Yoga for Pain Training – Foundations

“I feel a lot more comfortable referring people with pain to yoga. The pre-reading and resources were excellent and it was really valuable to understand the four stages of pain healing. I think this program will continue to grow and support the integration of pain management at a community level.”

(Shelley Barlow, Physiotherapist, Ballina Community Health Pain Clinic)

Yoga for Pain Training – Foundations

Yoga for Pain teacher training

Work with like-minded health professionals and yoga teachers on ways to bring yoga to the 1 in 5 people with persistent pain. 

The 2.5-day Foundations Training takes you beyond yoga as purely a physical practice, exploring how yoga’s rich philosophy can help people appreciate the social and psychological factors that contribute to pain, and how to be part of their own solution.

Complete as a standalone, or as part of the 50-hour Yoga for Pain Training.


Open to yoga teachers, physiotherapists, psychologists and other health professionals, Foundations Training equips you with inquiry-based learning to help your patients and students make sense of their pain and choose the best path forward.

You also learn the key principles for introducing yoga to people with pain so that they improve their movement, calm the nervous system and build the foundations of good yoga practice that they can continue for years.

The training includes:
– Pain science
– Research
– How to use yoga to reduce pain symptoms, increase activity and improve social isolation
– Techniques to improve proprioception and movement quality
– Strategies to help people with pain overcome barriers to participation

Participate in a Yoga for Pain workshop, talk with people with pain, and work in groups to design a short course that helps people with pain get back into exercise, reduce social isolation and manage stress.

Course facilitator is Rachael West, who holds a degree in Yogic Education from the University of Lille, France. Rachael has been teaching specialist yoga to people with persistent pain since 2011.

Max 10 in each course.



The course has been designed to encourage relationships between yoga teachers and referring health practitioners. You have time to talk with people with pain about their pain experience and barriers they face attending regular classes.

Also covered:

  1. Skills for referring people with pain to the right yoga class
  2. How to design yoga-based courses for people with pain
  3. Introduction to the Yoga for Pain inquiry process
  4. Pain science and mainstream interventions
  5. Research into yoga, pain and related conditions
  6. Principles and techniques for teaching safely and effectively to people with persistent pain
  7. Application of yogic philosophy in pain care yoga classes (Yamas, Niyamas and reflective thinking)
  8. Framework for mapping a biopsychosocial model of health to a yogic model of wellbeing
  9. Four stages of pain healing framework
  10. The Essential Meditation as the basis for all pain care yoga
  11. Overcoming barriers to people with pain attending health programs

A training highlight is the Yoga for Pain workshop on day 2, which shows how yoga can be used to help people with pain relax, move better, calm the nervous system and build confidence. This is a valuable chance to meet and learn first-hand from those in pain.

Allow 2-8 hours after the training to complete assignments that are required for course completion.

Why inquiry-based learning is so important for working with pain

Most persistent pain is unrelated to tissue damage so you will not be learning to modify asana (postures) for specific injuries. You will instead experience and learn principles for facilitating safe, comfortable movement that you can apply to help people with all kinds of pain increase their confidence and range.

Pain is a human experience that affects, and is affected by, your social environment and psychological wellbeing. This means that some of yoga’s greatest benefits in pain care come from its rich philosophy. Yoga offers an invitation to inquire into what pain is, what you believe about your body, and what is most meaningful for your life. Inquiry can help your pain patients make sense of their pain, develop self-efficacy and choose their best path forward. It’s also essential for ensuring you stay open and caring as a practitioner when faced with complex patients.

The Yoga for Pain inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching will challenge you to think about why you do what you do and the best ways to have an impact.

Outcomes for health professionals

The training equips health practitioners to safely refer to, or prepare patients for, yoga. This is a practical evidence-based education in how yoga can be a safe, effective part of pain care. Learn to:Yoga for Pain Practitioner Training

  • Recommend the best yoga class for patients
  • Educate patients about the non-physical aspects to yoga that can assist them to practice positive behaviours
  • Understand how yoga can (and should) be tailored to the individual
  • Prepare clients for their first yoga class
  • Learn relaxation and movement techniques that compliment clinical practice
  • Build networks with local yoga teachers who understand persistent pain
  • Work in collaboration with a trusted yoga teacher on a 4-week course designed to suit your client base
  • 20-25 hours CPD

Please note that while this training will provide practical, transferable skills, it isn’t a yoga teacher training course. If you wish to teach yoga classes you will need to acquire teaching qualification through an accredited teaching school.

