People are flipping upside down for the area’s newest fitness business. They’re also turning sideways, holding splits in mid-air, and striking yoga poses with both feet several inches from the ground.

K Fit, in Studio B at Evolve Fitness in the School of Harmony building in Beaver, started introducing Raleigh County residents to aerial yoga less than two weeks ago, and classes are filling up.

“It’s so fun,” explained K Fit owner and instructor Katelyne Fry. “It’s really a good winter depression distraction.”

No longer are these silks that can suspend as much as 400 pounds limited to circus performers. They’re finding their way into fitness studios across the country, and those who work out with them are finding unbeatable benefits connected to core strength and flexibility.

“It works muscles you didn’t even know you had,” said Fry, who was certified as an aerial yoga instructor online after studying the craft for five years when she lived in Charleston and taught other types of fitness classes, including Spin.

“Aerial yoga is anti-gravity yoga in combination with Pilates, dance, acrobatics, and yoga moves, all in a silk that holds 400 pounds,” she added. “It’s like Cirque du Soleil.”

But that doesn’t mean one must have the moves of a contortionist trapeze artist to get a good, safe workout, she added. Classes accommodate all levels, and silks can be raised or lowered various distances from the ground. Even first-timers, though, are surprising themselves.

“People are finding they can do things with their bodies they didn’t know they could do,” Fry said. That’s one reason she likes to snap photographs during workouts, to show participants how strong and amazing they look and boost confidence levels.

“Seeing those pictures is very motivating. … You feel so strong in these poses. And when you do something that gets you out of your comfort zone, there is this endorphin release, like a high.”

Fry said it’s a workout that’s anything but boring in a space that looks anything but boring. In fact, it features electronic dance music, colored LED lighting, and lots of pink.

“When you come to my studio, it’s like a party in there,” she said. Yet a class ends by transitioning from that party atmosphere to a relaxing one, complete with Zen sounds and mediation. Classes usually end with a freestyle dance followed by five minutes of meditation.

“We become cocoons,” she said. “It’s a great experience. You will leave feeling totally replenished.”

And maybe a little taller.

“You are able to stretch your back and your vertebrae so deeply that you actually leave class an inch taller,” Fry explained. “ … You’re able to correct your posture and align your spine. This helps align your back, your shoulders, your neck. So, you are deeply realigning the spine. And when you’re in inversions, you’re closing the lymphatic system, which is good for the circulation system. Endorphins are released. You’re taking pressure off your joints, improving flexibility, and it’s really good for your mind.”

It’s even good for your social life, she added.

“It’s so good to take time for yourself. This helps restore your mind, and it’s a social thing,” Fry said. “A lot of girls will get together and selfie and just have fun with it. It’s about connecting with other people, and it’s something different to do in a small town.”

Though it’s usually females who will selfie, Fry stressed that the classes also welcome men and pointed out that several attended her recent Valentine’s Day couples class. All ages are welcome, too. Older clients will find K Fit’s “Restorative” classes are targeted for those who may be recovering from injuries, and younger children are welcome at planned “Mommy and Me” classes.

“We have something for everyone,” Fry said, adding that it is important to book a class in advance, as silks are limited. To do that, beginning in March, clients are asked to download the FitDEGREE app, then search KFit to reserve a space. The app will also allow customers to see pricing, view schedules, purchase gift certificates, and find information on private classes and parties. Information is currently available on Facebook at Katelyne Fry and Evolve Fitness.

Current classes are $20 each, or $125 for monthly memberships, and $99 for student memberships. Private parties are also available for $25 per participant.

K Fit is following state Covid requirements, Fry said. Mats are sanitized and silks are washed weekly. Masks are required, but silks are 6 feet apart, so clients may remove their masks once in place, if they wish.

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