This article originally appeared on Yoga Journal
We can’t all be British pop superstars. But we can practice the same yoga poses as them.
In a recent edition of her newsletter, Service95, Dua Lipa discussed how she often turns to her yoga practice as a way to destress before and after a show. “I’m especially grateful to my life-changing yoga instructor, Annie Landa, who has helped keep me strong, grounded and focused these past few months,” she writes in her newsletter. “This has never felt more necessary than in these increasingly turbulent times, something that’s occupying all our thoughts.”
To understand why each of these poses can be helpful for stress, I spoke to Amber Willett, a yoga instructor based in Florida, about each of these poses–and how they can benefit your body.
What to remember when practicing yoga for stress
OK, so maybe you’re not jetting around the world or performing in front of massive crowds. But, like Lipa, you’re probably experiencing stress, too. Heading to your yoga mat can provide some much-needed relief. However, try not to place too many expectations on yourself–or your practice.
“My number one tip for someone who’s feeling stressed and who is coming to yoga for stress is to let go of the expectation of what yoga is supposed to be and what yoga is supposed to look like,” Willett says. There may be days where a particular poses doesn’t feel good or you want to take a modification. That’s perfectly OK. The key is working to make your practice accessible for you and your body, she says.
Dua Lipa’s 5 favorite poses for staying grounded and calm
Lipa says she uses this pose to check in with her body and see how she’s feeling. It makes sense. This inversion offers perspective on our physical, mental, and emotional states. The positioning of your head below your heart changes the natural direction of your blood flow, which benefits your nervous system, Willett says. Additionally, if you’re feeling pain in your low back or tightness in your hips or hamstrings, this pose can offer them some relief.
If you have an urge to completely let go, turn to One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. Lipa says this pose releases all of the stagnant energy in her hips, and Willett agrees. “[This] one is all in the hips,” she says. “We hold a lot of stress and tension in the hips, so [One-Legged King Pigeon Pose] is one that is known to make people cry.” If the full version of this posture isn’t accessible to you, Willett suggests trying the reclined version, which will have the same effect in opening up your hips.
Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
The “Levitating” singer swears by doing this pose day and night–and we couldn’t agree more. This pose stretches (and opens up) your back muscles, giving you a full-body release. Willett says twisting postures, such as this one, can be rejuvenating and potentially beneficial for your lymphatic system and your immune system.
It’s time to open those hips–again. Lipa says this posture, which is her favorite passive hip opener, is one she could stay in all day. In addition to opening up tight hips, Willett says this posture stretches the backs of your legs, your spine, and your hamstrings. Even though this posture primarily targets your lower body, she says this pose also helps relieve stress and tension through your back and shoulders.
Lipa says she does this inversion every day. “Inverting myself also does it for my mind,” she writes in her newsletter. “[It] gives me both a literal and metaphorical different perspective to life, bringing it full cycle as I work on my strength, balance, and focus.” Willett says this pose challenges your focus–in a good way. When you have to place all of your concentration on keeping your core tight and your breath even, you’re forced to direct your attention inward, rather than on external things, she says.
Whether you’re feeling stressed or just looking to carve out some time for your practice today, turn to these pop star-approved poses to calm your mind (and soothe your body).
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