Scorpion handstand is an advanced yoga posture that requires a challenging combination of strength, flexibility, and balance in order to get into the full expression of the posture. For some people, the challenge lies in not having enough arm strength to hold the pose. For others, the challenge is not having enough neck, back, and leg flexibility to get the top of their head close to touching their toes.
However, for all of us, balancing while transitioning from any of the yoga handstands into a scorpion handstand is super challenging. With enough practice, determination, and time, you will be doing a scorpion handstand before you know it.
Are you new to scorpion handstands?
If you are new to yoga handstands, you probably shouldn’t start with the scorpion handstand. Instead, you should start with beginner yoga handstands, like the forearm handstand, crow pose, and exercises that help you build strength, balance, and flexibility.
One great resource that may help you is this beginner yoga handstands guide. It has over 100 pages of information that guide you through how to warm up for yoga handstands. It also teaches exercises that will help you build strength and proper alignment. This is a great book for starting out with yoga handstands. Also, it’s a great book for perfecting more advanced yoga handstands, like scorpion handstand.
Once you feel comfortable standing on your hands doing beginner yoga handstands, it’s time to move on to scorpion handstand. Be forewarned, you may become addicted!
Warm Up For Scorpion Handstand
Before starting scorpion handstand practice, it is important that you warm up you whole body, especially your wrists, forearms, shoulders, and back. If you’re not properly warmed up, a good chance exists of you falling out before you complete your handstand. It’s okay to fall out. But your goal should be to stay in your handstands as long as you want. You should be the one to dictate when you come out. Anyway, here are a few warm-up techniques that are good for preparing you for scorpion.
Downward dog is a good warm-up technique for scorpion handstands. By putting pressure on your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders, this pose gets the blood flowing through those parts of your body, warms up your muscles, and starts getting your body accustomed to being inverted.
In downward dog, you can also open up your chest, shoulders, and neck, which will prepare you for opening those up during scorpion pose. Two to three sets of downward dog for 10-30 seconds each set should help you warm up for scorpion handstand.
Another warm-up technique for scorpion pose is table pose. Get down on all fours so that you look like a table. First, make sure you have a flat back. Second, put your hands on the ground aligned under your shoulders. Third, your knees on the ground should be aligned under your hips.
Like downward dog, this posture puts pressure on your hands, wrists, and shoulders, which should help them get loose for scorpion. You can also use this pose to loosen up your neck and back with some light movements. One way to maximize your warm-up in table pose is rocking back and forth and side-to-side. This will help loosen your joints and warm up your body.
A handstand bench will simplify your handstand warm up. By supporting your weight in your shoulders so that you don’t have to in your hands and forearms, you can bend and balance in ways you might otherwise be unable to. Use a handstand bench to help you warm up your core, back, shoulders, and legs with less risk of losing your balance. This is perfect for warming up and practicing.
With arm strength and balance taken care of for you, a handstand bench allows you to focus on other parts of your handstand, such as your core, back, legs. Therefore, you can test the more advanced parts of scorpion without worrying as much about falling over.
For instance, you can open your shoulders more easily using the handstand bench than you can without it. Accordingly, you can get a deeper warm up. If you have trouble opening your chest and shoulders in scorpion, then a handstand bench will give you an opportunity to practice.
Regardless of your level of experience, you should try the handstand bench because it will help you get deeper into your warm-up.
Rocking crow pose and crow pose
Crow pose takes downward dog and table pose to the next level. While in crow pose, you have all your weight on your hands.
Rather than start with regular crow pose, you should start with a modified version. This modified version, rocking crow pose, will warm up your hands and wrists for crow pose.
One way to get into rocking crow is to start in downward dog and then bring your knees down to your elbows. Eventually, with your knees on your elbows, you can lean far enough forward that your feet lift off the ground. Remember, your knees should be resting only lightly on your elbows. Also, your entire body weight should transition into your hands.
Rather than stay there very long, rock back onto your feet and lift your hands off the ground. You will end up back in your starting position. Remember, your knees and elbows should maintain contact. Only stay on your feet very briefly before rocking back forward onto your hands so that your feet come off the ground. Repeat this rocking motion until you feel warmed-up.
Once you’re warmed up enough from rocking crow pose, rock forward onto your hands and hold it for 15-30 seconds. As you find your balance, be sure to bend your head back or up as far as comfortable. Compressing the back of your neck will help stretch your spine. Be careful, after compressing your neck, you may become a little light-headed as you exit the pose.
