While scorpion pose (Vrschikasana) is a difficult pose to master, it provides a challenge that some yogis crave and are determined to conquer. To gain the correct alignment of the pose and optimal strength, you must practice drills, strengthen your core, and master basic yoga poses first. This will not only make it easier to get your scorpion pose, but it will also prevent injury during the process. I have compiled a list of the top three drills, or poses, that anyone looking to master scorpion would ideally practice daily. Keep in mind that it's better to do fewer reps with correct alignment than to do hundreds of reps incorrectly.
Next, you'll find step-by-step instructions on how to perform each drill, as well as pictures to demonstrate how to properly and improperly perform each pose. Of course, please try these poses slowly, consciously, and with a partner to prevent injury.
Begin in your downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), and bring your forearms to the floor. Alignment is very important here — keep your elbows shoulder-width apart without falling out to the side. Palms are facing down and hands are flat on the floor. Push the floor away from you so that the base of your index finger is pressed against the mat. Do not collapse your chest, and keep your quads and core engaged.
From your downward-facing dog, inhale and lift up your right leg while keeping your hips square.
You'll need a wall for this drill. Face away from the wall and place your hands flat on the floor. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart (not any wider) and press the base of the index finger into the floor. Placing one foot against the wall, press it into the wall to lift your hips up. If you feel like you're falling or slipping off the wall, press harder into the wall and engage your core. When you press up, try to create an “L” shape with your body, creating a 90-degree angle. You may want to do this near a mirror at first so that you can see your alignment. Hold this pose for five breaths, come down, and rest for five breaths by stretching your wrists. Then, repeat the pose three more times.
I advise my clients to stay away from using the wall to fall back on when they are kicking up to their headstand or handstand. The wall acts as a crutch and does not allow you to utilize the necessary muscles in your core to gain proper strength and stability. So, let’s say “goodbye” to the wall and become more conscious on maintaining proper posture!
Send me pictures of your straight back inversions and I will be happy to repost on my Instagram and give you advice on how to correct it!
Approaching a challenging pose like scorpion takes practice, dedication, and training. The practice of these drills and poses with focus and proper alignment will assist you in approaching scorpion pose.