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Scroll down for Backcare & Scoliosis Classes Levels and Descriptions

Yoga Union online currently has a limited ongoing class schedule (see below), but continues to host class series, workshops and trainings. Alison West is recognized for her inventive and safe Alignment Yoga Classes, whether in the highly praised General Yoga Program or in its uniquely rich Backcare & Scoliosis Program.

The best level is your level.​ Classes are based on the sound placement of the body and intelligent sequencing supported by the breath. YU offers you the chance to have fun crossing over from one kind of practice to another, knowing that the principles governing the practice will remain consistent.


​Alignment classes give you time to explore and understand the poses you are practicing, while introducing you to the foundational flowing form, or Sun Salutation (Suyra Namaskara). Poses are expertly modified to suit your needs, so you need never feel that Yoga “isn’t for you.” 


Level 2 / Intermediate  Tuesdays 9:30am

These classes are for those who have been practicing alignment yoga regularly and seriously for six months to a year, depending on age an ability and are ready to undertake more demanding inversions (headstand in the center if so desired and ready, handstand at the wall), deeper backbends, forward extensions and hip work, as well as seated Pranayama (breathing practices).
If you have are unsure of your level, do not hesitate to email and ask.


Level 3 / Advanced Intermediate Tuesdays 2pm

This class requires permission before attending.

Please email Alison.

You must have a regular inversions practice including headstand and handstand (unless you have cervical or wrist issues), understand prop use, including basic/intermediate wall-rope setups, and make a point of reviewing class material so that you may support your fellow students with your own attentive work. 
The classes offer more extensive pose development as well as longer holding.  
You should be ready to commit to regular attendance of the Level 3 class if admitted to it. The community created helps you and your fellow students move forward cheerfully, benefitting from each other’s abilities and questions. 

Yoga for Scoliosis 2 Mondays 5:30pm
Read more below. 

Class Series

ABCs of Yoga Series 
This series is perfect for the first-time student and any student who wants a fresh understanding of the fundamentals of yoga and how to develop sound posture while strengthening and releasing the body. Discover the joy and depth of this ancient practice through all categories of poses--upright, seated, reclining, prone, upside down (supported), as well as the blissful release of restorative Yoga. Please check Workshop & Events schedule for upcoming series dates.
Click here to email studio if you would be interested in a future class of this kind. 

You will be best helped by attending classes for your level and your condition. This is a list of some of the things addressed and which classes to take if you have those conditions:

  • General back ache: general Backcare classes and Herniation Basics

  • Herniation: Herniation Basics

  • Spondylolisthesis: Herniation Basics

  • Osteoarthritis of the spine: Herniation Basics

  • Osteoporosis of the spine: Herniation Basics

  • Hyper-kyphosis and lordosis: Herniation Basics

  • Stenosis: Herniation Basics 

  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis Basics; Scoliosis Level 2 with teacher’s permission

If you have a lumbar herniation and have not been to the studio before, the Herniation Basics Series would be the best fit for you, no matter what your level of practice. The same is true for scoliosis. If you have both scoliosis and a lumbar herniation, take the Herniation Basics Series first, as the injury to the soft tissue of your spine will require more immediate care and attention. When you understand safe movement for your condition, then you can attend the next Scoliosis Basics Series.


It is advisable to take a private session with Alison West, to the degree your budget allows, before beginning in the Backcare Program. Information regarding one-on-one sessions can be found here.  

It is essential that you see your doctor before taking class, so that you can understand and accurately describe your situation. The work done, for example, in the presence of lumbar herniation is quite different from that for lumber osteoarthritis of the back spine. Ask your doctor to explain it to you and to go over your X-rays in detail. Do not be afraid to ask for more explanations as needed. That is part of your doctor’s job. I too will be happy to go over your medical reports with you.

Herniation and Posture Poses

(See Workshops Schedule for availability)
These series offer a basic introduction to yoga for herniation and other disc issue, as well as being appropriate for osteoporosis of the spine, osteoarthritis, hyper-kyphosis and -lordosis and more.  You will learn the fundamentals of safe movement, yoga, and become familiar with common prop use. Strongly recommended for students with disc issues who are new to alignment-based yoga.


Yoga for Scoliosis Basics Series

(See Workshops Schedule for availability)

These series cover the foundational skills you need to work with your scoliosis and/or fusion, no matter how experienced you might otherwise be. You will learn about your curves, concavities and spinal rotation and how yoga can be practiced safely in the presence of asymmetry. These classes help increase balance and proprioception, lengthen the spine, reduce compensatory patterns, and create the strength required to sustain a new pattern while improving overall posture.

Please see TRAINING page for all programs in Backcare and Scoliosis, as well as Teacher Training and Continuing Education.

Yoga for Scoliosis Level 2  Mondays 5:30pm

For students with mature yoga practice who have been taking the Yoga & Scoliosis classes on a regular basis for a minimum of 1 year. This class will progress beyond the basics and therefore assumes the student understands his/her curves and rotations and how to work with them, as taught in introductory classes. You will work on a broader curriculum, including inversions, as well as more analysis of how to apply the work to your scoliosis. Intermediate class is not for students new to Yoga for Scoliosis. Permission required.


Yoga for Scoliosis and Spinal Fusions Series

(See Workshops Schedule for availability)
Because of the contraindications for yoga practice with Harrington Rods and other instrumentation, being in a general class—even one focused on scoliosis or back problems—can be frustrating. This class covers all the principles and poses of the Yoga & Scoliosis classes but without strong twists, convex forward bending, and back bending. The YU Scoliosis and Fusions classes help strengthen muscles around the fusion in an aligned manner, bring stability to hypermobile joints, and open stiff areas while respecting the integrity of the instrumentation. Students with scoliosis but no fusion are also welcome to this class and find it helpful. New students: Scoliosis Basics classes or the Scoliosis Basics Series are recommended prior to attending this class. If you have scoliosis but no fusion, this is a requirement. 

Yoga for Scoliosis Basics Series

(See Workshops Schedule for availability)
These five-session series cover the foundational skills you need to work with your scoliosis and/or fusion. You will learn how to work with your scoliosis to develop greater spinal length as well as ease and strength throughout the body. Learning these skills through a series will help you make a commitment to your yoga practice and integrate smoothly into Yoga Union Scoliosis or Fusion classes.

Please see TRAINING page for all programs in Backcare and Scoliosis, as well as Teacher Training and Continuing Education. We have an annual Backcare & Scoliosis program in February-March with very targeted workshops addressing different issues that are part of the certification program.

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