Consider them a form of advanced yoga classes targeted at stretching and strengthening the body in order to unlock one’s natural range of motion. The basic premise of the contortionist class is to perfect your balance via a series of handstands and back-bending exercises that engage the sternum, upper back muscles, core, shoulders, hips and glutes.

Required Level Of Fitness: Advanced
Typically dancers, yogis, martial artists, athletes, aerialists, and circus performers opt for such classes in order to get more flexible.

As a workout, contortion classes are highly challenging and fruitful to attaining a perfectly shaped body, if practiced frequently by relatively fit people seeking to raise the bar in their workout.

One can burn anywhere from 800-1500 calories in a class, depending on how long and hard you work. Anyone new to exercise, coming from a long break in physical activity, or suffering from any injuries/joint pain should clearly avoid such a class.

The Plus Side
Some interesting benefits of taking up contortion classes are quite similar to that of practicing yoga such as:

  • Natural reversal of aging with inversions.
  • Decreases chances of suffering from bone/joint ailments like arthritis/osteoporosis.
  • Helps you obtain a higher tolerance for pain and improves concentration.
  • Enhances sexual life.
  • Helps you develop superior strength, flexibility, and stamina.


The Limitations
Some cons associated with taking up contortion classes are:

  • You need to have a strict control over your diet and take supplements to assist in lubricating your joints and pushing your limits.
  • There is a bit of pain involved to gain more flexibility and balance.
  • To a beginner, this class may seem extreme, as there are no shortcuts or modifications that simplify the poses.

Map It
Currently, these classes have been conceptualized and taught to people by Mr Nosan in Manhattan, New York at various locations like: Sankalpah Yoga Studio, the Broadway Dance Center, the Manhattan Mercedes Club, and the Body Pole. His basic premise for the workout is to visit discomfort and experience what he calls “the tremble” or according to some clients, “panicky spasms.”

These classes are also taught regularly in LA’s hotspot, Fit & Bendy, run by Kristina Nekyia, and several other institutions on a professional basis across locations in California, Texas, London, etc.

Are You A Good Candidate?
As a yoga teacher, I would advise that a person attending such a class should already be practicing yoga or Pilates regularly, so that they possess a basic awareness of their body and really understand how to engage their core. Taking contortion would be highly beneficial to such students, allowing them to go one step further, and really grasp the techniques taught.

So if you are seeking out a new class that will leave you feeling soar and challenged, I would definitely give this one a try, but tread with caution!

Images via Fit&Bendy/

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Nisha Gulati is a fitness expert and model originally hailing from New Jersey, USA. She is a certified Bikram Hot Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Instructor, health and fitness columnist for Hyderabad’s widely read B Positive Magazine, a trained Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Bhangra, and giddha dancer. She also has trained in Kalaripayattu a martial arts form in Kerala. Yoga has been a source of great discipline, inspiration and positivity for Nisha who has been teaching at studios in Mumbai India, Phuket Thailand, Marina Dubai and Vancouver Canada.