Scorpion Pose, Vrischikasana, (vrchik-SHAH-sah-nah.)
vrschika (scorpion) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Forearm Balance, Vrschikasana, Ganda Bherundasana
This pose is only for the advanced yogi – it combines a challenging arm balance with a deep back bend.
Scorpion Pose Fundamentals
Scorpion Pose is an advanced arm balance and back bend. Caution beginners!
We’d only recommend this challenging pose to students with a solid yoga practice who already have a good grasp of other balances and backbends.
The asana is translated to Scorpion Pose from the Sanskrit Vrschikasana. The name comes from the shape the body creates while in the pose – the arched torso and curled legs appear as a scorpion’s tail.Scorpion also has a symbolic meaning in many cultures, representing rebirth, transformation, and renewal.
When one reaches the final expression of the pose, with their feet touching the head, it can be a symbol of pressing on one’s negative qualities and letting go of the ego.
At the same time, the chest is open, opening the heart and increasing your tolerance, harmony, and compassion.
Pincha Mayurasana is the most similar pose to Scorpion Pose, with the main difference being the shape of the legs. They are straight in Pincha Mayurasana, which makes it a bit more accessible, so it can be a great way to gradually come to Scorpion.
There are no mentions of Scorpion Pose in older yoga texts, it was first written about in Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.
Fun fact – an Indian Yoga teacher Yash Moradiya broke the Guinness World Record when he held Scorpion Pose for 29 minutes. Impressive!
Having the symbolism and energetic benefits in mind, Scorpion Pose is not only a fantastic asana to challenge your body at the end of yoga classes, but an interesting spiritual practice as well.
Benefits Of Scorpion Pose
- Strengthens the upper body: shoulders, arms, core, and back.
- Stretches and lengthens the spine, hip flexors, chest, biceps, and triceps.
- Energizes the body and mind.
- Improves stability and balance.
- Improves the breath by expanding the chest cavity and the diaphragm.
- Activates the Throat, Third Eye, and Crown chakras, removing any energetic blocks in these areas.
- Promotes awareness, concentration, and focus, and builds resilience and confidence.
- Encourages you to become aware of your body and your alignment.
- Relaxes the mind.
- Improved back flexibility.
- Improved blood flow.
- The stretch of the abdomen stimulates its internal organs, aiding the function of the digestive and reproductive systems. The stretch in the neck also stimulates the thyroid gland.
How To Do Pincha Mayurasana: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Begin in a forearm stand. If you’re not sure how to get there, read our full guide here, and work on that pose first before Scorpion Pose.
- Begin bending your knees and curving your spine. Look slightly forward, but not so much to compress the back of your neck.
- Your hips and pelvis will drop forward, moving past the shoulders and nearing the line of your head.
- Touch your big toes together, but keep the knees apart and wide. Don’t collapse in the spine and compress the lower back – prioritize stability over flexibility.
- In the final expression of the pose, one touches the forehead with their toes, but note that this will take a lot of practice to train.
- Hold for as long as comfortable.
- To come out of the pose, straighten your legs and then lower them down one at a time. Exit slowly, using your strength – don’t just fall back down.
- Before moving on with your practice, spend some time in Child’s Pose.
Tips And Tricks:
- Make sure you have mastered Pincha Mayurasana – forearm balance before Scorpion Pose. Also, have a consistent practice of deep backbends like Wheel Pose or Bow Pose before trying it.
- Warm up with backbends like Camel Pose and Cat and Cow Pose, and strengthening asanas like Dolphin and Chaturanga.
- Opening the chest plays a big role in this pose – the more your chest is open, the more you will bend your legs.
- Keep your neck long, don’t scrunch or strain it. Keeping the gaze forward or slightly up can help with that.
- Stay grounded through all ten fingers and grip the floor with your palms. Balance the weight throughout your forearms.
- Activate your core to support the back – you want a curve in your back, avoid a sharp angle in the lower back.
- Keep the elbows aligned with your shoulders and ground down into your forearms, to avoid collapsing into your wrist. This will give you a more solid base.
- Breathe through it, holding your breath will only make it more difficult.
Scorpion Pose Variations:
Scorpion Pose Variation: Dolphin Pose
Dolphin Pose is a great preparatory pose for the Scorpion, especially if you’re not used to arm balances.
This asana will strengthen your core so you can support yourself in arm balances. The forearms have the same shape as in Scorpion Pose, so you’ll get used to the alignment and the sensation without going too far.
From Downward Facing Dog, move your elbows and forearms to the ground. Push evenly into the forearms and palms and keep them shoulder-width apart.
Come onto your toes, and walk towards your hands, aiming to stack the hips over the shoulders. Hold for as long as comfortable, at least 5 deep breaths, then release.
Scorpion Pose Variation: On The Wall
When you feel ready to start learning the Scorpion Pose, it may be good to begin next to a wall.
Place your hands about a foot from the wall. Come into a forearm stand, with your feet on the wall. Since you placed your hands away from the wall, this will naturally create a backbend.
To move further, begin to bend your knees and walk your feet down the wall to deepen the backbend. Stop when you feel a sensation, no need to go too far. Adjust the hand position as needed.
Scorpion Pose Variation: Pincha Mayurasana
Pincha Mayurasana, or the elbow stand, is the most similar pose to the Scorpion Pose. The main difference is that the legs go straight up to the sky.
You need to be confident in this pose before moving to the back bend.
For Pinchamayurasana, begin in the previously mentioned Dolphin Pose. Then, lift your legs one at a time, trying to keep them up in the air. To feel more secure, you can also practice next to a wall.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Not prepared. Some students will attempt this pose before they are ready, which can lead to injury. You want to be sure you are warmed up before your practice, but also that you already can do other advanced poses like the Forearm Stand, Wheel Pose, and Headstand before you attempt the Scorpion Pose.
Going over your limit. Even if you are advanced, you need to approach this pose with care. Don’t go too far – you shouldn’t feel any pain, and if you can’t breathe normally, move back a little.
Injuries and Contraindications
Only experienced students who are warmed up should try this pose. Don’t try it with any issues in the hips, shoulders, or back, if you are pregnant or if you have high blood pressure or glaucoma. If you feel pain or severe discomfort, come out of the pose.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)