations are supportive of this teacher training course and its tutor, and recognize the value of the evidence-base of this 12-week course.  Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs is a member organisation of BCYT (British Council for Yoga Therapy), and liaises with them to help raise the profile and standards of UK therapeutic yoga teaching.

The main aim is to remain true to the research by keeping to the evidence-base. For consistency, quality and standards, the same programme designer, original trial teacher trainer and lead yoga consultant, Alison Trewhela, will continue to tutor all of these courses.  Tutor CV:

This course has already proved its usefulness and quality, and the 12-class YHLB programme has proven its effectiveness and value, by being taught successfully by multiple teachers during the research itself. The use of this yoga programme was approved by The University of York’s York Trials Unit (within The Health Sciences Department) and was initially overseen by experts, including a member of the EU ‘Back Pain Guidelines’ committee and medical academics. Many senior yoga teachers were consulted during the design phase.  The research trial, the yoga programme plus the educational resources – Students’ Manual (now the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book published by Lotus Publishing), the Teachers’ Manual and the 58-minute ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – Relaxations’ CD – were supported by both The British Wheel of Yoga and the Iyengar Yoga Association (UK). The 80+-page Teachers’ Manual contains the 12 differing class plans, diagnostic information and more specific teaching points. The training course uses all these resources as support for the hands-on practical learning of how to carefully, safely and effectively introduce the yoga poses and sequences.  The medical profession and the general public will appreciate the fact that uniquely these teachers have trained to deliver this programme in the same way as was done for the original research trial, including ensuring teachers have a good understanding of back function / dysfunction and observational expertise. This is the website dedicated to educating about and promoting the YHLB yoga programme. The general public, yoga teachers, healthcare providers and commissioning bodies and potential students can gain information about the YHLB programme and its development on this website. It has links to videos and gives information about future developments. Please subscribe to our free newsletter via Help to create a buzz about the website by telling others about it.

CPD is on offer.

Application Process:  Please send an email subject-headed as follows:   ‘Application – Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs (YHLB) Teacher Training  to Alison Trewhela on [email protected]  Ideally, please use the Application Form available for download above – send this back completed as a Word document attachment or just simply copy and paste your filled-out form into an email.

Please aim to complete this application process as soon as possible to ensure you get a place – if possible, a minimum of a month before commencement of the course, in order to ensure readiness of educational materials.

We do understand that some of you may not be as computer-knowledgeable as others, but please forgive us for trying to become more efficient via digital technology. Having personally answered enquiries for over a year, we realize this is not sustainable due to high demand and other project workload, BUT please do email, if you encounter difficulties and wish to speak to a ‘real’ person. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to receiving your application form.

Confirmation of Attendance: Once we have accepted your application and confirmed your place on a specific course, your place will be reserved, but please email if due to unforeseen circumstances you are unable to attend. Many courses are over-subscribed and places are limited. Please note that you will need to make your course payments just before each training weekend.

(Repeat/Refresher Days for those who have already completed the full training days = Half price.)

Many thanks for your interest and support.     



In order to have the beneficial impact deserved of the large, high-profile, University of York 2005-2011 yoga research project, experienced (minimum of 4 years) yoga teachers interested in training in how to deliver the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ programme are sought. This research was published in one of the top international medical journals (Nov 1st 2011) and showed the gentle Beginners’ 12-week yoga course to be safe and effective giving both short- and long-term improvements for those with non-specific chronic low back pain. Comparing it to other equally rigorously-tested treatment options for this prevalent condition (80% of people), the RCT research showed that this yoga programme was one of the most effective currently available and one that physicians should be comfortable to recommend as a first-line treatment option.

Furthermore, in another cost-evaluation published research paper (Aug 15th 2012), it showed that this yoga programme would be cost-effective for the NHS and the economy/society compared to other options. This did not take into account the probable life-long additional health promotional benefits that a self-management yoga programme such as this is likely to offer. Over the 12 months studied, those in the yoga group had an average of only 3.83 days off work compared to 12.29 in the usual care control group. The majority of the yoga group participants were still practising yoga twice a week even 9 months after completing the 12-week yoga intervention.

