FIT & BENDY
The Fitness Flexibility Studio Builds Community Around A Unique Exercise Methodology That Empowers Office Workers & Professional Performers Alike to Feel Better In Their Bodies
December 8th, 2019 | 3pm - 6pm
FIT & BENDY
2861 West Avenue 35, Los Angeles, CA 90065
323-379-2363 | fitandbendy.com
By the time Kristina Cañizares opened Fit & Bendy Studio last year, a community had already been forming around her unique approach to fitness and wellness. For years, Kristina had honed a new kind of methodology that goes deeper than aesthetics and weight loss, training people to build a genuinely healthy relationship with their bodies. In contrast to the high-intensity, work-til-you-hurt mentality that dominates our collective understanding of exercise, Kristina takes a holistic, more pragmatic and healthy approach to getting into shape, managing stress and maintaining wellness. On December 8th, from 3pm to 6pm, Fit & Bendy will be hosting a Friends & Family Winter Gathering to set the tone for the year to come.
Most people understand strength and flexibility as two separate metrics of health. Some of the biggest body stereotypes in the collective are the skinny yogis who can bend into pretzels, and the granite body-builders who can barely move. In Kristina’s Flexibility Fitness, she asserts that flexibility and strength are inseparable, and the entire methodology is about building them alongside each other.
Flexibility Fitness works by:
- Moving your body slightly beyond your comfortable range of motion.
- Exploring movement and isometrics that build strength in the new position.
- Building mobility and power over time, together, for functional flexibility you can use.
This allows people to build strength in muscles that are neglected by traditional training—but are important for both basic and advanced functionality. Flexibility Fitness can help you sit more comfortably at your computer chair, and (if you do the proper training) contort more comfortably and safely into that aforementioned pretzel.
“I have seen a lot of people have major transformations in what their bodies are capable of doing,” says Kristina. “Someone who couldn’t even walk half a mile was able to run a marathon. Someone who wasn’t able to play tennis can now go back to playing because their bodies are moving in a more healthy way. This type of training enables your body to do things that make it more fit. It makes you better at doing whatever it is you want to do, which leads to greater overall health.”
A contortionist and performance artist by trade, Kristina initially built her fitness practice teaching fellow performers how to access their bodies more deeply. Before long, people in need of better everyday functionality were seeking her out as well. She found herself training an opera singer who wanted to improve her breathing mechanics, alongside a senior citizen who just wanted to live with less pain in his daily life. Her methodology helped both of them.
“I’ve known from working with so many different kinds of people over the years that the need for functional flexibility and mobility training exists in extremely wide swaths of the population,” explains Kristina. “But people might not even understand that they need it. It’s not really talked about. It’s not part of the larger lexicon of what it means to have a healthy body. But I had this belief that if I built it, they would come.”
After 6 years of working privately with clients and in small group settings at changing locations, Kristina opened the brick n’ mortar Fit & Bendy Studio last year, perched in the foothills of Glassell Park. The studio offers more than two dozen classes each week, Monday through Sunday, and has attracted over 10 teachers, highly skilled at the Flexibility Fitness method, and bringing their own diverse specialties to the mix. Instructor Lena Fumi started training with Kristina six years ago, when she had just started the business. Lena was 36 when she took her first class, with extremely tight shoulders and back from years at a desk job. Now, at 42, Lena is a sought-after contortionist working all over LA and is one of the most popular instructors at Fit & Bendy.
The journey here, as well as the development of the Fitness Flexibility methodology, was a healing one for Kristina. She found solace in movement at a young age, and used it to manage symptoms of a number of health conditions, including diagnoses of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia. The methods that have become foundational for Flexibility Fitness calmed her nervous system enough that she is able to practice and strengthen her body without completely depleting it. The methodology was honed even further in her 30s, after overtraining destroyed several of her ligaments and produced a whole host of other injuries. Doctors warned she would have to retire. Digging deep, Kristina fine-tuned her skills and developed a practice for herself that allowed her to gradually bounce back. In addition to leading the thriving Fit & Bendy community, Kristina continues to work as an avante-garde performer at venues all over Los Angeles and beyond.
She now offers the fruits of her healing to all who train at Fit & Bendy. The studio is located at 2861 West Avenue 35, Los Angeles, CA 90065. Classes can be booked at https://fitandbendy.com/schedule/
About Fit & Bendy
Fit & Bendy is a flexibility fitness company dedicated to unlocking the body’s range of motion. Our mission is to empower humans to stretch into the unknown and find joy in being alive. A healthy, high-functioning body must have both strength and flexibility in order to move through the world with grace and ease. Our methods safely and effectively build these two attributes together through a variety of techniques drawn from dance, circus, pilates, and the latest in sports science.
FaB programs assist individuals at every level, from elite athletes and performers to people struggling with mobility for everyday living. At our Los Angeles facility we offer group classes, specialty sessions, workshops, and individual coaching. For our global community we have a line of DVDs and streaming videos, Skype coaching, and other online resources. We are dedicated to increasing access to safe, effective stretching techniques by offering courses for fitness professionals and enthusiasts to demystify flexibility training and its effects on the body.
About Kristin Cañizares
While Kristina had always been flexible, she did not start training contortion until she was 31 – about 20 years behind the recommended age. Throughout most of her 20s she had struggled with serious health problems and dance and movement became an integral part of her healing. In contortion she found a physical practice that was as mentally and emotionally challenging as it was physically demanding. She fell in love with the way that flexibility training opens both body and mind.
For five years she trained with renowned Mongolian contortionist Serchmaa Byamba at San Francisco Circus Center. Despite her advanced age, she was able to perform a contortion table act both as a duet with Serchmaa and as a soloist. She accompanied Serchmaa to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to train and learn more about the history and traditions of this beautiful art form.
However the rigors of full-time training began to take their toll, and by 2010 Kristina was suffering from multiple injuries that made her unable to continue. Doctors told her that she would need surgery, and her contortion days were over. After so many years of battling physical limitations in her 20s Kristina was unable to accept this diagnosis and began searching for other options.
She discovered that the intense stretching had weakened her muscles and connective tissue, resulting in instability and pain. She began to work with a physical therapist to strengthen overstretched muscles and regain her strength. She earned her Pilates certification through Body Arts and Sciences and applied that knowledge to her own training. Within a year she was performing again, and actually able to achieve movements that had always been too difficult before.
This method formed the foundation for Fit & Bendy. Kristina found that the methods that helped her recovery also helped her flexibility students at Cirque School LA where she founded the contortion and flexibility programs. In 2013 Kristina released her first DVD, Gent Bent, and went into private practice. Since then she has taught thousands of students all over the world and has continued to expand her knowledge of the body, most recently by learning the targeted strengthening practice of Muscle Activation Techniques.
Fit & Bendy Studios opened its doors on the eastside of Los Angeles in 2018. It is a hub for Fit & Bendy’s flexibility revolution and a home to some of LA’s top instructors who share FaB’s commitment to honoring the body and making the most of the meat suit.