vrschikasana – scorpion pose revisited
When I took my first yoga class, I had no idea how it would transform my life. I tried yoga to see if it would help my chronic lower back pain. Little did I know I would begin teaching years later. While the practice has offered me a way to heal my body and find strength and flexibility, it has also taught me a way to soften and polish the rough edges of myself. Through the practice of the Yamas and Niyamas, I have found a greater spaciousness within, a place that is compassionate toward myself.
This is something I can then extend to others. Yoga has helped me embrace the messier parts of myself and has offered me a way to let go of the expectation of perfection. Teaching has become part of my yoga path. It is a way for me to offer back to the community something that has helped me navigate the complexities of life. I am grateful to all my students who give me this opportunity.
Mastering Scorpion Pose or Vrschikasana 1 can take years of patience and practice, yet for those still working on it, here it is broken down and made easy with 6 straightforward steps.
Scorpion pose (Vrschikasana 1 – the full expression of the pose has the feet on the head) offers us strength and flexibility. It is an inversion, a shoulder opener, and a backbend. This asana helps us develop strength and flexibility along with patience and tenacity. As we practice opening the shoulders, we learn patience and respect of our edges because it takes a long time to open the shoulders.
The backbend portion of scorpion pose asks us to open the heart. We find humility as we learn this pose due to the combined demands of the asana. As Mr. Iyengar says in Light on Yoga, “The yogi, by stamping on his head with his feet, attempts to eradicate these self-destroying emotions and passions (pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, and intolerance). The subjugation of the ego leads to harmony and happiness.”
Scorpion pose asks us to move beyond ego, to find our tenacity and to open to possibilities we think might not exist. Here are 6 easy steps to help you achieve it.
1. Place the forearms on the ground, three to four inches from the wall, with the hands either shoulders width apart or with the palms together.
2. Curl the toes under and lift to dolphin pose (downward dog on the forearms).
3. Walk the feet in close to the elbows while lengthening the spine, then kick up into Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance) with the feet on the wall.
4. Lift up out of the shoulders by grounding evenly through the forearms from wrist to elbow.
5. Begin to turn the head to look at your hands, engaging in a slight backbend, then take one leg and bend the knee, bringing the front of the shinbone against the wall. Then bring the other leg into the same position.
6. Turn the chin and face toward the hands, even more, allowing the backbend to deepen. Breathe.
Continue lifting out of the shoulders, but allow the chest to open and the upper backbend to take root. Steady yourself with a deep conscious breath and enjoy the journey.
Watch a video of scorpion pose.