The value of the research for yoga will be heightened and maintained if we preserve the evidence-based programme in the way that the funding charity Arthritis Research UK envisaged. The fully-resourced 12-week yoga programme taught now in the same way as in the research is what is being looked for by the general public, health professionals and commissioners. Remaining true to the research will help to raise the profile of yoga and yoga teachers.

There are currently approx. 175 teachers trained in YHLB (Autumn 2012 – mid-2016 = 400 teachers), but we need more of us. Please help by sharing with us in this continuing exciting project. If you wish to train, or know someone you think should train, then teachers should apply for full details by visiting the social enterprise website


Separate BWY IST Days/1-Day Taster

Anna Semlyen teaches British Wheel of Yoga approved IST 1-day ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ days.  These act as a ‘Taster’ of the full training course and are available for teachers of any experience, but do not constitute the full training as described on this page.  See and book with the local organiser.

To book Anna to teach an IST Day/1-Day YHLB Taster for you, email [email protected].




This course gives sufficiently qualified and experienced yoga teachers from differing schools and methods of yoga an education on yoga for back-care and teaches attendees how to effectively and safely deliver the evidence-based 12-week Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs programme used successfully in The University of York / Arthritis Research UK randomized controlled trial.

Unit 1

Pre-Course Preparation: –

Receive Document detailing Course, Course dates, Times, Venues, Accommodation advice.  Take a thorough look at the Website.  

Confirm course attendance on the Teacher Training for ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) course by emailing tutor  –  plus arrange payment prior to beginning of each training weekend

Buy ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book (formerly the YHLB students’ manual) and also the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – Relaxations CD’  from website.

Read  as much of the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book as possible. 

Buy/borrow and then have a look at ‘Back Care Basics’ by Mary Pullig Schatz (Rodmell Press)

Familiarise yourself with lower back anatomy and physiology (‘Back in Action’ or ‘Body in Action’ by Sarah Key can be found in libraries; ‘Concise Book of Muscles’ by Chris Jarmey or Ray Long’s yoga book of muscles and joints are excellent)



Unit 1 = YHLB TT1       Day 1

-Course Registration and Confirmation of Email addresses

– Receive the 80+ page YHLBTeachers’ Manual (TM).  Buy at cost-price (approx. £15?)

-Introductions + Tutor Background Introduction. YHLB = an interesting and inspiring way for experienced teachers to teach newcomers to yoga with a focus.

– Research Background – Proven to Work, Have Open Mind for Learning, Opportunity for Yoga, Worldwide Media, Medical/Health Professionals Recognition (top journal impact)

– Observations – Holistic in Small Groups + Tadasana ½ group and individuals

– Overview of A&P re back function and dysfunction plus Low Back Pain Conditions (Important to understand terminology and what may have happened in the past, or may happen in the future, with regard to students)

– PAIN-RELIEVING POSES (‘What to Do If You Get a Sign of a Painful Back Episode’ page in YHLB  book (SM) and YHLB Course Handout that you give to students)  Practical Demonstrations and Observations.

– Description of the Full YHLB Programme.  Background.  YHLB is safe, effective, simple to understand, easy to practise at home with everyday props, gradually-progressing (Pain Relief, postural awareness to begin with and more challenging poses that help with mobility and strength of whole body for returning to hobbies, e.g. sport, gardening, yoga, etc.), overseen by back pain experts/yoga senior teachers/EU Guidelines Committee member/research academics in Europe.  Overview of whole programme showing links/overlaps/gradual progression + home practice sheets, mat, CD, book.

– CORE A – How to Perform the Poses

– Red Flags + Interpretation of them and Yellow Flags (yoga = ideal solution for this)

– Q & As

– YHLB Relaxations CD Track 1 (YHLB students have to have this CD as an integral part of the programme and teachers should familiarise themselves with the content)

YHLB TT1      Day 2

– CORE B – How to Perform the Poses

– CORE A & B – More Exposure to the Poses, Application Explanations, Variations

– Demo and Participation in Class 2 (Teach this in gentle general class soon.) Asterisk Poses.

