A selected path (not a composite shape) can be distorted using the Transform->Distort menu item. While this toggle button/item is on, the path is in distortion mode. This has four round controls that are initially located at each corner of the path's bounding box. These controls can be moved to distort the path. Note that this modifies the location of the path's control points. The stroke attributes, such as the line width, aren't modified. Once you have finished distorting the shape, uncheck the Transform->Distort menu item (or the button on the horizontal toolbar) or click anywhere outside the (original) bounding box.
For example, Figure 8.27(a) shows a circle in edit mode. In Figure 8.27(b), the edit mode is now off and the circle is selected. In Figure 8.27(c), the distortion mode has now been switched on. The round distortion controls are initialised to each corner of the bounding box. The controls that define the path aren't visible. (Note that the rendering hints have been set to speed and no anti-aliasing while in distortion mode.)
In Figure 8.27(d), three of the round distortion controls have been moved. The original bounding box is still visible, even though it no longer encompasses the distorted shape. In Figure 8.27(e), the distortion mode has been switched off and normal select mode has resumed. The modified path is now showing with its new bounding box. The distortion moved the path's control points, as can be seen when the path is put back into edit mode in Figure 8.27(f). If this path is returned to distortion mode, the distortion controls will be reinitialised to the corners of the new bounding box. You can't invert the distortion to restore the path to its original shape.