May 5, 2024

Bending Backwards: Acrobatic and Aerial Applications

With Jim Donak

Backwards bending is a key component to acrobatics, aerials and many other life pursuits. In this workshop you’ll progress your ability to bend backwards within the context of nurturing skills that support dynamic ground and air applications such as hollow-back handstands, walkovers, limbers, handsprings, beats, etc. Our main focus will be on body awareness and progressive development of the essential foundations. We’ll look at how to maintain functional integrity while in overhead arm support and spinal extension. We will address aspects of specific skills that have been problematic for you, with expert assessment and creative, effective, customized training approaches.


Sunday | 12:30 – 2:00 pm

The Cotton Mill

$55 or $50 if you pair with Developing Mobility Sunday, May 5 10:30am-12 pm

Register By: 
May 1, 2024

Students should be able to hold a 30 second handstand against a wall, push-up to bridge from laying on the floor with 30 second hold, and be able to do a partial standing backbend from standing, with hands on the wall, down waist height, and back to standing.  Bring playful curious spirit and wear clothes that permit freedom of movement.

16 & up or by permission of instructor

About The Coach

Jim Donak’s fascination with the human body and its potential began over 50 years ago when he began teaching himself anatomy and physiology. Since then, he has committed himself to in-depth studies of the movement and healing arts, including, Tai Chi, The Alexander Technique, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, manual orthopedic and osteopathic techniques, musculoskeletal therapy, and most of all circus arts.

Jim has taught circus arts and functional movement for over 40 years. He has taught numerous training workshops worldwide and had been an instructor at San Francisco’s Circus Center for over 25 years where he had most recently been teaching trampoline, handstanding skills, acrobatics, and his popular Physical Limitation Elimination class.
Jim teaches workshops in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and science-based technique development. His workshops focus on Intelligent Training approaches that minimize lost-time injuries and maximize training efficiency.

In all Jim has almost 55years of anatomy study (which includes over 1500hrs of cadaver dissection research), over 40yrs experience teaching circus skills, over 25yrs experience as a manual/physical therapist.
Jim maintains a private practice in Berkeley CA which focuses on athletic development, neuromusculoskeletal healing, and injury rehabilitation using manual and exercise therapies.

He specializes in bringing effective and sustainable approaches to athletic training and teaching related workshops and continuing education seminars to instructors of all movement disciplines and manual therapists. Find him at

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