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Fitness Planner | Advanced yoga: Progression to Scorpion Pose - Part 4

November 06, 2022 / 07:53 AM IST
Flexibility, balance and strength are all equally important for the scorpion pose. (Representational image: Alexandra Tran via Unsplash)

Flexibility, balance and strength are all equally important for the scorpion pose. (Representational image: Alexandra Tran via Unsplash)

The first three months of this couch to Scorpion Pose programme were about preparing your body and joints for yoga and its advanced asanas and postures. Till now we have worked on improving your mobility, removing stiffness from your body and achieving greater flexion of the spine. Now, we enter the business end of the training so that you can achieve the scorpion pose with proper balance and back bend within the time goal of six months that we'd set for ourselves at the beginning.

Also see: Fitness Planner | Scorpion pose Parts 1, 2, and 3

This month, over the next 12 sessions, we shall work to increase the strength in your forearms, elbows, wrist and spine. Simultaneously, we shall work on balance and inversions by increasing the time you spend in inversion holds. “By holding inversions for longer you will make immense strides in gaining confidence and developing a sense of balance,” says Karthik Kashyap, a Bengaluru-based yoga teacher who has a PhD in yoga and philosophy from Mangalore University.

Kashyap has added back bends and asanas for the extension and flexion of the spine to the planner for this month. So, you will be doing a lot of dhanurasana (bow pose) and chakrasana (wheel pose) as well as pigeon pose, which is great for opening your tight hip joints and muscles.

Till now the yoga practice was easy so the warm-up was included as part of the daily training plan. However, this month onwards the training plan includes slightly advanced postures and asanas, so you will need to warm-up before you dive into the plan laid out here.

“Choose one of the three sessions and follow it to completion and that will be your warm-up. You could also do 10 suryanamaskaras for your warm-up instead as the suryanamaskara is a full body workout and it also helps building strength,” says Kashyap.

Since you have stuck with the programme thus far, here’s a secret that might help you improve your yoga practice for the rest of your life. Yoga’s approach is very different from any other aerobic, acrobatic or strength fitness routine. “The key to perfection in yoga is Pryatana Shaithilya, which translates to ‘relaxed effort.’ You should consciously make an effort to remain relaxed and calm while doing Yoga. All asanas should be performed with a calm body and mind so that your effort is actually relaxed and doesn’t tax your musculoskeletal system, your breathing or your mind,” explains Kashyap. Kashyap’s advice: take some time before your yoga training to completely relax your mind.

Starting this month, there are fewer asanas per session in the planner. This is deliberate, so you can do the workout at least twice over in the same order. “If you are flexible and have already improved at yoga, perform the entire sequence two to three times. However, if you still find it difficult to hold the yoga postures and have issues with flexibility and mobility, you must do it thrice at least. Doing the whole workout four times will benefit you immensely,” says Kashyap.

The goal of any yoga practice is explained by the Sanskrit phrase “Abhyasavairagyabhyam”: to practice something without having any goals. Mumbai-based celebrity yoga teacher Abhishek Sharma says: “According to the ancient scriptures the best way to progress and improve is to practice and surrender. Being too focused on the end goal pushes the goal even further. So, it is best to not have any expectations of an end goal or result. When you focus on the practice itself, the results will come to you in the due time.”

Yoga practice is not a process of instant gratification but one of patience and long-term commitment. So, be patient, have faith in the process and show up on your mat for your regular practice.

Fitness planner: Scorpion pose - Part 4

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Shrenik Avlani is an independent editor, writer and journalist, and co-author of 'The ShivFit Way', a book on functional fitness.
first published: Nov 6, 2022 07:53 am