Vrischikasana or Scorpion pose is an inverted asana in modern yoga as exercise that combines a forearm balance and backbend. Light on Yoga treats both forearm and hand balance forms as variants of this pose. It is a part of the headstand cycle in some yoga traditions.
A similar pose, Pincha Mayurasana or Feathered Peacock pose, is a forearm balance with the body raised, giving some resemblance to a peacock's tail.
Etymology and origins
Because it requires strength, balance, and flexibility it is described as an advanced posture: Light on Yoga grades it as level 32 out of 60. In the basic pose, the body is balanced as in headstand, but the legs are bent and the back is lightly arched, and the head is lifted from the ground so the body is supported only by the forearms. A more advanced variant has the back arched further so the feet touch the top of the head. A second advanced variant has the legs held straight out horizontally above the head and arms, resembling the scorpion's tail stretched in a threat posture forwards over its body. The pose can also be executed in a variant with straight arms. Whether resting on forearms (Pincha Mayurasana) or with arms in handstand, the asana can be worked towards with the use of a chair to support the feet.
Light on Yoga distinguishes Vrischikasana I (forearm balance, feet on head, plates 536 and 537) and Vrischikasana II (handstand, feet on head, plate 538), describing the second as an "extremely difficult" balance. The placing of the feet on the head is stated to indicate an attempt to subjugate the ego with its "deadly" scorpionlike emotions.
Sayanasana (Posture of Repose) is the same as Pincha Mayurasana, but with only the elbows on the ground, the hands cradling the face, making it a difficult balance.
Ganda Bherundasana (Formidable Face Pose) is similar to Pincha Mayurasana but with bent arms and only the hands on the ground; the back is lightly arched and the legs and feet point vertically upwards. It may be practised with a block under the shoulders.
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- Yoga poses: Scorpion Pose — Vrschikasana (photographs with basic pose and variants)