Updated: Dec 16, 2019
This pose is intense in many ways: it challenges your balance and backbend capability while stretching the front of the legs at the same time. And trust me, that is A LOT.
Here's what to pay attention to
The trick is to go SLOW and set the foot & the hand that stay on the mat as far away from each other as possible, meaning left hand close to left edge of mat + right foot close to right edge of mat. As usual with backbends: avoid exploding the flexibility of your lower back, instead guide the stretch into the front of thigh, thoracic spine and shoulder.
Step by step
1. Start in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) with both feet on your feet (hip width apart) and both hands on your mat (shoulder width apart). The distance between hand and feet can be shorter than the usual Downdog you normally practice, which makes it possibly easier to lower the heels down, hence "short" Downdog.
2. We'll start with our right arm, which means you can extend your left leg back. Feel free to change sides as you like, but make sure to grab the opposite leg, not the foot on the same side (ie. don't grab left foot with left hand).
3. In order to catch the foot in the air, we need to bend the leg. If you can not reach your leg in Step 4, feel free to use a strap.
4. Now the balancing game start: If you rush too fast, you will fall over. I can almost guarantee this, because it has happened to me before :) So, walk your right hand slowly back. Maybe stay on fingertips first, then extend right arm back in the air before moving over to Step 5.
5. When I tried reaching for my foot for the first time, I struggled really hard because I couldn't see where my foot was. After a couple of tries I finally made it, so keep trying if you can't feel where you are in the beginning!
6. If balance is an issue, repeat all steps on the other side before going for it for another round. What is not clear, when just looking at the pictures: The legs are very active! It is not just the arm doing something. In this case, you are actively reaching your knee back and pushing left foot into right hand in order to extend the leg more.
7. This step might be the last step for you (for now) so enjoy the stretch and the actions happening all over the place: the stretch in the front of left thigh might be intense or in your right shoulder. Only move further if you feel safe deepening the backbend.
8. This last and final step is the reason for why this pose is called LOADED SCORPION. The leg is loaded and so the arm pulling, plus it really does resemble a scorpion ready to attack.
Please be careful and try this close to a wall or with a partner. Be safe!