Steps to Scorpion Pose

vrschikasana

SCORPION POSE

Exhilarating, stimulating, and enlivening are a few words we can use to describe Scorpion Pose. We can also use words such as grounding or even relaxing, which might initially be considered strange descriptors. When we explore and apply Matt’s techniques in a methodical way, we begin to understand that Scorpion requires both strength and a degree of softening and letting go. Once we get into the intricacies of this backbend, we adopt the ability to “relax” into it. 

Further, we develop the gift of discernment. The challenging nature of the posture forces us to use caution in exploring what works for our individual bodies. The journey reveals a deep discovery of the self.

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MOBILIZE THE SPINE

Matt teaches techniques to prepare more specifically.  

In preparatory postures, there’s more that takes place than simply arching the back or assuming that it’s enough to anteriorly tilt the pelvis.

Throughout a backbend practice leading up to Scorpion Pose, pulling the belly in and up helps create a spaciousness in the spine that minimizes compression. The action activates the transversus abdominis and engages the back muscles for support, and it shifts the vertebrae and intervertebral discs forward. Here, we also utilize discernment. Yes, we are trying to lift and send each vertebra more forward, but we must also tap into which segments of the spine feel more “stuck.” Going to the position that feels doable is key. We can use this information in further supplementary work in this asana practice or in others.

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STEPS TO SCORPION POSE: BACKBEND TECHNIQUES CLARIFIED

KING COBRA PREPARATION

After many postures and positions that contribute to preparing for Scorpion Pose, Matt teaches King Cobra. He notes that it’s a great posture to explore as part of the Scorpion toolkit because it provides almost the same joint relationships. The difference is that it’s flipped over, with the belly as the base of support.

In the video, Matt offers 2 variations. One variation makes use of a bolster, which provides support under the rib cage. Using the bolster provides feedback as to how much we are lifting and lengthening the abdomen when we send the spine forward.

The variation without the bolster includes the cue about “softening.” It’s not that we shouldn’t soften when using the bolster; in the second variation, he’s simply reminding us when and where to implement this action.

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SCORPION STEPS

A key consideration is to de-emphasize touching the feet to the head in Scorpion Posebody proportions play a role in whether or not this is actually possible. Emphasizing healthy and safe spinal extension will reap greater rewards.

Here are some key steps when practicing Scorpion at a wall:

  1. On all fours, turn the hands out and set them wide
  2. Soften the heart towards the ground
  3. Snake the chest through the shoulders
  4. Kick the feet up to the wall
  5. Reach into the wall with toes or heels
  6. Simultaneously reach the chest and the feet towards the wall

There’s no doubt about the strength required to follow these steps. The pattern practiced in King Cobra is recreated by softening down the chest while pulling towards the wall. Again, it’s this “relaxing” into the backbend that helps create the required space between the vertebrae. 

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JOURNEY OVER DESTINATION

We can get caught up in the aesthetics of a robust posture like Scorpion Pose, but Matt always emphasizes that the beauty lies in the discoveries we make about ourselves. As we explore our potential, many opportunities are produced that help us learn more about the levels of our willingness to challenge ourselves and our ability to pull back when necessary. On a physical level, we learn about our capabilities and our limitations in a particular instance. With regular practice, we gradually transform our experience overall. Following precise techniques, along with a willingness to explore, supplies us with confidence.  

We can apply this to Scorpion by calling the touching of the toes to the head the “destination” and all of the spinal explorations along the way the “journey.” If we let go of the destination, we can appreciate all of the outcomes of the journey.

Matt’s recent 2-hour online Freedom Of The Heart workshop reveals techniques and increased insight for stronger, safer backbends.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Inversion Immersion 

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