Writing the next chapter of Fit & Bendy

Since I founded Fit & Bendy in 2012 I've been spreading the practice of safe, effective mobility training across the globe. Here's what I'm looking forward to at FaB...

Fit & Bendy was born out of my own struggle with hypermobility, injury, and chronic pain… and my stubborn inability to let go of a crazy dream.

I started contortion in 2004 at the age of 30 after an aerialist friend told me about Serchmaa Byamba’s classes at San Francisco Circus Center. At the time I was the oldest person in the class by about 10 years and everyone in my life thought I had lost my mind.

But contortion was the most exquisitely difficult, beautiful, rewarding, spiritually healing practice I had ever tried. It brought peace to my deeply troubled heart and many of the happiest moments of my life were spent on that ratty Circus Center carpet sweating and struggling and expanding.

In 2009 I was injured while training in Mongolia: a full tear of three ligaments in my right hip. At that point I was performing and training full time and, while I was never a highly accomplished contortionist, I was good enough to combine it with my dance background to make some entertaining and unique acts. I was told that I would need surgery and my contortion days were over.

A 35 year old Kristina doing a deep oversplit on a bench surrounded by children also doing contortion

Training oversplits in Mongolia in 2009

“Aren’t you a little too old for this anyway?” chided the doctor. “It’s time to think about meeting the right guy and having a family.”

I was 35, and he wasn’t the only one saying these things to me. And I did try. I tried to “settle down.” It lasted about two months and I realized I would either have to figure out a way to get back to what I loved or I would become a depressed alcoholic.

I set out to learn everything I could about how the body worked - specifically about flexibility training. I quickly found that there was very little study, expertise, or guidance available from the established fitness world that looked at flexibility, particularly what I like to call fancy flexibility that goes beyond the so-called “normal” range of motion.

I earned my Pilates certification, and then I started following around various physical therapists whose work I admired and pestering them with questions. I read everything I could on anatomy, kinesiology, neurology, and biomechanics. I gradually formed my own praxis for training mobility that enabled me to keep on performing for another 8 years and has been the foundation for Fit & Bendy.

I started Fit & Bendy because I wanted to share what I have learned with other folks who want to be more flexible. Perhaps the tools that worked for me could spare others some of the setbacks that inspired me to develop them. I am very proud of the DVDs, world tours, workshops, studios, online programs, and countless clients I have worked with over the years.

Kristina helping a studet learn to do a contortion handstand

Kristina helping Stephanie learn to do a contortion handstand

So what’s next?

Since closing the Fit & Bendy studio due to COVID the majority of my work has been online and with private clients. While I miss the daily contact with so many students that I enjoyed when teaching regular classes in LA, the real estate situation makes opening another location extremely difficult and

So here are the services that I will be offering moving forward, for at least the next couple of years:

  • Online Video on Demand programs like Foundations of Flexibility and my soon-to-be-released Healthy Hamstrings course

  • Membership to my online video library of over 50 workouts, tutorials, and training plans for beginner to intermediate flexibility fitness training.

  • Workouts from my original DVDs Get Bent, Bendy Body, and Shoulder School and targeted tutorials on topics like butt strength, hip mobility, and spinal articulation

  • Free tips, tutorials, and short workouts on my YouTube channel

  • Occasional in-person workshops and series in LA and beyond. Email subscribers get first access to all in-person offerings!

  • A weekly newsletter with tips, tutorials, and theory on the practice and application of flexibility fitness training. My goal is to make my website and email list a repository for all my years of study and my personal observations and experiences regarding contortion training, foundational mobility, hypermobility, and living with chronic pain.

If you are not already subscribed to the newsletter, you can sign up at the top of our home page.

For all of you who have been with me through these many incarnations, and to my new bendy friends who have just joined the Bendy Brigade, I’m thrilled to share this journey with you. Please reach out any time, I love to hear from you and to better understand your relationship with flexibility training and how I can continue to support you.

Happy Bendings,

Kristina

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