Vrschikasana II (Scorpion Pose II) registers as 33* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty in Light on Yoga.
Iyengar explains that Vrschikasana II is a harder version of Vrschikasana I since, in Vrschikasana II, you are balancing in Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand). It is much more difficult to balance in this position than in the Pincha Mayurasana variation.
In his description of the pose, Iyengar provides a poignant description of Vrschikasana’s psychological benefits:
The head, which is the seat of knowledge and power, is also the seat of pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, intolerance and malice. These emotions are more deadly than the poison which the scorpion carries in its sting. The yogi, by stamping on his head with his feet, attempts to eradicate these self-destroying emotions and passions. By kicking his head he seeks to develop humility, calmness and tolerance and thus to be free of ego. The subjugation of the ego leads to harmony and happiness.
In advanced poses like Vrschikasana, ego can easily get in the way. Ego shows up as recklessness when we push past our edges for the sake of “achieving” a pose; ego shows up as self-criticism when we judge ourselves for not being able to go as deep into a pose as our fellow yogis.
Kick your ego out the door when you begin exploring these advanced poses – or any poses, for that matter! Approach them with humility and reverence. It doesn’t matter whether or not you can kick your head with your feet. What matters is the intention you’re bringing onto your mat and into your life. Purity of heart is the most advanced pose of all.