The primary origins of contortion take place in Asian traditions. In China and Mongolia, traditional Buddhist Cham dances would incorporate contortion into their movement. The success of these dances then encouraged the act to expand into other forms of performance. Contortion also found similarities and expressions in the Hindu doctrine of yoga. Throughout daily meditation, yoga practitioners work to assume many similar poses to those in the performance-based contortion.
The recognition of these similarities in various practices and thoughts brought contortion into more clear and explicit light. For those in the Chinese tradition, contortion is typically performed as a feat of acrobatics, used to dazzle the audience with the unusual shapes built before them. According to Chinese historical records, early contortionism originated in China during Western Zhou Dynasty (1045-771 BC), which matured in Sui Dynasty (581–618).