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Alison West, Ph.D, E-RYT, C-IAYT is director of Yoga Union and the Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center. She first established Yoga Union in 1996 in SoHo after studying widely and teaching Yoga in NY for ten years, both at the Sivananda center and at Jivamukti. She practiced Astanga Yoga for a number of years, studying in NY with Eddie Stern and in Mysore with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. During this time she continued studying Iyengar Yoga for alignment, working in particular with Kevin Gardiner, the late Mary Dunn, and, later, Genny Kapuler. Alison has also traveled to Pune to study with the Iyengars as well. Her first studies at the Sivananda centers of Munich and NY in the early 80′s have led to a life-long interest in Yoga philosophy and the subtle practices of pranayama, meditation, mantra, yantra and mudra. She furthered her meditation studies with TKV Desikachar at a retreat at Colgate University in 1993 and went on to the Shambhala trainings in NYC. Her spiritual teachers include Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.


Prior to her becoming a full-time Yoga professional, Alison obtained her Ph.D in Art History (1985) at NYU’s renowned Institute of Fine Arts under H.W. Janson and Robert Rosenblum. Her now-classic book on French Sculpture, From Pigalle to Prèault: Neoclassicism and the Sublime in French Sculputre, 1760-1840, was published by Cambridge University Press n 1998 and reviewed in all important publications including The New York Review of Books. Alison was born and educated in Europe before returning to the States for university.


Around 1996, Alison’s interest in alignment and anatomy led her to explore more deeply the asymmetrical body and most notably the asymmetrical spine. She studied with both Bobbie Fultz and Elise Miller, each an expert in this field and to whom she is deeply grateful. Alison completed her Certification in Yoga for Scoliosis with Elise Miller. Alison has continued her study of anatomy and kinesiology and developed new material for Yoga for Scoliosis. In 2007, Alison co-founded the first and only dedicated Yoga for Backcare and Scoliosis center in the world in Nomad, NY, subsequently moving across the street to 37 West 28th. The brick and mortar studio closed on July 31, 2020.


Alison has formulated Principles of Practice that can be applied to most forms of Hatha Yoga, and brings to her teaching insights born of the ongoing study of anatomy and kinesiology. She began her anatomy studies with Irene Dowd in NY, and subsequently completed Gil Hedley’s life-changing 6-day Human Dissection Course for non-medical professionals. 


Alison conducts demanding “Gold Standard”* 200-hour Three-Pillars of Practice Teacher Trainings and a full 500-hour Mandala of Yoga Masters program, teaches workshops and master classes nationwide, in Europe and in the Middle East, and group and private classes when she is in Manhattan. She also teaches online. Yoga Union’s Teacher Trainings are registered with Yoga Alliance at both the 200- and 500-hour level.  She also leads the only 150-Hour Backcare and Scoliosis Certification Program in the world. She has completed an on-demand Yoga for Back Health for Yoga Journal, which you can download anytime.

In 2007, Alison was a prime mover in the creation of Yoga for NY , the organization that represents all yoga studio, teachers and students in NY State, when the State attempted to license Yoga Teacher Trainings. She was unanimously elected Executive Director and Chair of Yoga for NY, which succeeded in defeating this licensing attempt with a bill signed into law by then Governor Paterson. She was featured on the front page of the NY Times during these events. She also went on to defeat the city’s attempt to impose a “class tax” on Yoga classes in spite of the prevailing view that this would be impossible to accomplish. 


She is currently writing her first Yoga book, Yoga for Backcare, which will be followed by Yoga for Scoliosis.


Private Sessions with Alison

Alison teaches private sessions as well as classes.

When Alison is in NY, she teaches one-on-one in person sessions out of the Balance Arts Center at 151 West 30th street. In person sessions are $150.

If you come with your teacher a one-hour session is $290. It is possible for two or three persons to share a session at no extra cost if you are coming for a simple Yoga lesson without the need for therapeutic work (e.g., herniation, scoliosis, hip surgery, shoulder issues).

Online private sessions are $150. You will receive a Zoom link for your session as well as any information regarding props and other essentials.

Please email Alison directly  to schedule a session.

One-hour home sessions with no more than one hour of travel-time start at $400 in Manhattan up to 86th Street. Students are expected to provide mats, blocks, straps and any other item required and to have the necessary set up prior to the start of the lesson, including moving any incidental furniture.  

Email Alison to schedule a time. 


Call 212-510-7404 or email ( to schedule a time. 


* Time Out 2007.


Last updated, February 2022

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