Hello, I'm Rissa.
I am a flexibility coach and contortionist located in Santa, CA. You can find me teaching at Revel Room Studios or online.
I've always admired gymnasts and contortionists, but never had the opportunity to learn while growing up. Circus arts weren't as popular back then and by the time I was interested in learning I was already too old for kids' classes.
I took my first pole dance class in 2017 and over the years have also learned aerial hoop (lyra) and straps. I started training my flexibility in 2018 at the age of 24 in order to build strength and to learn how to do tricks on the pole and lyra. In 2019 I started teaching flexibility to share my knowledge and what I've learned from trying to become bendier as an adult.
I am currently a fitness coach at Orangetheory Fitness and a flexibility coach. In my spare time I train contortion under my two coaches - Bendy Anya and Serchmaa Byamba. I still practice pole and aerial, but flexibility and contortion have become my life passion and priority.
I WASN'T ALWAYS FLEXIBLE
My body learned to adapt
My flexibility was pretty average growing up. As a kid I learned how to do my front splits and push up into a bridge. I could touch my toes, but couldn't do a middle split or sit in a straddle without pain.
In 2016 I herniated a disc in my low back and pinched a nerve in my neck from deadlifting and overtraining while injured. I lost most of my mobility - I struggled every day to put on my shoes and get into my car. It took me a year of rest, chiropractic care, and physical therapy to return to normalcy.
Skills and Experience
National Academy of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer
Training since 2018. Taught by world-renowned contortion coaches Bendy Anya and Serchmaa Byamba.
Since 2019. Group classes, privates, and semi-privates at Revel Room Studios and online.
Certified by the American Red Cross
Pole dancer and aerialist. Orangetheory Coach.
PASSION IS WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT
Contortion is my dream
Why contortion? So many of my friends and family have asked me what the purpose of developing extreme flexibility is. They want a practical reason. But why do we do anything?
Aristotle said that there exists some ultimate good toward which, in the final analysis, all human actions ultimately aim. The necessary characteristics of the ultimate good are that it is complete, final, self-sufficient and continuous; this goal is happiness.
After my injury I was told that my back would never go back to normal. I was told I would never be able to become flexible. I was determined to prove those people wrong and make my back even better than it was. So, contortion holds so much meaning to me. It gives me hope that my body can still learn, grow, and recover. Even though I've had chronic back pain since my injury, as my back and stabilizer muscles get stronger, my back pain is slowly fading away. To me, that is happiness.