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She’s the winner of three Grammy awards. The singer of four Billboard Top 10 hits. And, we recently learned, a (very dedicated) yogi.
Her appreciation for yoga isn’t a secret. In her newsletter, Service95, Lipa recently spoke about her favorite grounding yoga poses, which include One-Legged King Pigeon Pose and Happy Baby Pose. She even has a personal yoga teacher, Anabella Landa, who tours with her. (Dream job alert.)
In a recent video for Vogue, “73 Questions With Dua Lipa,” the singer spoke more about her dedication to her yoga practice. “I always, always travel with my yoga mat,” she says. (We love it.) However, it was her response to the next question that was even more attention-grabbing. When asked about the most difficult yoga pose she’s mastered, Lipa mentioned the transition of Crow Pose into Headstand—and then proceeded to demonstrate said transition in jeans and sparkly, purple heels. Yes, heels and jeans.
Not only did Lipa already have a yoga mat rolled out for this video, but you can spot another rolled-up mat (with a carrying strap), as well as four yoga blocks in the corner of her dressing room. We love a pop star who loves her props. (Anyone who’s still hesitant to use props, take note.)
Sure, you may not have a hit remix with Elton John or a weekly newsletter that reaches thousands and thousands of adoring fans, but you can work as hard as Lipa has toward nailing the transition from Crow Pose to a tripod version of Headstand. (Um, as long as Headstand is a part of your regular practice and you have no cervical spine issues.) As you practice it, you’ll want to keep these teacher-recommended tips in mind.
OK, so maybe you aren’t confident enough to try this transition in super high heels. However, the idea of keeping your heels lifted, as they are when you’re wearing four-inch heels, can be a helpful visualization as you find your way into Crow Pose. “[She’s] getting high up on her tiptoes, like you would if you didn’t have the heels there, or as if you were standing on a block,” says Jenny Clise, a San Francisco-based yoga teacher and author of BLOCKASANAS.
Focus on proper form in Crow Pose. This helps you create a stable foundation. “Make sure that your knees are drawn high into your armpits, big toes touching,” says Soozie Kinstler, a Denver-based yoga teacher who often weaves unexpected transitions into her yoga classes. If you can’t get your knees to your armpits, work them as high on your upper arms as possible. Also, draw your heels toward your seat—more so than Lipa does. (We still love you, Dua!)
Kinstler suggests hugging your tummy toward your spine to create a sense of lightness in your lower body. This makes maintaining the poses easier.
If you’re new to the Dua Lipa transition, take it slowly, cautions Clise. As you’re shifting forward, the majority of your weight is on your upper arms. If you don’t have enough strength to go slowly, you’re going to increase your velocity as you transition your head to the mat—and that’s the last thing you want. (We cringed a little at the speed with which Lipa lowered her head to the mat.) You want to land gently so you don’t put too much pressure on your head and neck.
If you’re still working on your upper body strength, Clise suggests letting your knees slide a little closer toward your elbows before you transition your head to the mat. This allows your femur bones to stack over your forearms and your hips to come lower which will help you find little more counterbalance and control. This, in turn, helps you lean into the pose rather than lurch forward as you bring your head to the mat.
Feeling leery about bringing your head to the ground? Kinstler suggests you place a block on the lowest position, four to five inches in front of you. This effectively brings the ground a little closer to you.
Whether you use a block or not, keep your gaze slightly forward as you shift forward from Crow. Focus on exactly where you want to place your head, and start to tuck your chin slightly, Kinstler says. She also recommends lifting your shoulders away from your ears. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will help you come to a soft landing. By keeping your shoulders down, you also ensure you’re not dumping your weight into your head and neck, says Clise.
Finally, you’re ready to move into Headstand. “As you exhale, your elbows are going to bend, and your shoulders will start to move forward, elbows hugging your midline, just like in a low push-up,” says Kinstler. Make sure to draw everything in toward your center—your elbows, your knees, and your focus.
If you lowered your knees toward your elbows earlier, lift your hips before you transition. Bring your shins to your elbows to create more of a right angle in tripod. Once your head makes contact, lift your hips.
To build the strength needed for this transition, Clise recommends first trying the reverse transition—moving from Headstand to Crow Pose. To do this, you need to slow down and resist gravity, which actually makes this transition even harder than Lipa’s approach. But by working through the more challenging transition first, Clise says you’ll build the strength necessary to move slowly—and safely—in the other direction.
If you feel that you need more strength or confidence to try the full transition, honor that. In the meantime, there are other poses that help you get stronger. Clise says both Crow Pose and Headstand require strength in your hip flexors, wrists, and shoulders. She recommends practicing poses that focus on shoulder protraction, such as Cat Pose with knees hovering a few inches above the mat.
For your hip flexors and core strength, she recommends any pose in which you effectively practice a crunch. This includes Knee-to-Nose in Tabletop or Downward-Facing Dog Pose. You can also try Crow crunches on your back, with your knees drawn toward your upper arms and your arms extended straight up from your shoulders. Any exercise that helps draw your knees in close to your chest will help you when lifting into Headstand. Over time, you’ll build up to it.