If you think all your lockdown yoga has made you flexible, think again.
A bendy woman who can fold herself in half has said even some of her friends can’t bear to watch her contortions.
Anastasia Evsigneeva grew up in southern Russia but now lives in Canada with her husband.
She first started practising backbends at home, while performing everyday household tasks like peeling potatoes, typing at her computer and filing her nails.
Now, she entertains followers on her Instagram page with her wild moves.
Anastasia was just five years old when she first realised her body was more flexible than her dance classmates. But she didn’t take much notice until she was a teenager.
She added: ‘The full realisation came when I was 17 and dancing in a theatre in my home town.
‘That’s when the choreographer told me not to bend too much more than the others – especially in backbends.’
The 28-year-old also took three days of lessons to learn the Marinelli bend – which is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous and difficult positions in contortion.
It’s when a performer supports their whole body weight on their mouth, then bends until sitting on the back of their own head.
Anastasia said: ‘There is a risk of fatality. People can injure their necks and that can injure the spinal cord so it is very dangerous.
‘My coach warned my husband that people have died doing it and he was quite terrified.’
The incredible move requires a specialist piece of equipment – a mouthpiece – which is a leather ‘bite’ mounted on a metal pole on a solid base. The performer grips this between their teeth.
While the move caused her a little mouth pain at first, Anastasia said with practise this soon went away.
She said: ‘After my three classes, I couldn’t fully balance alone but I was confident enough that I could safely enter and exit the pose, to start practising on my own.
‘On my seventh practise, I got my hands off the floor and performed the full Marinelli bend.
‘My record is 36 seconds as of now. The world record is four minutes and thirty-eight seconds – which is very rare to be able to do.
‘I consider 36 seconds to be a good amount and I’ll keep practising.’
Many of Anastasia’s friends can’t bear to watch her risky moves and while her husband was unsure at first, he is now used to her bendy antics.
She added: ‘People see it for the first time and make comments like “does she even have bones?”
‘I get all of the range of reactions from disgust and repulsion to shock and surprise and admiration.
‘Some people cannot even see it. I have a couple of friends who cannot watch as it makes them sick to their stomachs.
‘My spouse got headaches even from knowing I was practising it [the Marinelli bend] as he felt so compassionate to me, he couldn’t stand it.
‘He got used to it over time and now he’s more into me practising it. My family are very supportive too.’
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