– COMPLETE PROGRESSIVE Sequence – Taught Introductory Experience of it

– PROMOTION OF YHLB COURSES plus TEMPLATE PROMOTIONAL LETTER  (Handouts.)  (YHLB leaflet and bookmark to come at later date.)  Talk a lot about YHLB, promote yourself and use as first point of reference for anyone wanting to know more. Your Ideas?  (See below under Homework.)

-Planning your Mentored Trainee 12-week YHLB course.

– Q & As on CORE A = the Most Important Sequence as it provides the basis for the YHLB programme and acts as the come-back-to/rely-on sequence for students

Using Class Plans + Make Them Yours. =Gift. Email/Skype tutor for clarification if unclear.

– ‘Who are Your Students’ (TM) and How to Help Them Best

– ‘As a Teacher Trained in the YHLB’…. As per TM

– Q & As

– YHLB Relaxations CD Track 2


Unit 2

H O M E W O R K   after Level 1  =

Read through all the TT1 Handouts and file them for future reference.

Learn all the poses from the YHLB Students’ Manual book inside out and outside in (Read Chapter 10 SM thoroughly); know them all physically, experientially, intellectually, physiologically and emotionally. 

This will involve much practical practice of the poses and sequences (Chapter 8 SM) as well as reading the whole of the YHLB Students’ Manual. 

Practice CORE A one day and CORE B the next day for several weeks. 

Practice PROGRESSIVE A alternating with PROGRESSIVE B and sometimes interchange with CORE A for several weeks.    

Practice classes 7-12 (following class plans) yourself referring to the PROGRESSIVE sequences and pose descriptions in the YHLB Students’ Manual book.

Use the CD often – your students will have this.

Teach Class 1 to a friend or two who have low back pain.  Explain that you are learning and need to observe lots. 

Teach Classes 2-6 using Class Plans (or at least most of them) to different general yoga class students (or to groups of friends or work colleagues).  They may not suffer from back pain often, but most people are interested in maintaining a healthy lower back.  You will see how it goes teaching according to the class plans.  If you create a buzz of excitement about what you are doing during this Taster YHLB session with them, they will act as your PR to help you collect a Wait-List of those interested in 12-week YHLB classes.  Some existing students may also wish to attend to encourage home practice.  Plan to make sufficient time between Level 1 and Level 2 for this teaching practice.

Keep a note of class plan queries (e.g. Class Plan Intros and Ending text) and remember to ask tutor for clarification by email or in person.

Take a good look through and learn information in the Teachers’ Manual.

Think about when you may want to arrange to teach your first ‘Trainee Mentored Course’.  Ideally, you will have friends and friends of friends as the majority of the class whilst you learn ‘on the job’.  Teach in groups of 3-10 students (smaller class sizes are good until you get more experience of teaching this course – maximum of 15 in our trial, but 12 is a better maximum to have in mind).  It is difficult to say how much to charge, but as a general figure, you should be charging at least £10 per class per person. Once you have gained experience, at today’s prices, the price should rise to approx. £15.  Ask students for payment in two instalments for blocks of 6.  (Very occasionally a student may need/want to repeat Level 1 CORE first 6 weeks before moving onto Level 2 second 6 weeks of the course, although in the trial, everyone went straight on with the full 12 week course.)   There should not be a break between Classes 2-6, as this is where continuity is most important.  Every course should have a mid-course break of 1-5 weeks (ideally between Classes 6 and 7), whilst students become a little self-sufficient and practise at home.   It is also possible to have an extra one-week break after Class 1.  Also breaks of 1-2 weeks can be taken between Classes 7-12,  if necessary.  It can work well to start a YHLB course after your normal half-term, giving a nice natural long mid-course break at Xmas, Easter or Summer.

Wait-List – Keep a Wait-List of those interested in your Trainee 12-week Mentored Course.

