Contortion - Pain or Pleasure?

Hi everyone!

For those of you who have been in any of our classes with me, you will probably know I'm not exactly bendy (and by not exactly, I mean at all!)

Yes, yes my flexibility has improved dramatically since starting the GFF stretch classes, but the idea of going to a class where the instructor can put his head between his legs whilst bending over backwards, was a little terrifying.

But lets face it, 2020 has been pretty terrifying, and we have survived it so far, so why not give it a go?

Contortion is a performance art in which performers called contortionists showcase their skills of extreme physical flexibility. Yeah, this does not sound like me! And I bet a lot of you are thinking exactly the same.

So for all us non flexi people, I took one for the team and tried my very first contortion class!!

Every class focuses on a different part of your body, and this week I was joining the back bends class!

Here at GFF our contortion instructor is none other than John Celestus.

John has a bit of a reputation for being a tyrant in his classes, one which he fully endorses when he announces to his class that our moaning doesn't bother him as he has no soul.

However, despite his blackened heart words, when John's classes start, he has a presence about him, that makes you fully trust what he is saying and excited to get going.

Our pre Covid contortion classes, used to run for 90 mins. Which meant extra long warms ups, to sweaty to breath rooms, and the occasional tear shed, However due to the restrictions, all classes are only running for 55mins (few!).

First to the warm up, and what a warm up it was! After a surprise appearance from our "friend" Sally (for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of a Sally warm up...I envy you!) and a new edition to the crew with Roxanne and her red light, Id melted into a puddle. (Don't worry, these are songs you warm up too, not someone called Roxanne coming in and flashing a red light at you).

However, John explained that a huge part of contortion and flexibility, is strength. You need your body condition to be ready to support you, in case you end up in a tricky position. So all the push ups, sit ups and planks are worth it!

Back to back bends!

The class is a mixed level class, and we had ranges of flexibility from Stretch Armstrong to a concrete slab. So for all the moves, training and positions, John gives variations to suit your level. Don't get me wrong, he challenges you, but its so rewarding that you will want to pass the challenge with flying colours.

After an hour of warm ups, all over body conditioning, bridges and bridge push ups, I was exhausted. This class really pushed me to do things I didn't know I could do. But it also trained me with techniques that I can use in other areas of GFF. Contortion might be about flexible people showing of their skills, but the classes are about training your body to help you reach your flexibility goals.

So to all the naysayers, worries, unbelievers and "I'm not flexible enough to do that"ers, Im proof that it can be done, and it should. I know Ill be freeing up my time on a Thursday evening to attend Johns class, and to answer my original questions Pain or Pleasure? Well, it depends what your into....

Contortion class with John every Thursday.

From you slightly more flexible studio manager


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