We've all seen it. Scorpion, with it's complex combination of balance and flexibility that simultaneously leaves you in awe and wondering if maybe, just maybe, you could do it, too. After all, every yogi and their brother seems to have the elusive vrschikasana picture plastered on their Instagram that seemingly exudes effortlessness. I'm guilty of it too, don't get me wrong. I recently posted my own proud scorpion picture on my Instagram @yogamaris...minus the glowing, effortless smile.
The cross-eyed, pursed-lip look of concentration, in all it's glory. Sure, it's not the prettiest vrschikasana picture out there, but I'm certainly proud of what it took to get to where I am today. This picture captures the very moment that I was first able to bring my feet to my head while still maintaining balance on my forearms, and I was eager to share it on Instagram with one of my favorite quotes: "Every time you step on your mat, there is opportunity for growth."
I have no idea who said that, or where I heard it, but it's absolutely true. You never know when that breakthrough moment will happen, and when it does, it can really take you off guard. The thought running through my head in the picture above is something like, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this!"
But it took a lot to get there.
I started off on the wall, focusing on getting used to the forearm balance and experiencing the backbend. I was so excited the first time I managed to get off the wall, and even then I could only keep my balance for a split second.
February 27th, 2015
From there, I worked on getting less reliant on the wall and more reliant on my core strength and stability. For weeks, I was popping scorpion anywhere and everywhere, hoping for that breakthrough moment when I could hold the pose for more than a split second.
Eventually, I was able to keep my balance for a good amount of time, but whenever I'd try and go deeper in the backbend, I'd fall down.
April 3rd, 2015
By now I was determined to touch my head with my feet! I focused on backbends every time I practiced, opening my heart up in my warrior ones, my lunges, even clasping my hands behind my back in my chair poses (this wasn't because my arms were simply tired and chair pose is exhausting enough as it is, of course, how could you suggest such a thing?). I knew that one day, it would happen, but I didn't know when. And needless to say, I was completely taken off guard when I not only reached my fullest expression of the posture, but had a picture to capture the moment.
I'm incredibly proud of finding my scorpion, not because I view it as a symbol of my abilities, but because it's a symbol of the mental resilience and dedication it took to get there. Having a goal and striving to accomplish it is an extremely rewarding expirience that teaches you a lot about yourself and your strength both mentally and physically. Finding my scorpion showed me just how stubborn I can be when I comes to achieving something I want, but it also showed me how well I've come to understand my body and my practice. I learned when it was time to find my edge and continue past it into a new experience, and when it was time to back off and avoid injury. By exploring a new pose continuously, I added a new level of understanding to my practice and was able to experience gradual change in other postures as well. I found backbends such as camel and full wheel as well as arm balances such as side crow and flying pigeon much more accessible over these past few months.
It's important to have goals in your practice, which I why I often ask my class to set an intention every time they hit the mat. It can be something as specific as finding more space in your backends, or it can be as broad as committing yourself to a mindful and explorative practice. Whatever it is, make your practice meaningful, and you will find a whole new experience on your mat.