If you have not managed to do absolutely all of the above before Level 2, then tell your tutor.  You may still wish to attend Level 2 as arranged, but will then need to make sure the missing home study and practice is done before teaching a Trainee Mentored Course.  Honesty and knowing ‘where you are at’ = self-knowledge and truth.



Unit 3

YHLB TT2     Day 3

-Home Study over last 3 months? – How did it Go?  Discoveries? 

-Importance of Class Plans and How they Differ from Each Other. Have you Made the Class Plans Your Own? – by taking photocopies and drawing on stick figures or adding names, etc. for ease of class teaching from them? N.B. How poses are gradually and carefully introduced within 12-week course, with some poses left out or using different variations and emphasizing the themes.  See from Complete Progressive Sequence how the 2 sequences fit together for classes – you can practise this sequence and General class students will benefit from it too.)

-Obs. Tadasana and Walking – Tadasana for Life!

-Observations – What do lbp sufferers look like and what does it mean/what to do? Prognoses with YHLB.  Recap of lbp Conditions/Diagnoses (TM) 

-PROGRESSIVE A – How to Perform, More Explanations of Poses + Applications, Links to CORE Poses, Variations

– PROGRESSIVE B – How to Perform, More Explanations of Poses + Applications (LBP and Other), Links to CORE poses, Variations

– Registration Forms (electronic version available) for potential students on 12-week YHLB courses and EXCLUSION CRITERIA (handout) – Interpretation of Filled-in Forms.  RED FLAGS.

-Savasana – Observations and Modifications

-SIMPLE DIAGNOSTIC HELP (Handout).  Explanations. (Lots also in TM and book).  –TM Sections 11 & 12 (N.B. biopsychosocialspiritual nature of clbp) – Q&As



– Q & As

– Good Class Venues; SETTING UP OF CLASSROOM FOR YHLB CLASSES (handout); Teaching Tips; How to set up 12-week courses with mid-course break of 1-3 weeks

– Demonstration and Participation in Class 4 (Observations – student types)

– YHLB Relaxations CD Track 3

YHLB TT2     Day 4

-Demo of and Participation in Class 1 (This one-off important Class) (Guinea-pigs? + Teacher Crit?)

-Extra Yoga Poses in Class Plans (TM Chapter 9) (If in doubt, leave it out.)

-Trainees Teaching 1st Positive Crit/Teaching Demo – Class 2, 3, 5 or 6 (Level 1) + back condition labels. Bring your own class plans to use for this.

– Students’ Homework Suggested Timetable (during/after course). Students use of Homework Diary (as on our trial) throughout course to encourage getting into good habit.  Suggested Home Practice Timetable sheet (You will receive digital versions for printing to give out to students on first day of your course.  Referencing from Home Practice Sheet handouts (you give students these in plastic sleeves at intervals throughout the course) to book Practice Sequences via Page numbers to Long Pose Descriptions in book.

-Importance of ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – Relaxations’ CD for pain relief/de-stressing/physical and mental calm ++++ (Students use forever + first tool to use if back aches)

-YHLB Resources – TM, Relaxations CD, Practice Sheets (CORE A, CORE B, COMPLETE CORE, PROGRESSIVE A, PROGRESSIVE B), ‘What to Do if….’ sheet, ‘Yoga for Your Daily Life’ sheet, ‘Home Practice Timetable, ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book

– YOUR YHLB COURSES (Handout) – The first full 12-week YHLB course you teach will be your ‘trainee’ course with mentor support. Future courses – private, NHS, private insurance, wait-lists, team-working, regional co-ordinators.  Please keep tutor up-to-date with any new ways of working that you have found.  Use regularly to check for new developments and subscribe to Yogaforbacks newsletter.

-MENTORING SUPPORT (Handout)  Also support each other = new culture of yoga teacher co-operation/team-working/positive networking

-CPD – You can attend any part of YHLB TT Level 1 or Level 2 training days at 50% cost to encourage recap/consolidation of learning.  Watch the website for further opportunities.

