How to Do Scorpion Pose (Vrschikasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Yoga Scorpion Pose
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Targets: Flexibility, balance

Level: Advanced

Scorpion Pose (Vrschikasana) is an advanced pose that you may not be able to achieve until you have attained enough core strength and you have mastered basic yoga poses. This intense backbend inversion mimics the position of a scorpion ready to strike. Some have labeled Scorpion as the hardest yoga pose. It can take extra preparation and skill to build the muscle, flexibility, and skill to accomplish this pose. It is usually reserved until the end of an asana practice.

Benefits

Scorpion Pose will strengthen your shoulders, arms, core, and back. It improves the flexibility of your spine and stretches your hip flexors and chest muscles. You can develop your sense of balance with this pose. As an inversion, it is energizing as you have increased blood flow to your head. You have to learn patience, perseverance, and endurance to achieve this pose.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin by balancing in forearm stand in the center of the room.
  2. Bend your knees and lift your head. 
  3. In forearm stand, the hips are pretty much over your shoulders. For your body to move into the classic C shape of a scorpion, your hips must move away from your head. This happens naturally as you begin to curve your spine into a position of extension.
  4. As you deepen your backbend, your knees may separate, but keep your big toes touching.
  5. Continue to move your toes toward the crown on your head.
  6. To come out, lower one leg at a time to the floor.
  7. You may want to perform the Child's Pose to counter the intense backbend of the Scorpion Pose.

Common Mistakes

To get the most of this advanced pose and prevent injury, avoid these errors.

Lack of Preparation

You will want to be accomplished in performing a Handstand Pose before you attempt the Scorpion Pose. Dolphin Pose push-ups are a good exercise to build your shoulder strength. Perform sets of 10. You will also need good back flexibility. Camel Pose will help develop back flexibility, with the spine curved in the same way it will be in Scorpion Pose, but not inverted.

Working Beyond Your Limits

Even experienced practitioners should be careful with this intense backbend. Work with spotters when you are attempting this pose.

Modifications and Variations

True beginners should not attempt this advanced posture. You should work with a yoga instructor to guide you and help you understand your limits and whether it is safe to progress.

Need a Modification?

If you are comfortable doing Forearm Stand at the wall, you can start to work on Scorpion at the wall.

  1. Before you kick up, move your hands about two feet from the wall.
  2. Come into Forearms Stand with your feet on the wall. Because your hands are further from the wall, placing your feet on the wall will create a backbend position in your spine.
  3. Walk your feet down the wall toward your head to intensify your spinal extension. Stop whenever you need to.

Up for a Challenge?

In the full pose, the soles of your feet rest on the crown of your head. This requires a very deep backbend, so working on poses like Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) will help prepare you.

Safety and Precautions

Only experienced and well-prepared practioners should attempt this pose, and should use caution when doing so. Do not attempt this pose if you have hip or back problems, high blood pressure, or are pregnant. Listen to your body. If you feel any pain, gently come out of the pose.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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