[Pose Of the Week] Challenge Your Strength & Flexibility With Scorpion Pose (Advanced)

Build strength and flexibility throughout the body with this intense advanced asana: Scorpion Pose…

Scorpion Pose (Vrischikasana) is an advanced yoga pose that improves both strength and flexibility – especially in the core, back, and upper body. It also stretches the neck, chest, and abdominals, opens the heart, and improves endurance and stamina. Scorpion is also thought to improve focus and concentration, relieve stress and anxiety, and detoxify the kidneys and adrenal glands.

This unique backbending inversion is the next challenge after you’ve mastered forearm stand or Feathered Peacock Pose. You should not practice this pose until you have mastered handstand pose, and you will need to build up your arm and shoulder strength and back flexibility before attempting this pose. Use a wall for support if you need it, and a spotter is a good idea until you are comfortable getting into this pose – even for advanced yogis.

Those with shoulder, hip, spine, or wrist injuries, or with a history of high blood pressure or vertigo, or those who are pregnant should not attempt this pose.

Here is a detailed tutorial for performing Scorpion Pose:

  • Step 1: Begin in a Tabletop position. Slowly lower your forearms to the ground. Ensure the shoulders are balanced over the elbows and shoulder-distance apart to allow proper stacking of the joints.
  • Step 2: Spread your fingers wide and press the entire palm of each hand into the floor. Slightly squeeze the under arms, ensuring the elbows do not “bow” out to the sides. This is the foundation of the posture and is the most crucial for a successful rise. Set your gaze between your thumbs or index fingers.
  • Step 3: Maintaining your foundation, press down into the forearms, curl the toes under, and lift the hips high while walking the toes toward the elbows. This will bring you into Dolphin pose (Makarasana), where you can build strength and stability in the shoulders while toning and warming the core.
  • Step 4: While in Dolphin pose, begin to lift a leg of your choice while bending the grounded leg. Press away from the ground, using a hopping motion, to bring the legs overhead and balance on the forearms. You are now in Feathered Peacock pose (Pincha Mayurasana). If you are against a wall, kick the legs up gently onto the wall and refine the pose. Note: You should be approximately an elbow-to-fingertip distance away from the wall. You will not be able to take Scorpion pose if you do not account for enough space to walk the toes down the wall.
  • Step 5: Refine Feathered Peacock pose by pressing through the forearms and shoulders while sweeping the lower torso in and up (hollow out). Zipper the thighs together.
  • Step 6: Next, gently begin to shift the back of the hips and legs forward, encouraging them to line up with the shoulder shelf. The sternum (breastbone) will be slightly perpendicular with the floor. Bend the knees and maintain support in the front of the spine, using core strength, as you begin to further extend your gaze past the fingertips and deepen the backbend. You should not feel any strain or intense compression in the spine or shoulders. If you do, back off and come out of this posture to avoid possible injury.
  • Step 7: Support this posture with slow, deep breaths and challenge yourself to maintain the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Step 8: To exit, slowly extend the knees and lengthen the legs into Feathered Peacock pose once more. Gently bring the feet down to the floor, finding Dolphin pose, and then return to Child’s pose. It is advised to gently and gradually transfer to forward-folding postures after a deep backbend to avoid shock or strain to the spinal column and musculature.
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