– Yoga for Your Daily Life (SM) – practical demos/understanding/discussion/inclusion

-Q&As re Class Plans (esp. Intros and Endings/ YHLB Yoga/Yesterday)

– Trainees Teaching 2nd Positive Crit/Teaching Demo – Class 8, 9 or 10, 11, 12  Bring your own class plans for this. (Assessments and Instructive/Constructive Comments from Tutor, beneficial for understanding)

– Q & As re. Your own Back?

– YHLB Relaxations CD Track 4 and Goodbyes.  Thanks for your enthusiasm.


Unit 4

H O M E W O R K after Level 2 =

Read through all the TT2 Handouts and file them for future reference purposes.

Check your insurance covers you for teaching YHLB 

Teachers’ Manual.  Read through the ‘Diagnostics’ and ‘What Yoga May Help With’ sections of the TM and ask for help if you do not understand anything.  Familiarize yourself with the TM and the information that is in there for reference purposes.  

About Home Practice You will expect your students to practise from the Home Practice Sheets and the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book (plus the YHLB CD), using the Suggested Homework Timetable and so you should know how to answer questions about all of these. This includes referencing.   Know everything thoroughly – ask, if unclear.   

Continue to learn more about the yoga programme by reading and practising from both the Students’ and Teachers’ Manual.  Make sure you do this forever – recapping is useful and often revealing.

Complete Arrangements to Teach your first Trainee Mentored 12-class YHLB course to students.  Bear in mind the Exclusion Criteria (GPs and other health professional referrers should have this document in the future, as well as the Trifold YHLB Information Leaflet).  Ensure via phone/GP/Registration Forms/Exclusion Criteria that they do not have complex or serious conditions – remember this course is designed for common/general/non-specific low back pain (NOT for those in an acute phase or with serious pathology) – ask the tutor, if unsure whether to take particular students on the course. 

Send students and ask them to fill out  their Registration Forms prior to course start date. 

Send them the Trifold Information Leaflet and ask them to tell their friends about the course.

Also send the students a specific course information sheet: your course dates, timings, venue, what to wear (loose clothing – layers are good), what to bring (yoga/aerobics/camping mat, belt, blanket/rug) and transport/parking details. 

A day or two before teaching each of the 12 classes, first read through and then also practise the relevant class plan all the way through yourself to familiarise yourself with content, timings, information, handouts, etc.. (Do this forever – possibly having a list of YHLB students with their conditions beside your Teachers’ Manual.)

Contact tutor via email/skype for mentoring support or if you have any queries about the poses, class plans or particular students. 

If all is going well and when you are about half-way through this Trainee Mentored Course, remind or tell GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths, natural health centres, local newspapers, your yoga students (and tell them to tell their friends) about courses you will be offering in the future – email people the Trifold Information Leaflet.  Some patients may be able to get courses under private health insurance schemes (get them to ask their insurers) or workplace schemes.  YHLB courses are cost-effective due to our teaching people in groups and because we give them life-long tools for long-term overall health (not just health of their low backs).  For any NHS / Public Health or Workplace subsidized scheme, it may be possible that students could pay a discounted rate for the course. 

Wait-List – Keep a Wait-List of potential students for future YHLB courses. 


Mentoring Requirements   (Unit 4)

You need to Teach one 12-week YHLB Trainee Mentored Course to a minimum of 3 students to Complete this Course. 

Minimum Requirements:- Throughout this course you are required to Contact your Tutor by email (or Skype or phone by arrangement):

1. Before or Just After the first class 

2. At least once during the first 6 weeks of the 12-class course 

3. At least once during the second 6 weeks of the 12-class course

4. Once you have completed teaching students on your first trainee 12-class YHLB course (contact sessions can be brief or more extensive depending on your needs). 

You may contact more often and must contact the tutor/mentor if you encounter any problems.  Keep identity of students confidential. Writing up a Report and Reflection of Teaching a Class and/or writing up a Case Study (1-3 students) – no more than 1000 words might be useful exercise to show to the tutor.

