Yoga for Back Pain Courses

Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs

coursepicYHLB is a Yoga course for people with chronic long term lower back pain. Chronic lower back pain is a common problem with nearly 80% of the population suffering at some point in just one day!!

The course was developed by Alison Trewhela from the Iyengar Yoga Asso and Anna Semlyen from British Wheel of Yoga.  Alison, the research coordinator, has taught yoga for many years and was approach to do a large scale randomised controlled trial. The trials were led by the University of York and funded by Arthritis Research UK

The trial involved 12 specially trained experience yoga teachers teaching 10-12 students a specially devised yoga program over a 12 week period.  To support the classes the students were encouraged to do home practice over this time, using a Manual and Relaxation CD.

The trial results were fantastic and better than anyone could have imagined!! One of the main interpretations of the trial was that the 12 week course students had a greater improvement in back function by doing the course than undergoing usual back care e.g. group exercise taught by physiotherapists, manipulation, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or the same number of Alexander technique sessions.

For more information on the course background, results and founder please have a look at

Who is the Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs course for?

  • Do you have a long term lower back condition that has stopped you doing the things you enjoy?
  • Has your back pain started getting you down?
  • Have you had to take days of work due to back pain?
  • Are you tired of taking lots of painkillers for your sore back?
  • Would you like to help yourself help your back?
  • Would you like to improve your posture and symmetry?
  • Would you like to find a more cost effective way to help reduce your back pain?
  • Would you like to improve your breathing to increase your energy levels?
  • Would you like to learn some life skills that will help you manage your own back long term?

What does the Course involve

The course is a 12-week program (2 blocks of 6wk) supported by a Resource Pack containing The YHLB Manual, Relaxation CD and Hand-outs. The YHLB Pack can be purchased directly from the website.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need assistance with this.

The course is taught in groups of roughly 6-12 and the weekly classes are 75mins.

Over the 12 weeks you will be supported to work though the twelve themes of the Course, gradually building your strength and confidence in your back.  You will be encouraged to do home practice to support this, working through the hand-outs provided in the pack.

You will be required to bring:

  • a yoga mat
  • a bed pillow
  • a blanket for the relaxation
  • wear loose clothing (for ease of movement)

You will be able to borrow blocks, belts and a chair.  It is advisable the Resource Packs are purchased before the course start date, so you can read and listen ahead.


Exclusion Criteria

This course is designed for people with none specific lower back pain but unfortunately there are some symptoms that may prevent you from taking part.

 Sadly the YHLB might not be suitable for you if –

  1. You have lose of feeling in front or back passage, have pins and needles and weakness in both legs or are unsteady on your feet
  2. You are in the acute phase – pain has come on over one or two days and may last for 6 weeks or more, it may be ok to start the course in the sub-acute phase 6-12 weeks – best to speak to you doctor for advice as to when you may be able to start.
  3. You are experiencing pins and needles, pain, numbness BELOW the knee everyday. Again it would be recommended to speak to your doctor, if the symptoms have been long-term the YHLB course may help relieve the symptoms.
  4. You are Pregnant – due to the number of posture adaptations that would be needed.
  5. You have a serious spinal pathology or have recently had spinal surgery.  This may mean waiting 12 months – again please consult your doctor to ask about suitability.
  6. You struggle to get off the floor without the aid of a chair or window sill.

If you are interested in taking part in the course and you are concerned or have any of the symptoms above it might be best to visit your doctor and discuss the course with them.  Take a note of the Yoga for Health Lower Backs website and ask them to look at the course content.  It is important to highlight this is a very gently course designed for people who have never done yoga before!

 I would also be happy to answer any questions about the course you might have.

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