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. Lily joined the Fit & Bendy team in 2015 as one of the first certified instructors and has helped many 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 a while, but Kristina finally figured out the combination of strengthening exercises and stretches to help me reach my goal. It’s taken years (with a baby thrown in there), but I can now do middle splits without having to give myself a 10 minute pep talk and lots of moaning and groaning. In fact, now I’ve got a pretty solid over middle split!”