Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs by Anna Semlyen and Alison Trewhela

YOGA is now being listed as a good exercise for lower back pain. This book gives you a full account of research which was conducted by the York Trials Unit, University of York and funded by Arthritis Research UK. The aim of the trial was to assess the role of yoga in pain relief for a group of people suffering lower back pain.

The trial involved three hundred participants, half of which were in the control group and were treated by conventional methods. The other half were the yoga group who had no previous experience of yoga. They were taught by specially trained teachers in various locations throughout England. All these teachers used the same teaching methods and materials.

The results showed a ‘statistically and clinically significant improvement’ in the yoga group compared to the non-yoga group, all having started from much the same base. The most dramatic improvement was after the first three months.

The content of the book presents the recommended poses or postures for people with chronic low back pain. Several poses are offered for use at home. Personally, being new to yoga myself I would have preferred more photographs to follow. There is an excellent chapter on What to do if you get a sign of a painful back episode, which begins “Don’t panic”! These suggestions are definitely worth a look, they are helpful, basic, and sensible.

I think the book has been written to be used by people without the help of a teacher, but I think it could be quite dangerous to attempt some of these poses without a teacher being with you in the first instance. After a number of classes with a professional then I think this book would be a great reminder of the poses you were shown.

The authors also point out that their book should be used as an ‘aide-memoir’ and that it is advisable to find a teacher trained in the system. So, if you do decide to take up Yoga after reading this book make sure you train with a teacher first.



  1. I am sure the right sort of yoga will be very helpful. My physio lady is on about me doing exercises to strengthen my ‘core’ muscles – mostly stomach muscles which are all involved in your back and posture and balance etc etc….. and I have been thinking about finding a yoga class to go to :yes:


      • yes very true. Not appealing, the thought of flinching about in a perishing windswept old school hall somewhere and lying on old bony rubber mats 😉 :)) In fact my physio lady suggested pilates to me today….. but that is EXPENSIVE…. not sure HOW expensive though… must find out! 🙂


      • 🙂 I think my physio plans to abandon me soon and was offering further help alternatives….. but I’m to continue going there and be allowed to use the equipment and ask for help when necessary. I think I’ve been too successful in my recovery to need her for much longer…. 🙂


      • In fact I’m going back to physio next week. It is really helping me doing the exercises. She has made me see how I was doing things all wobbly and lop-sided and shown me how to sort that out. Very difficult to start with but getting much easier now.

        I really do feel it is all strengthening these ‘core muscles’ that are apparently so vital to keeping ones’ back ship-shape.

        I am beginning to feel sort of fit…. ish! 🙂 she is going to get me to be able to go to the gym for three months at just £15 a month… which will really help too. So my back seems absolutely fine – touch wood! Thanks for asking Barmac…. I wish yours could be so easily sorted….:no:


  2. Great advice Bar! Especially when you are in pain its important to seek an experts advice as you can do more harm than good.

    I’ve been a yoga teacher for over a decade and the thing is even us teachers need take classes sometimes. The problem is that we can’t see our own bodies. And a small tiny adjustment to any of the poses can make all the difference!


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