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Few people could make aerial yoga look easy, but Kate Upton has done just that. The 29-year-old actress and model — who regularly posts her workouts on social media — recently shared a photo on Instagram of herself hanging upside down in a precarious aerial yoga pose. (Related: These Videos of Ashley Graham Doing Aerial Yoga Prove the Workout Is No Joke)
In the photo, Upton is suspended by a sling-like hammock in an inverted dancer pose, wearing a matching purple sports bra and leggings. The hammock is tucked under her lower back, providing all the support necessary to keep her above the ground. Upton is holding onto her right ankle with both hands behind her back, keeping her arms straight and gazing straight ahead.
Although her head is mere inches away from the ground, Upton seems at ease in the pose, as she hangs above a teal yoga mat surrounded by wilderness. "I'm really getting the hang of this 🙃," she wrote in her caption.
Not only does aerial yoga offer a prime photo opp for the 'gram, but it's also a serious workout with loads of benefits. A single 50-minute aerial yoga session provides cardiovascular effects on par with low- to moderate-intensity exercise, according to a 2016 study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise. The study also found that participants increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass over a six-week period of doing aerial yoga regularly.
Plus, it's a serious core workout. "A benefit of taking your routine off the ground is that you lose your point of stability," Lindsey Duggan, the owner of AIR Aerial Fitness in Los Angeles previously told Shape. "You'll start to engage your core immediately without even realizing it."
Aerial yoga may also help you get better at traditional yoga poses that are challenging on the mat, such as headstands and forearm stands. "The silk wraps around your body and supports you in certain difficult poses like inversions, giving you the experience of how a pose should feel," said Duggan. Not to mention the fact that it's a zero-impact workout, which makes it easier on the joints that many other forms of exercise. (Related: Watch Dua Lipa Nail a Headstand Yoga Pose with Ease)
Best of all, aerial yoga is a fun way to switch up your fitness routine. If you're feeling inspired by Upton's latest Instagram post, you can sign up for an aerial yoga class today. Of course, if you're completely new to yoga, it may be helpful to learn the fundamentals before taking your practice off the ground. (If you're starting from scratch, check out these essential yoga poses for beginners.)