After full attendance at all 4 days of training, required home practice and study, successful completion of trainee course and tutor satisfaction of all of above, you will be able to call yourself a YHLB teacher and full website teacher listing will be granted (there may be a small admin charge for this).  

Student feedback on your YHLB courses – ask for written feedback – What did you do well, What could be improved, Was everything clear and use this to continually improve. 

Future Tutor Contact You should contact your tutor if you encounter any problems.  Do this whilst it is just a niggle, before it becomes a larger problem.  Feel free to contact tutor if you need to know something or want some help, but also use your buddy-up teacher(s).  Open, honest, transparent communication is encouraged. 

To further develop this nurturing, team-working and supportive YHLB teaching environment, please buddy-up with a minimum of one other YHLB teacher – contact them by email or phone at least every 6 months to speak about how your courses are going.  Consider meeting up in groups to discuss, share and practice YHLB.  Develop YHLB area TEAMS once you have experience – ask YHLB tutor for help.

Feedback on this YHLB TT course – email tutor with suggestions for extra input/changes.

YHLB CD Sales help YHLB development and promotion work to be able to continue – consider helping by seeking bulk CD orders, e.g. large employers for employee health and wellbeing benefits.  Many thanks.



Thank you for such an inspiring course.  It was a privilege to be there with such an inspiring teacher and students.

Great to see so many people are getting started with teaching the course now, and having such positive results.

What the tutor does not know about yoga and backs could be put on a postage stamp.

The students are all rather amazed that such simple things are having such an effect!!!! – how gratifying, one up for yoga!

Thanks so much for the training at the weekend. You are an inspirational teacher, so passionate about the work you are doing, and I appreciated the practical, down to earth approach and your humour and ‘lightness’ in getting the message across.

Great first day – thank you! I’m SO glad I decided to do this course.  Your presentation is clear, un-waffly and meaningful – I love it! Loving the pace, the info covered, the experiential element and how clear the class plans are. I can’t wait to start practising them on all & sundry 🙂

It really is great to learn from someone who has such knowledge!

I really enjoyed the course a few weeks ago. Very inspiring and positive. Your stamina is very impressive!


I am attracted to this course for a variety of reasons. Firstly back pain is such a common problem and a reasons why many people come to yoga that to have some specialised experience would be useful. I also want to increase the tools in my yoga tool box and this will be useful for that.  Colleagues locally have just done the course and very much recommended it. I really like the idea of being part of a wider group who do the same course. I also am impressed at the thoroughness of the work and research and professionalism of the materials. My husband is a GP so he is always talking about the importance of proven results – here it is!

I so enjoyed the 2 day course.  You teach with such enthusiasm, making it fun and easier to learn. I thought the format of the course was exceptionally well done – no stones left unturned.

Thank you for such an inspiring course.  It was a privilege to be there with such an inspiring teacher and students.

Great to see so many YHLB teachers are getting started with teaching the course now, and having such positive results.

I was extremely impressed with your course! Delighted! Although I have been teaching for quite a number of years now and attended numerous workshops, IST days, etc., practiced constantly, your course has newly inspired me! It was “slick”!! Nothing left undone!! Easily absorbed!! Easy for me to retain and study. Areas of weakness that we have to deal with in each class that we teach!! (Scary, sometimes!) THANK YOU so much.

Thank you once again for the weekend, so full of information and inspiration and what a nice group!

I have spoken to people who may well want to do the course……. I have given it a glowing testimonial.  I have gained a whole new perspective on dealing with students with back problems ‘a light on in the attic moment or three’ (BWY Foundation Course Tutor)

It is really clear how well thought through each & every aspect of the YHLB course is.

I really want to say thank you Alison for all of your hard work, I find it truly amazing how much work you must have put in to the whole YHLB research programme. You asked for comments and feedback from the course I attended – well regarding your delivery I cannot think of any improvement (sorry!).   I found you to be thoroughly knowledgeable about your subject and it was well delivered.

