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Vrschikasana in Ashtanga Yoga is a Scorpion Handstand that requires both strength and flexibility. Many people who are both strong and flexible have a hard time touching their feet to their head. This video shows you some tips and techniques to work this difficult pose. I'll also show some common mistakes so that you can be sure work the handstand with good technique and alignment.
1. Start off with your vertical line. The more flexible you are, the more important this is. If you're naturally bendy it can be too easy to just flop over into your backbend. But doing a backbend while balancing on your arms requires as much if not more structural integrity than doing a backbend while on your legs.
2. Lift and create space between all the joints of the spine. Maximize this sense of spaciousness by sending the chest forward and up and the feet forward and away from the center of the body.
3. Avoid squeezing the gluten or the hamstrings. If you try and bend your needs to get the tips of the toes to the head you may end up tightening the butt and over activating the hamstrings. Instead engage the muscles of the back rooting down into your hands. Lead forward with your knees to keep a sense of elongation.
4. The goal isn't actually to touch the feet to head. The goal of this pose is to articulate a dynamic extension of the spine. By doing a backbend while balancing on your arms the body is challenged to facilitate entry into each joint from a place of integrated strength. The goal is to strengthen and lengthen the whole body.
5. Head up. I can't say this enough. If you don't keep the head up it will be hard to recruit the upper back and way too easy to hinge in the lower back. Upper back flexibility distributes the work of the backbend throughout the entire back instead of relying on only the lower back. Upper back flexibility also allows you a deeper, fuller breath in the pose.
6. Fall. Learn how to safely fall into Urdhva Dhanurasana. This will help get over the fear.
And, of course, keep practicing!