Mastering the Vrschikasana – Scorpion Pose revisited, watch the video!
When I first stepped onto my yoga mat, I was unaware of its profound impact on my life, so I decided to try yoga to relieve my persistent lower back pain.
Little did I know that years later, I would be sharing my passion for the practice as a yoga teacher, introducing students to challenging poses such as the “scorpion pose”.
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.
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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
It 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.
Steps – Guidelines
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.
Avoid these mistakes to maximize the benefits of this advanced asana and minimize harm.3
Lack of Planning
Before attempting Scorpion Pose, make sure you are capable of performing other inversions including Headstand (Sirsasana), Handstand Pose (Vrksasana), and Forearm Stand.
Push-ups in the dolphin position are an effective workout for developing core and shoulder strength.
Perform ten-set sets. Your spine must also become more flexible, which can take a long time for some people.
Camel Position, which has the spine curled similarly to Scorpion Pose but not inverted, will aid in the development of back flexibility.
Getting past your limitations
Even seasoned practitioners need to exercise caution when doing this backbend. If you’re trying this posture for the first time, be sure you’re doing it under the guidance of a licensed yoga instructor.
Variations and Modifications
Yoga beginners shouldn’t attempt this challenging pose. Your yoga instructor can guide you in determining what your limitations are and if it’s safe to advance.
Need an Adjustment?
You can begin working on Scorpion near the wall if you feel at ease doing Forearm Stand there.
1. Place your hands about just a foot away from the wall before kicking up.
2. Place your feet against the wall and come into forearms. Putting your feet just on wall will cause your spine to bend backwards since your hands are much further away from the wall than your feet are.
3. To draw the spine into extension, bend your knees and start walking your feet along the wall towards your head. Recognize whenever it’s time to stop; you must feel strong & stable & pain-free.
4. Pay attention to your body.
Gently exit the stance if you experience any physical pain or sensations that feel counterproductive.
Yoga should never be uncomfortable.
Accepting a challenge?
Try putting the foot soles on the top of your head to see if you can touch your toes to your head in Scorpion Pose. You might benefit from practicing positions such Wheel Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana in advance to assist you prepare for the very deep backbend that will be necessary for this.
Health and Safety Measures
Only practitioners who are knowledgeable and well-prepared can try this pose, and they should take precautions when doing so. Have any hip or back issues, have elevated blood pressure, or who are pregnant, avoid attempting this pose. If you have glaucoma, practicing any inversions is not advised.
Benefits of Scorpion Pose
The Scorpion Pose helps tone your back, core, shoulders, and arms. The hip flexors & chest muscles are stretched, and your spine becomes more flexible.
You will rely on the stability and balance you have gained from practicing yoga. It is quite physically and mentally invigorating as a difficult inversion.
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Contrary to popular perception, a recent study refuted the notion that, despite the fact that the skull is located below the heart, inversions boost blood flow to the brain.
You can start experimenting with Scorpion Pose if you can steadily keep the balance inside a forearm standing (Pincha Mayurasasa), either in the center of the space or at the wall, and frequently add backbends into your pose practice.