I taught five yoga groups Yoga For Healthy Lower Backs Class 2 Steadiness with CD 1 last week. Their ages ranged from 20 years to 80 years both men and women. I asked them to observe how they felt over the week. Their feedback this week was very positive with them wanting more. Some of the comments were: felt stronger, wonderful, had a better posture and one their neck felt the best it had for twenty years!

After our training days, I felt stronger, full of energy and lighter physically and emotionally. The hard work that you have put in along with the “Team” can certainly be felt and has made the delivery of the YHLB classes a positive experience for both myself and students.

Level 1 was such a wonderful experience, and I will definitely be back for Level 2! The depth of your knowledge and experience is inspiring and it is so refreshing to learn practices to help students that are both research-proven and very straightforward and easy to present. I have been working with some of the postures with my classes and private clients already and am very excited about being able to present the entire programme in the coming months.

Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge!

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the course and the Yoga for Lower Backs course.  It was so informative and so relevant for teachers!

Just a quick line to say how much I enjoyed the two days. I feel as though I’ve learned such a lot, but it has also made me realise how much more I have got to learn! I would love to know as much about backs as you do. I really feel enthused to get started.

I would like to train in YHLB as I constantly have people with back problems attending my yoga classes who have been told by their doctor or physio to take up yoga/

It would be really great to learn more about back conditions and be able to offer these students a completely separate yoga course specifically tailored to them to help improve their quality of life.

Really enjoyed last weekend – thank you.

I thought the whole course was very good. You are a very inspirational teacher and I can really see how people with back problems would get better in your classes.

I am very much re-enthused now!

Once again thank you for a wonderful course which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you so much for a fantastic couple of days, and for sharing your acquired knowledge and wisdom.

Even after the long drive home (usually in a very unhappy place after a long drive) my back is very happy. I succumbed to one painkiller on the way down, but my back does feel so light, happy and looking forward to regularly practising what we have learnt this weekend.  (Teacher after long-standing back problem.)

I have been just drip-feeding some of the poses we did at the week-end into my classes; the students are loving it!

I enjoyed the course and your tutoring very much. The teaching of poses by each teacher and the feedback was very useful. I feel confident I can put what I have learnt to good use during the coming months.

On Trainee Course Mentoring.  Thanks – it’s useful and reassuring to have your advice

Thanks for the downloads and encouragement. I thoroughly enjoyed the YHLB Course. Both weekends were comprehensive and very informative in thieir content. I thought the timing was just right. It was well structured, and I thought the teaching examples contributed greatly to our understanding of the subject. Yes, I found the whole course overall well worth doing. I also found my previous lower back problem was greatly eased by sequences practised between weekends.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, you evidently put a lot of time into organising the courses and are committed to passing on lots of information to equip us to go out and teach this specialised yoga. I feel that you have covered so much in a weekend and made it very practical and relevant for teaching. I can’t really think of any ways that you can improve the course, as I thought it was delivered and organised so well. I would definitely recommend this course to other yoga teachers. I’m looking forward to teaching my first trainee course

I am so looking forward to … continuing my training with you as you are such a knowledgeable & enthusiastic tutor.

The course was brilliant! The feedback afterwards from everyone attending was excellent. I’ve already started teaching a few of the postures in my class and to my clients – all being received well. My students are already aware of what I’m doing and are thrilled. They are impressed and pleased that I am doing my best to look after them and are encouraging others to come to yoga.

Thank you for a fabulous weekend on the ….YHLB course. I love the course and am working towards becoming more and more familiar with the material. Thank you for all the work you have done in getting all of this together for us to come and learn on the courses.

Having felt a little daunted at lunch time on Sunday, by the time you had led us through 2 classes in the afternoon, things began to slot into place and I realised that it’s all there for us.  You did an excellent job. I am very keen to do the homework and teach myself the course guided by your brilliant resources. I can’t wait to help myself feel better and to help others.

There is a very great need out there, for sure.  Many, many thanks again.

