The fact that Kelly Ripa is a morning person should come as no surprise—she’s an a.m. talk show host, after all. But Ripa doesn’t just like to get up early, she enjoys working out first thing as well…even on vacation. And from the looks of her Instagram feed, she has two pretty genius ways to motivate herself to rise-and-grind when she’s off the grid: fun workouts and fitness buddies.
On a recent girls getaway she took to the Bahamas, along with presumably strolling along the island’s millennial pink-sand beaches, Ripa scheduled an al fresco AcroYoga class for her and her squad. When it comes to friendship tests, this one’s tough. “You’ve got to have strong people who can do Acro because it’s quite difficult—Kelly loves it,” says her yoga teacher Tamara Fredericks-Lorey.
Besides the physical challenge it affords, the partner-based practice is a great way to build trust and bond with your BFFs. And obviously, from the pictures below, Ripa and her friends passed with, er, flying colors.
Below, Kelly Ripa’s yoga instructor, Tamara Fredericks-Lorey, breaks down 3 of her AcroYoga moves so you can recreate the good vibes with your fitness buddy.
Even if you’re not pushing up into one out of a press, handstands are hard. Get a leg up on this asana, literally, by having a friend spot you from downward facing dog, similar to the way you would employ a wall in a studio.
Use their sacrum, AKA the flat part of their back at their tailbone, to support your feet as you bring your hips over your shoulders to form an upside down “L” shape with your body. “The aim is to really get the back as straight as possible,” explains Fredericks-Lorey. From there, test your balance by lifting one leg into the air. Hold for three breaths, then try it on the other side. Carefully come back down to the ground, being mindful not to kick your buddy.
2. Partner straddle stretch
This restorative pose will help to release your hamstrings (and ward off a case of yoga butt), while showing your inner thighs some TLC at the same time. Just don’t be fooled: It’s an active stretch that’s still going to be challenging your lower body big time. “You have to be strong to hold the legs up, and it’s also working the quadriceps,” says Fredericks-Lorey. “Plus, you have to keep the core [engaged].”
Sit facing your friend—or in a circle if you’re working out with more than one like Ripa. (That’s actress Rachael Harris to her right, BTW.) Hold hands, and extend your legs into a “V” shape, balancing on your sitz bones—the pointy nubs in the center of your glutes—and attempting to bring the soles of your feet to touch those of your BFF. Hold for three to five breaths or until you laugh so hard you fall over.
3. Plank stack
“It’s a great team-building thing because it’s a trust test,” explains Fredericks-Lorey of this final Acro move. “You’ve got to trust each other to do this. It’s pretty scary initially, so you’ve got to be confident.” Other than that, you need to keep your core engaged the. whole. time.
No matter where you are in the stack, your plank position is the same—you’ll just either be using the ground (or your friend’s shoulders and ankles) as your base. Make sure to stay lifted through your shoulder blades and not to hyper-extend your elbows. Hold for as long as you can, up to 90 seconds. Afterward, your ride-or dies will officially be your fly-or-dies.
When Ripa’s not flying high during AcroYoga sessions, you can find her shaking it at dance cardio classes with Anna Kaiser. Watch this video to master one of her signature moves at home.
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