Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Teacher Training

Application Form on ‘Training Course Location’ page and send to [email protected] 

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.

Teacher Testimonials towards end of this page below as well as on Testimonial page.

YHLB Yoga Teacher Training Course



‘YOGA for Healthy Lower Backs’ –  Teacher Training COURSE (YHLB TT).  Provided by Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – was 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.  YHLB Yoga featured on national TV (ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme – ‘Back Pain – Britain’s Unseen Crisis’.

Various locations throughout the UK – view other page for current YHLB Yoga Teacher Training Course locations, costs and dates. 

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

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

Arlene Angela Dunkley Wood Testimonial

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

‘YOGA for Healthy Lower Backs’ 




Our ground-breaking University of York research (H. Tilbrook et al and LH Chuang et al) 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 and for workplaces and society. 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.

Health professionals or those with other relevant prior learning qualifications and experience may apply to begin the course earlier, but will be asked to receive a lengthened period of mentor support.

National Approval: 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..

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 Yoga 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 Yoga 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: 2019 Alison Trewhela Yoga CV 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/blog/Youtube – 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 – 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 phone enquiries for over a year, we realize this is not sustainable due to high demand and other 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.     

YHLB Yoga Standing at Wall


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]


YHLB Yoga Relaxation

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.

Go to our YouTube ‘ Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ Channel for short video testimonials.

PMT Yoga Testimonial