yoga for scorpion pose!
hello friends! i thought i would do a little guide for some yoga poses to help you deepen your lower back bend and build up strength for scorpion pose. keep in mind that scorpion is a very challenging inversion that requires a lot of arm, core, and back strength. incorporating these poses into your practice can help you work on all of those aspects!
- arched 3-legged downward facing dog: begin in regular downward dog, and then swing your right leg back. bend the leg to the left and look up over your left shoulder. this will give you a deep back stretch and also work your arms and core.
- king pigeon pose: lie on your stomach with your hands placed by your sides, elbows bent. bend your knees and gently push your upper body up, while continuing to support your back with your core.
- two-legged inverted staff pose: i like to get into this by first pushing up into full wheel, and then easing down onto my forearms and straightening my legs. if you’re new to backbends, simply working on wheel is enough! transition to this one when you feel ready for a deeper lower back stretch. to come out, tuck your head through your shoulders and gently lower down onto your back.
- arched pigeon pose: one of my favourite backbends! get into pigeon and then gently look back behind you and use your core to support your backbend. you can hold onto your front leg for additional support. come back up slowly!
- camel pose: standing on your knees, look back behind you and grab each leg at the ankles, one leg at a time. hold this for a couple of breaths, keep your core engaged and also feel the stretch in your quads and hip flexors. this is a great post-run pose for your legs as well!
- full camel pose: much more advanced - you can get into this by lowering down to your forearms from camel, and you don’t have to keep ahold of your ankles. reach your arms back behind you to support yourself and don’t overstretch yourself!
- forearm stand: when you feel comfortable doing handstands, forearm stands are the next inversion to try. go near a wall, set up so your hands are about a foot away, and get into dolphin pose. walk your feet toward your body as close as you can, then kick into it. make sure you’ve got the stability to hold forearm stand before you try to add the backbend.
- forearm scorpion: get into your forearm stand, and first play around with bending your legs or incorporating a slightly bent back. you can also get used to the feeling by setting up close to the wall and gently walking your feet down and then back up - this is a great strength building exercise. as your back flexibility and strength increases, when you want to get deeper into the bend you will have to look further and further forward and shift your weight until you’re looking at the wall and not at the floor.
remember to always take inversions very slowly and be careful. i know it seems really difficult, but if you take it slow there will come a day when it feels easier. and remember that flexibility is only a small part of the equation - one surefire way to improve at inversions is to work on strength - planks, pushups, and core. although they look very serene or easy in photos, inversions require a lot of physical strength and you will probably be sweating and breathing hard when practicing them - that’s totally normal! after a few forearm or handstand poses i always get up and give my arms a shake because otherwise they get very tired. always practice near a wall when you’re beginning and remember that yoga shouldn’t ever feel painful - discomfort from stretching is normal, pain isn’t.
and don’t forget that modifying these poses to fit your own needs and flexibility is the best way to work on your own yoga journey. everyone starts somewhere and the only way to improve is to practice. :)
happy inverting, friends!