Vrischika - asana - The Scorpion Pose
The Scorpion Pose
Vrischika is the Sanskrit word for scorpion. This posture is so named because the body resembles a scorpion with its tail arched above its head ready to sting its victim. Although it may not be a simple posture for beginners to perform, the Scorpion is not as difficult as it may at first seem.
1. Kneel on the floor and lean forward placing the elbows and forearms flat on the floor
with the palms facing down. Your arms should be placed about shoulder-distance
2. Extend your head forward and lift it as high as possible.
3. Raise the buttocks and place the feet firmly on the bottoms the toes.
4. Inhale a swing the legs up and over the head while maintaining your balance. Bring
the legs straight up over your head.
5. Slowly bend the knees and drop the legs toward the head being careful not to move
too quickly or drop the legs to far while maintaining balance.
6. Reverse the steps above and return to a kneeling position.
The Scorpion should not be attempted until you are comfortable with all the balance postures (e.g.: Vriksha-asana, Ekapada-asana, etc.) as well as the Headstand (Sirsha-asana). Beginners should do this posture under the supervision of a qualified teacher. When first attempting the Scorpion asana you may want to try it while facing a wall. Position yourself so that when you are doing step #1 above your head is about 2 - 3 feet from the wall. This way if you lose your balance you can use the wall for support.
This posture will provide maximum stretch to the neck, spine and chest. It combines many of the benefits of the Chakra-asana (the Wheel posture) and the Sirsha-asana (the Headstand).
Hold the vrischika-asana for as long as you are comfortable. Keep in mind that returning from the posture gracefully without falling out of it will take some strength, so don't hold it too long. 20-30 seconds is fine for early attempts, increase the time gradually as you become more proficient.
There are two common variations to this posture illustrated and described below:
To do the first variation, illustrated above, after entering the Scorpion as described above slowly raise the legs straight up until your feet are directly over your head (you won't, of course, be able to see this but you will easily be able to feel when they are properly positioned). This variation requires a bit more strength and a stronger sense of balance then pose described above.