Break through fascial and neuromuscular blocks; build joint strength for powerful flexibility.
Fit & Bendy teaches active, resistance, and assisted stretching to break through fascial and neuromuscular blocks and build joint strength for flexibility you can use. Your muscles will become longer and stronger, enabling a higher level of performance in everything you do.
Students from beginner to advanced who have benefited from this training include: Circus performers / Dancers / Pole Athletes / Martial Artists / Gymnasts / Yogis / Fitness Competitors / Cheerleaders / Runners / Triathletes / Office Workers / Body Builders / Stunt Artists
Kristina Nekyia is a flexibility fitness and contortion coach in Hollywood, California. A lifelong dancer, at 31 years old Kristina decided to become a contortionist, about 20 years after the recommended age to begin training. She was fortunate enough to find renowned Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba who agreed to train her despite her advanced age. For five years Kristina trained at San Francisco Circus Center, including a trip to Mongolia to study with the Mongolian National Circus. She went on to perform a belly dance contortion act with Serchmaa, and she continues to perform solo contortion and dance acts across the world.
Inspired by Serchmaa’s teaching, Kristina has dedicated herself to the study and teaching of flexibility fitness. She earned her Pilates certification from Body Arts & Sciences International and has engaged in extensive research into body mechanics, anatomy, and the science of stretching. She founded the flexibility and contortion programs at Cirque School LA where she worked with hundreds of students from beginner to advanced, and she teaches workshops at circus schools, dance studios, and Pilates studios across the US, Canada, and Europe. She currently teaches Fit & Bendy classes in Los Angeles, CA.
Lily began her flexibility journey in 2009 while taking pole dancing classes. When she moved to San Francisco in 2011, she started taking contortion classes at several of the circus schools in the Bay Area, and when she moved to Los Angeles, she sought out Kristina Nekyia and Fit & Bendy based on the recommendation of one of her instructors. She is extremely excited and grateful that she is joining the Fit & Bendy team as one of the first certified instructors, and can't wait to help others in their flexibility training the same way that Fit & Bendy has helped her.
"When I first started taking contortion classes in San Francisco, I got a lot of guidance that I didn't find very helpful. There was a lot of cajoling me to relax, which felt pretty hard to do considering I was trying to bend in half backwards, and I dreaded the day that I might literally be pushed so hard that I would start crying as I had seen some other students do. I definitely felt like I had missed the flexibility train because I hadn't been doing this since I was a kid.
That sentiment changed when I started taking classes from Kristina. Instead of the one-size-fits-all-must-bend-by-any-means-necessary approach, Kristina was equipped with the kinesthetic knowledge to emphasize active flexibility, which not only did my body happen to respond pretty well to, but is more useful in performance.
I think what sets Fit & Bendy apart is the combination of understanding how the body works and then applying it individually to each student that comes through the door. For instance, for years a middle split felt like jamming my legs into my hip sockets but no inner thigh stretch. It took awhile, but Kristina finally figured out the combination of strengthening exercises and stretches to help me reach my goal. I'm still not completely flat and I definitely still moan and groan every time I do a middle split, but now I know it is achievable and I keep making progress, which giant step up from where I was.”
Lily teaches our Intro to Contortion class at Pilates & Arts on Wednesday nights. Photos of Lily by Jenn Spain.
Lena has been training contortion under Fit & Bendy since October of 2013. She has a background in classical ballet, jazz, modern dance, and had (in her much younger years) the opportunity to train with the San Francisco Ballet and members of the Joffrey ballet.
As an adult, her career took a different path into Technology/Engineering support, but she continued to dance and find new ways of exploring movement, while staying creative and agile outside of the office. After taking up pole dancing, she wanted to gain some flexibility to challenge herself in new ways and enhance her performance skills. This is when she followed a friend to a Fit & Bendy class. It changed her life in so many ways!
Lena is now employed independently as an aerialist/performer and instructor. Contortion has become her primary training focus, as she continues to train daily (its the favorite part of her day!). She has learned to embrace the 'discomfort' of pushing new boundaries, and has never felt better in her life!
"I’ve worked with many contortion and flexibility coaches in my travels around the world, and Kristina Nekyia is by far the most knowledgeable and fun. As a certified Pilates instructor, she knows her stuff when it comes to body mechanics. She’s able to cue exactly where to lengthen, adjust, relax or engage in order to achieve the best and bendiest results, but always with a performer’s career longevity in mind, which I love. She knows that as dancers and movement teachers ourselves, our bodies are our bread and butter, and while we want results, we don’t want them to come at the risk of injury. Kristina’s approach is methodical, nurturing, and very results-oriented, but safe. The fact that she’s funny, witty, has a good taste in music and is cool is of course a plus!"
— Natasha Wang, Pole Artist and IPC International Champion 2014
“I’ve been training with Kristina for nearly 3 years now...and I’ve come a longggg way since then. She took my natural flexibility to real contortion skills. Hands down the best flexibility trainer I’ve worked with. Her method is very safe and effective for adults. When it comes to flexibility, she knows her stuff. She’s also very nice and fun to work with."
— @exoticacrobat, Contortionist
“Incredible class! I didn’t know I could bend so far and yet feel so incredible the next day! Kristina is a great instructor. She is incredibly knowledgeable and breaks things down so that your flexy goals that once seemed impossible will suddenly be closer than you thought."
— Elizabeth B., Pole Dance Instructor
“Kristina has been by far the best coach I have ever worked with. Her vast knowledge of the body coupled with her saintly patience and unequivocal attentiveness have helped me tremendously. This lady knows her stuff!!! I have worked with many instructors in the past, and Kristina has brought things to my attention that no one ever explained to me before. Her wit and demeanor help me get through the painful parts too! She is very kind and encouraging and tailors her stretches and workouts to each of her student’s unique needs and bodies. Anyone who is lucky enough to train with her or get into one of her classes will not regret working with this gem of a teacher!"
— Tiffany M., Aerialist
“I found Kristina as a Pilates instructor when I was struggling with an unusual back injury that standard physical therapy had been unable to fix. Through working with her, I discovered that Kristina has an uncanny eye for form and has an astute knowledge of body mechanics that rivals most. With these attributes, she was able to help me correct asymmetries in my strength and posture. This led to me being able to recover from my injury and return to my physically demanding hobby of training in aerial arts. Working also with Kristina as a flexibility instructor, I have had the benefit of seeing dramatic improvements in my flexibility that I had previously thought impossible to achieve in my 30’s. She again emphasizes form and safe technique that ends up leading to remarkable yet long lasting results. Kristina has a way of pushing you to your best within your individual capacity, while also keeping you laughing and entertained (through the pain). She has been such a blessing in promoting flexibility, injury recovery and prevention, and overall fitness while also being an absolute blast to work with. She’s a rare gem."
— Stacey L., Aerialist