If you ever scan the masses of yoga photos on Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, chances are you will be bombarded with images of insane backbends—many of which are so intense, the yogi appears to have no backbone.
Images flood our minds of picture-perfect alignment in the shoulders and forearms; followed by a smooth, deep arc of the spine; finished with toes dangling in front of the face or precisely placed on the crown of the head. We think, “How can that be comfortable?” All the while, the person in the pose maintains a peaceful look or smile on their face.
Yoga emulates life. Through practice we find change, and through change we find peace. The two go hand-in-hand. Just as we progress in life, we progress in our yoga practice. We have to push beyond the comfort zone and ego to allow the real magic to take root and grow. Herein lies the struggle of Scorpion pose.
Scorpion pose pushes us to move past our self-imposed expectations and limits, to find our guts and gumption, and to own our badassery.
In Sanskrit, vrischik means scorpion and asana means pose. Vrischikasana has multiple benefits; however, as this is an advanced posture, it is imperative to practice this pose with an experienced yoga instructor and with proper preparation to avoid the risk of injury.
Attempting this posture may place you at serious risk of injury if you suffer from any of the following:
If you are new to this pose, begin by warming the body through a vinyasa flow (i.e., Sun Salutations) to encourage movement, blood flow, and hydration to the tissues and joints. The following preparatory poses will open and strengthen the body to work toward the full expression of Scorpion pose.
It is also advised to use the support of a wall when attempting this posture. This helps you to work toward an active extension in the spine, keeps you from “dumping” into the lower back, and prevents unhealthy compression in the spinal column.
In Light On Yoga, B.K.S. lyengar states:
“The head, which is the seat of knowledge and power is also the seat of pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, intolerance and malice. These emotions are more deadly than the poison, which the scorpion carries in its sting. The yogi, by stamping on his head with his feet, attempts to eradicate these self-destroying emotions and passions. The subjugation of ego leads to harmony and happiness.”
The realization that we can end self-inflicted suffering by balancing out unproductive emotions, through our yoga practice, is evident here. Ego can no longer survive in an environment that no longer nourishes its growth. The poison of our own stinger, coming from the root of who we are, can begin to weaken the ego to dissolve the self-imposed binds and limitations. The ego is cunning, clever, and often difficult to catch, however, we know where it resides.