Life Off the Mat
June 10, 2015

Taking Flight by Erin Ablaza


Someone once told me “do one thing everyday that scares you.” It didn’t make sense to me at first, until one summer day when I decided to learn how to fly.

Flying sounded exciting, but when you’re actually there and looking at the people suspended in the air, the fear starts kicking in. Honestly, the thought of taking a flying trapeze class never occurred to me before. It was not that I was scared of heights, but I was scared of falling. I was scared that I couldn’t do it and I would just fall and fail repeatedly.


photo 1

Watching one of the instructors swing back and forth to get ready for a stunt.


But the fact that I was feeling scared, the fact that it was something out of my comfort zone, was that pressing sign for me to just do it. I told myself I wouldn’t know if I could do it or not if I didn’t try. I told myself that I wanted to be strong.


What does it even mean to be strong? I was feeling scared, not necessarily weak. I questioned why I thought I needed strength when it made more sense to look for courage. The two traits were very similar, and for my situation, I probably needed both. But I realized that courage would only tell me that I can do it, but it is strength that will actually help me get through it.


Courage was the little voice in my head that told me to drive all the way to Fort Bonifacio where the class was to be held. It was that same voice that told me to stay throughout the teaching demo and wear my safety harness instead of running back into the car and just buying myself some ice cream to feel better. When I finally was able to jump off from the tiny platform 30 feet high up, courage was done playing his part.

photo 2

Everyone in the class takes turns to climb up the ladder and practice the routines.


Strength was the character that led through the entire routine. I needed strength to not just be a dead weight or hanging body but to actually pull my legs up, flip it over the fly bar, and swing back and forth until I land on the net.


photo 3

I could feel the adrenaline rush through my body the moment I jump off from the platform.

After going through the basics of how to fly, flip and land, the instructors taught me how to do trapeze tricks. One of the stunts I learned was called the straddle whip. This is where I’m thankful how my regular yoga practice helped me the most.


photo 4

Straddle whip looked very much like tittibhasana or firefly pose except you’re hanging in midair.


It was challenging, and I wasn’t able to sustain it for very long so I just fell out of the pose. But it was a good try, and I trusted what my body was feeling at that time. I listened to my body to know when I should push, but also when I should back off.


photo 5

Sometimes it’s not about pushing yourself to the limit, but knowing how to balance between push and pull.


This process of finding strength after courage and becoming stronger is something I am thankful that I learned from my practice. The day I tried yoga for the first time, that is courage. But to keep on practicing almost every day, especially during the times I felt tired or demotivated, that is strength. There are days when I can hold an arm balance, and there are days when I just topple over. But being patient with my body instead of always just pushing myself to do it is how I can eventually build strength.


Life on the mat taught me how to live life beyond it. My experience with Flying Trapeze showed me how to be strong even when I’m about to fall. It is not something to be scared of, because there’s always something to learn from falling, even if it happens again and again. After all, I wouldn’t have been able to learn how to fly if I didn’t first learn how to fall.


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Falling is just another way to fly.



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By Erin Ablaza

Business Analyst / Yogi

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