YHLB Training Course Programme Details

Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Teacher Training Course

YHLB Yoga Teacher Training Course

Tutor – Alison Trewhela – CV link 2019 Alison Trewhela Yoga CV


This specialised yoga teacher training 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  www.yogaforbacks.co.uk Website.

Confirm course attendance on the Teacher Training for ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) course by emailing, as soon as your application has been accepted – [email protected]  Later arrange payment, when requested a couple of months before both Level 1 and Level 2 trainings.

Buy YHLB Resources Pack from our website  You will need this in order to learn about YHLB  and when, after you have attended the full training course, you are teaching YHLB courses.  In this Pack, you will receive the 2019 edition of ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ book, formerly the YHLB students’ manual, the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – Relaxations Album’  and more.

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). 

-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 www.yogaforbacks.co.uk 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 – but 12 is maximum).  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 12-week Mentored Courses.

If you have not managed to do 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 www.yogaforbacks.co.uk 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 (BWY teachers are covered and David Balens insurance company will ensure other YHLB teachers).

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 Relaxations Album), 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.  Ask the tutor, if unsure whether to take particular students on the course.

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 people may be able to get courses under private health insurance schemes (get them to ask their insurers), workplace schemes and eventually under the NHS.   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 such an NHS-provider or Public Health-subsidized scheme, YHLB can help you set this up (project manage).  As the YHLB teacher you should ideally receive at least £100 income per class for a full course, after paying for the hall hire.

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 and a small admin charge for future changes).

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.

Consider putting on ‘refresher’ classes or general ‘moving-on’ YHLB classes for students who have attended your YHLB 12-week courses, especially if you do not have suitable gentle Beginners classes for those who wish to continue yoga with you.

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 Resources Sales help YHLB development, website and promotion work to be able to continue.  Many thanks.

YHLB Yoga Feet with toes lifted

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  www.yogainyork.co.uk/workshops.htm and book with the local organiser.

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





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 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.