Yoga Serendipity and King Pigeon Variation Tutorial | A Guest Post by Brittany

Happy, happy Friday to you!  Today, we are so excited to have Brittany on the blog.  She has been a client here at the studio for four years, and she just recently graduated from InnerLight Yoga School.  Brittany also teaches an off-site class for us in addition to her Power Yoga class at the Cornerstone studio on Wednesday nights at 8:15 PM.  Please keep reading to learn more about her journey, plus she shares a great tutorial on the King Pigeon Variation.  Take it away, Brittany!

I’m thrilled with the opportunity to guest post with studioVIBE!  I started taking classes at the studio four years ago when I found it on my way home from work one day.  Although this might sound crazy (it was), I would take Xtend class Sunday, TRX and Pilates Monday, TRX Wednesday, and Pilates again on Thursday… These classes were so challenging and fun, and I was addicted.  If I tried this routine now, I might not be walking by Tuesday, let alone Friday!

At the start of 2013, I decided to channel some of my energy into Yoga.  I had practiced off and on since high school, and I remember taking my first class with my mom at the YMCA (sweat dripped off my eyelash in my first ever down dog; eww).  In later years, I returned to yoga with new dedication as I was looking for physical benefits, but also mental calm and inner strength.  I happened to stumble upon InnerLight Yoga School just as it was enrolling its first class!  I feel like a lot of my life has come by serendipity and this was certainly a very HAPPY accident!  I always felt at home at studioVIBE, and when I found that I could learn to become a teacher at the same place, the decision was made!

Brittany practicing during her training at InnerLight Yoga School which is held at studioVIBE. Photo Credit: Julia Wade Photography

I took my yoga teacher training with Susan Jackson of InnerLight and studioVIBE and started teaching before I was even finished with training.  She inspired me to pass on the teachings of yoga beyond asana alone.  I enjoy practicing and teaching challenging sequences that encourage students to turn inward to find their inner strength and find the confidence to try poses they didn’t know they were capable of!  I teach Power Yoga at studioVIBE Cornerstone at 8:15pm every Wednesday – try it out!  It’s a warm class practiced by candlelight and is sure to build your confidence and practice.  Plus – no one can see how sweaty we might be in the dark!

Here’s a sample tutorial from my own blog, Strength in Stillness, of one of my favorite poses – try it out!  But remember AHIMSA (nonharm) – it’s a deep backbend!

King Pigeon Variation

This is one of the best hip opening poses in yoga (I may be biased… it might just be my favorite) and also very restorative when you surrender in the forward fold of pigeon.  In this king pigeon variation, you’ll get to add a deep back bend and shoulder opener to the hip stretch!  Proceed through the full version of this pose with caution.  The back bending is intense and you should only go to your comfortable limit.

1) Begin in low lunge.  Add a back bend to your lunge if you’d like to begin warming up your spine for this bind.

2) Walk your right foot over towards your left hip, setting it for Pigeon.  If your hips are very open, your shin may be close to parallel to the short edge (top) of your mat.  Otherwise, for hip comfort, bring your right heel closer to your left hip.  Make sure that your left hip, knee, ankle and toes are straight in line behind you.  You’ll want to be stable in this pose, such that you could pick up your hands and not roll to the side.  If you are having trouble with stability, think of pulling the short ends of your mat together with your legs.

3) Bend your left knee.  Begin to reach back for your left foot.  This is another test of stability in your pigeon, and this may be the place to stay for awhile as you are gaining balance in this pose.

4) Walk your left hand down your left shin so that you can wedge your left foot into your left elbow crease.


5) Add the beautiful bind to your pigeon.  Pick up your right hand and reach back for your left hand.  This opens both of your shoulders and adds a wonderful backbend to this stretchy pose!

6) As you are ready, relax after your back bend in the forward fold version of pigeon to release the back.

Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your journey and this great tutorial with us today, Brittany!  We hope you all enjoyed it.  Feel free to leave any questions or comments for Brittany below, and we’ll be sure to respond.  Have a great weekend!