Twisted Bodies fitness studio offers circus-inspired exercise

Twisted Bodies fitness studio offers circus-inspired exercise

Twisted Bodies fitness studio offers circus-inspired exercise
December 04
17:53 2017

Dancers glide through the air on ribbons and hoops, twirling and flipping while suspended from the ceiling. On the ground, people spin on poles, contorting their bodies into various moves and positions. Though it may sound like a circus, this describes the classes offered at Twisted Bodies, a fitness studio with workouts ranging from yoga to pole fitness and aerial arts.

Owners Carissa Laitenen-Kniss and Khristen Pahler each have profound experiences in dance and Pilates and have always had an interest in circus performances. Opening Twisted Bodies gave them the chance to bring those dance forms involved in circuses to their own studio.

“We’ve always loved circus arts,” Pahler said. “In college, Carissa auditioned for Cirque du Soleil, so it’s always been a dream of ours to perform for the circus. Starting pole and aerial was just a natural progression from our dance lives.”

Laitenen-Kniss and Pahler also chose to open the studio in order to provide an opportunity for other people to explore these unique forms of exercise. The pair wants customers to feel confident in their workouts while escaping the strain that their day-to-day lives can put on them.

“We opened Twisted Bodies because we wanted a place for people to get a fun workout in and not feel judged,” Pahler said. “A place they could leave with their head held a little higher at the end of a hard day — a place where they could start their day off right and not worry about everyday stress.”

Instructor Kayla Marie agrees the studio helps people feel confident in both themselves and their exercise routines. Unlike typical gyms where some people may feel pressured to compete with those around them, Twisted Bodies aims to provide an accepting atmosphere for everyone.

“The studio has always been a warm and welcoming place where you don’t have to worry about ‘fitting in’ because everyone fits in,” Marie said.

The pole and aerial classes offered at the studio give people the chance to try something new they may never have previously considered. They may also realize these classes give them an outlet to push themselves further when exercising than they’ve ever had before.

“I think they find it appealing because it shows that they can do more with their body than they thought they could,” Pahler said. “It gives them attainable goals that don’t focus on the aesthetic appeal of the physique but rather on what you can actually do.”

Pole and aerial dancing are not only interesting forms of fitness, but also intense workouts that can help people become more confident in themselves. However, the movements involved can cause injuries if not carefully practiced.

“Anyone can get on the treadmill and run or pick up a set of weights, but with aerial arts you have to actually learn what you’re doing from a qualified instructor because serious injury or even death is a real risk,” Pahler said.

Pahler and Laitenen-Kniss have noticed a significant increase in the popularity of both aerial and pole arts and appreciate that people are embracing the uncommon hobbies.

“We’ve seen a huge rise over the last three to four years,” Pahler said. “It’s good because the weirdness is out there, and more people have access to these classes.”

Although pole and aerial are the most unique classes offered at Twisted Bodies, all the classes provide a welcoming aura and encourage people to feel comfortable and push themselves.

“It’s a home away from home—a safe place,” Marie said. “It’s a place where you can be yourself free from judgment.”

Madison Moore, who has tried multiple classes at Twisted Bodies, enjoys the variety of fitness types they offer and appreciates that the instructors truly care about the people in their classes.

“I love that the instructors really know what they’re doing and do everything they can to make sure everyone is making progress and having fun,” Moore said.

Pahler and Laitenen-Kniss’s main hope for those who join Twisted Bodies is that they discover new sides of themselves and gain a greater self-image and sense of body positivity.

“We hope people see they are more than what society says and what they see in the mirror,” Pahler said. “Their self-worth is greater than anything anyone can ever tell them. We hope they see that bodies of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, that they can move beautifully and do amazingly beautiful things.”

Featured Image: An aerial yoga class at Twisted Bodies features many different postures and positions. Twisted Bodies offers aerial yoga as well as Pilates, pole fitness and more. Mallory Cammarata

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Ashlee Winters

Ashlee Winters

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