Outcomes for yoga teachers

The training equips yoga teachers to offer pain-specific or pain-friendly group classes. You are also trained to think about outcomes-based learning for all students which will improve your teaching.

  • Know how to read research about yoga, pain and related conditions
  • Understand yoga’s role in multi-disciplinary pain care
  • Meet health care professionals who want to refer to skilled local teachers
  • Learn a methodical approach for working effectively with people with persistent pain
  • Learn to tailor classes to specific needs
  • Eligible graduates are listed on our teacher register (subject to completing assignments), receive 12 months free membership to Yoga for Pain Care Australia, and can progress to advanced training.
  • Up to 25 CPD points with Yoga Australia: 20 hours core contact hours, pre-reading 2 hours and  assignment completion 3 hours (2 CPD point)

Course facilitators

Rachael West holds a degree in Yogic Education from the University of Lille, France. Rachael has been teaching specialist courses to people with pain and providing education to health professionals since 2011. She is assisted at each training by a pain physiotherapist with specialist skills – Nicole Moore (in person in Melbourne, via video and Skype other locations) and Tim Mitchell (Perth). Read more about the team in your area on the people page.

What’s included in Foundations Training

  1. Extensive pre-reading, including links to pertinent videos about pain and perceptions of pain
  2. 20 hours contact training time
  3. Workbook and handouts
  4. Significant feedback on assignments
  5. Six months complimentary membership to the Yoga for Pain Practitioner network
  6. Eligibility for listing on the Yoga for Pain Practitioner Register as a yoga teacher, health professional, or both (subject to successfully completing assignments and adhering to a code of ethics)
  7. Light refreshments for morning and afternoon tea

What previous participants say

“The best professional development course I have experienced in a long time. It was so well prepared, full of up to date information, interactive, challenging and stimulating.”
(Yoga teacher and Alexander technique practitioner Kate Morris, Melbourne)

“I learned how to integrate yoga and neuroscience in a non-threatening and balanced way.  Translating these skills to the classroom will be beneficial on many levels for my clients with persistent pain.”
(Physiotherapist Alana Brass, Canberra)

“Excellent, comprehensive training and a nice mix of experiencing yoga, didactic information and practical application. I really enjoyed Rachael’s teaching style – warm and inclusive, offering correction and feedback to facilitate my learning.”
(Clinical psychologist Gemma Barter, Perth)

“I really appreciate your bringing together of health professionals and yoga teachers who are interested in evidence-based practice and working with groups who often feel isolated and not safe or confident in making a start in general yoga classes.”
(Physiotherapist Jane Leslie, Perth)

“I learned a lot and came away more inspired, not just for teaching for pain, but about yoga teaching in general.”
(Yoga teacher Rosemary Harding, Bunbury)

2017 course fees

$785Aus for contact time, workbook, all pre-reading and extensive assignment feedback.

Followup training and support

Once you’ve completed the foundations training you’ll be invited to participate in monthly practitioner Skype calls (these are free) and join the teacher register.

You’ll also be eligible for advanced training and mentoring.

Scholarship program (available in Australia only)

Two scholarships are offered at each training: one to a country yoga teacher who needs to significantly travel to access training (please apply above) and one to a yoga teacher who will offer classes to areas with socio-economic challenges (please email for details).

Recipients receive the foundations training, three mentoring sessions and additional support to get their program up and running for a contribution of $185 to demonstrate commitment. More about the scholarship places here.

To sponsor a scholarship place please get in touch.

Booking policy

Once your application is successful we ask for a $150 deposit to secure your place. The deposit is non-refundable and the balance due 28 days prior to the training start date. If this is difficult for you please contact us in advance for alternative arrangements.

We don’t generally offer refunds if you cancel less than 28 days beforehand. Cancellations earlier than this are refunded at 50%. 

You must be present at the whole training in order to complete it. Even if you don’t intend to submit assignments, you must attend the first day in order to respect the learning of the rest of the group.

Yoga for Pain Training is not a yoga teacher training so doesn’t equip you to teach yoga if you are not already qualified. It is also not an accreditation or certification.

Read the full terms and conditions here.

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