Repeat this one two to three times. You’re almost ready for scorpion.
Last but not least, you should do a few regular yoga handstands to help warm up your core, find proper body alignment, and practice balancing. When you are in your yoga handstand, you can also warm up your mind for scorpion by focusing your gaze sharply on one spot on the floor.
By focusing your gaze, you’re less likely to become distracted by internal and external things and are more likely to be prepare for your next pose. Don’t feel like you need to hold these yoga handstands longer than 10-15 seconds.
You’re not trying to push your limits on these. Rather, you’re just trying to warm up your body and mind for scorpion handstand.
The added height of the handstand blocks makes you jump higher, resulting in a greater distance over which your body works and therefore greater strength. You’ll notice that this over-jumping will make your regular yoga handstands even easier to get into and hold because the handstand blocks strengthen your shoulders, forearms, wrists, and fingers more so than without.
By having stronger shoulders, forearms, and fingers, your wrists won’t have to work quite as hard. Work these into your warm up to get ready for scorpion handstand.
Three Ways Of Getting Into Yoga Handstands For Doing Scorpion Handstand
Many ways exist for getting into yoga handstands, and one way is not necessarily better than others. They each have pros and cons, so it’s good to practice many different ways of getting into handstands because it will help make you a more well-rounded yogi.
Here are three ways of getting into a handstand: one-legged entry, two legged entry, and crow to handstand.
Starting in downward dog, slowly lift one leg toward the sky while keeping your hips parallel to the ground. Slowly shift your weight into your hands and slide your hips above your head. Eventually you will need to press your other foot off the ground to transfer your center of gravity above your head. With both feet off the ground, you should now slowly position your limbs and core into a proper yoga handstand.
Similar to one-legged entry, for two-legged entry you should start in downward dog. While in downward dog, slowly shift your weight into your hands as you engage your core and position your shoulder above your hands and your hips above your head.
Eventually you will need to press both of your feet off the ground to transfer your center of gravity above your head. As you press your feet, engage your core and glutes so that the press feels and looks effortless instead of like a jump. With both feet off the ground, you should now slowly position your limbs and core into a proper yoga handstand.
Crow to handstand
Crow to handstand is perhaps the most challenging of these three ways to enter a handstand. It requires the most core and shoulder strength of the three.
Starting in crow pose, focus your gaze on one spot on the ground. Using your core strength, lift your knees off of your elbows as you shift your hips above your shoulders and hands. As you shift your hips above your shoulders, use your shoulder, hands, and arms to press your body up from crow into a handstand and straighten your legs into the air.
As you shift your hips, press into the air and straighten your legs. Your center of gravity will shift significantly. It will lift higher off the ground and have less horizontal support. You, therefore, will need a lot of concentration and practice to get comfortable coordinating all these moving parts. Once you get it, though, you’ll feel so good!
By starting out elevated, you will have to use more strength and balance to get up. Once you are up, you will use more grip strength and need greater balance, which will take your handstands to a whole new level.
Transitioning From Yoga Handstands Into Scorpion Handstand
Once you are in a steady and comfortable yoga handstand, begin to transfer into scorpion. First, engage your glutes and shift your legs in the direction that your back is facing. Simultaneously, to counteract the weight of your legs shifting back, shift the weight in your arms and shoulders toward the front of your body and begin to open your chest. Remember, don’t move faster than what you’re comfortable with. Even the slightest over-shifting can cause you to fall out. As you continue, bend your legs over backward and open your upper body. Eventually, you will face some resistance. Pause there for a brief moment before slowly bending your knees.
Padded shoulder trainers are lightweight and help you stay in the open shoulder position when doing any yoga handstand. These are perfect for warming up and practicing proper technique.
From Straight-Leg Yoga Handstands to Bent-Knee Scorpion Handstand
When you bend back as far as you can without falling over or bending your knees, begin to bend your needs and point your toes toward your head. By bending your knees, you’ll find that your legs will bend back even more than before.
With your toes as close as they’ve ever been to the back of your head, try bending your head back and up toward your toes. Be careful. Even the slightest movement will throw you off balance. Also try opening your shoulders even more. It doesn’t matter how close you get your head to your toes. Just practice proper technique and the results will follow!