….I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed the training weekend, I feel very privileged to be on the training course and to be part of such a well researched and organised course and excited about hopefully becoming a fully qualified YHLB Teacher

It is fantastic to be able to show such great results in such a large study and for something that affects so many people in the UK. I’m very excited about being able to make a difference to even more people’s backs.

As an experienced yoga teacher I was initially not convinced of the need to do this training.  However, I feel compelled to train now after meeting a college friend with a 20 year history of back pain (who had attended general yoga classes in the past), who was keen to tell me how, due to the structure and educational resources, this 12-week course taught by a trained YHLB teacher had transformed her life.




IST Days are for those who are not ready to do the full 4-day Training.

PMT Yoga Testimonial

Response published in ‘Spectrum’ BWY yoga magazine regarding our stance to only train already-qualified and experienced yoga teachers

Our main aim is certainly to share the resources and fruits of this research with as many people as possible.  However, in order to respect the research and to keep its value, we are acutely aware of the fact that it is necessary to keep to its ‘evidence-base’.  Keeping things as they were during the research project itself:

1. Will allow the medical profession, health practitioners, NHS commissioners, and those employed in Corporate HR/Occupational Health to feel comfortable to ‘signpost’, offer or refer patients/employees to ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) teachers’

2. Will serve to encourage the general public to feel confident that they will learn the same yoga to the same standard as in the research itself

3.  Will help to raise awareness of yoga teachers working efficiently with clarity as unified professionals.

The main intellectual property holders of the research educational resources (The University of York, Arthritis Research UK) are continuing to support the ‘rolling out’ of the yoga programme, but they must be satisfied that efforts are being made to maintain quality and adherence.

Alison Trewhela who is highly-experienced as a low back pain yoga specialist, designed the YHLB yoga programme in 2006-7, trained the 20 yoga teachers for the RCT research trial and therefore she is the only tutor currently training teachers in how to deliver the full 12-week YHLB programme.  One could describe her position as being the ‘gatekeeper’ of the yoga programme.  Absolutely, YHLB is for sharing, but it should be noted that it belongs to the resarch itself (not BWY or IYAUK).  Our mission is to make sure that the integrity of what we have achieved, with this largest and most ‘significant’ piece of yoga research worldwide to date, is maintained.  Our entry requirement when recruiting teachers for The University of York trial was a minimum of 4 years’ post-yoga-qualification teaching experience and it remains so now.  We do accept that each teacher is different and may have extra expertise so, for example, we may allow a BWY Diploma qualified teacher to attend at least the first Level 1 part of the course if they are additionally a trained physiotherapist, osteopath or yoga therapist.  If the teacher and tutor are satisfied that this would be appropriate, then arrangements are sometimes made to give extra ‘mentor’ and ‘buddy’ support to these teachers teaching the programme early, until they reach that 4-year time-point.  Interestingly, the majority of these less experienced teachers who have attended the course seem to have easily come to the conclusion that waiting whilst gaining more general yoga class teaching experience before teaching YHLB is a good thing – many have subsequently taken it upon themselves to attend repeat training days.

Anna Semlyen offers BWY IST (professional development) Days where any teacher or student can attend to learn about the research and some poses from the programme.  Of course the educational resources document what yoga was used in the trial and can be especially useful for those with experience of yoga.

Only those who have completed the full YHLB TT (teacher training) course with Alison Trewhela, which includes their first teaching of the 12-week course being taught under tutor/mentor support, can teach the full programme.  This gives teachers in-depth knowledge of how to deliver the programme according to 12 differing class plans and much more by way of honing observational skills, learning back function/dysfunction and medical terminology, modifications, variations and specific use of appropriate poses, etc. for individuals.

A quote from a yoga teacher with over 30 years’ experience: “When I first saw the book, I thought to myself, ‘I know this stuff’, but having attended this YHLB  TT course, I can see how much there is to learn.”

And another: “Learning the complexities behind these simplest of poses is fascinating.”

I makes sense for experienced yoga teachers, DCTs and those with yoga centres to get behind this project and help it to reach its full potential.

Please see above and check out our Testimonials page for quotes from teachers who have done the course.