I’m turning my blog over to a fellow New York City blogger, Kayla of Kayla in the City, today. While I’ve tried a variety of group exercise classes, Kayla regularly takes a class that’s still on my bucket list. She does flying trapeze! After reading about her experiences, I know how I’ll be challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone next. Find out how trapeze has made both a physical and mental impact on Kayla.
For over four years, I’ve been taking weekly flying trapeze classes. Yes, flying trapeze. It sounds like a crazy hobby, but deciding to sign up for a 10-week trapeze workshop four years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Before I signed up for that 10-week intensive, I had taken a handful of trapeze classes, mainly while on vacation at a Club Med resort. The first time I “flew” was actually almost 20 years ago.
It’s pretty evident from the picture that it was not love at first swing, but can you blame me—I was only four years old! I decided to take another stab at it 10 years later and continued to fly once a year on vacation. I looked forward to my family’s annual trip to Club Med because it meant I got to spend all week with sore back muscles and covered in chalk thanks to trapeze. It was this fun, quirky thing I did while on vacation, but I never thought I would it would become a part of my home life.
Turns out, there’s a trapeze school in Manhattan not too far away from where I was living for college. I finally got the courage to sign up for the 10-week intensive that started in September of my second year at NYU. Even now, four years later, my heart still pitter patters a bit as I prepare to jump off the board, but I slowly became less and less fearful during that first 10 weeks. I could feel myself getting stronger—my back no longer ached the next morning, my hands began to toughen up and form calluses, and my overall body was becoming stronger and stronger.
That fall ended up being a crazy time in my life as I dealt with a bad breakup, a sick grandma, and a very stressful semester at school. I began to look forward to those Thursday nights at the trapeze tent more and more. My life might’ve been crazy outside the tent, but in the tent I couldn’t worry about the boy who broke my heart, my sick grandma, or the amount of schoolwork I had to do. In the tent, all I cared about was catching my latest trick. I loved that, in the air during the 30 seconds I was flying, it was impossible to think about anything other than my trick, keeping my body tight, my toes pointed, and the commands my instructor was telling me. I got to literally run away from real life and join the circus, while also being a college student at NYU.
As I continued to fly and spend more time at the rig (the official name for a place that has a flying trapeze), I started taking classes with the same people and my group of trapeze friends began to grow. Although most of them were older than me, these people became my surrogate brothers and sisters. We started signing up for the same classes and decided on fun dress-up themes each week. I looked forward to those Thursday nights, when I got to spend time with my good friends at trapeze wearing ridiculous outfits. This non-athlete got to be a part of a team. As much as I cared about catching my own tricks and progressing, I felt the same level of accomplishment when my trapeze friends caught their tricks for the first time.
It’s weird to think of jumping off a platform 25 feet in the air as therapeutic, but that’s definitely what it’s been for me. On the ground, I’m this girl full of fears and anxieties, but up in the air I can leap from the board with confidence and execute a killer trick with strength and poise. It’s funny, often times the things I am working toward on the ground–being flexible in my every day life and trusting my instincts–end up being what I have to work on in the air.
Four years later, I’m still a “frequent flyer.” My back muscles have become crazy developed. I was a bridesmaid at one of my trapeze friend’s weddings. I’ve flown in New York, California, and Mexico, and I have permanent calluses, much to the alarm of every manicurist in Manhattan.