Yoga

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
June 11, 2004

Madonna’s been striking quite the twisted pose during her live shows. It’s not ours to ask why Madge would want to do this to herself. However, we couldn’t help wondering whether it would be easy — or wise — to emulate the Material Mom’s contortions in our own workouts.

After talking with experts, the answer, in a word, would be no.

In the accompanying photo, Madonna is performing a simpler variation of yoga’s vrischikasana — a k a the scorpion. The pose would be more difficult if both feet were touching the top of her head. But this one requires a ton of flexibility, strength and practice as well.

“This is a very advanced pose, and I would recommend learning it only under the care of an experienced yoga teacher,” says certified yoga instructor Tracy Heilers. “This inverted balance pose is difficult to maintain for very long. [Experts] may hold it for up to five minutes, but beginners should only start at about 30 seconds. It’s best to practice this pose after your body is fully warmed up. After practicing it, a counterpose such as a forward bend held an equal amount of time should be performed.”

Besides looking cool, the pose is said to be beneficial in helping slow down the physical aging process.

“The scorpion pose reorganizes prana — or the energy — in the body,” Heilers says. “It increases the blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland. This and other inverted poses, such as the headstand or shoulder stand, are particularly good at healing any nervous and glandular disorders.”

Time to strike a pose, indeed.

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