Catching up with… Alethia Austin

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I first got to know Alethia online. I fell in love with her energy, joy, positivity and sheer unbridled love for life, the universe and all things within it. I was almost scared to meet her. Surely no-one could really be that amazing!

Alethia Austin by Barb Zermeno

In the flesh, she was every bit as amazing and more. That smile, that connects with her soul, and makes you feel the world is a beautiful place. The overflowing of enthusiasm and real interest for everyone’s actions. Her intellect, understanding and power of creative thought. She looks at the world in an unfettered way and wants to make it a better place and help others become better human beings.

Hey Alethia, what do you do for a living?

Hi Lesley! I’m a full time freefly coach. I also host a few skills events called LSD Bigway Vertical Camps and LSD Angle Camps. And, I have been teaching yoga for 12 years, which I incorporate into our world through tunnel retreats and full yoga retreats. So, basically, I teach flying and body work.

LSD Camp, Mexico
Photo by FFRaccoon

What made you start organizing LSD camps, and what is ‘LSD’?

LSD stands for Level, Slot, Dock, an acronym used quite a bit in vertical bigway flying. I started LSD as a way of supporting my own selfish desire to be on the women’s vertical record. I’d heard from girl friends who had joined that record how special it was, and I wanted in. Soon after, LSD was born. I wasn’t flying head down bigways at the time, but running the camps helped me learn. A few years after running LSD Vertical, I started LSD Angle Camps. Which are a blast as well. No emphasis on bigways, obviously, but work camps for the serious movement fliers.

What’s your approach as a coach?

The more I’ve grown as a coach, the more my approach has grown. Where I’m at now is being authentic in my teaching. I incorporate long briefs to identify things I fully believe can help someone reach another level in their flying and in their experience. So, in my coaching, I bring in mindfulness, body awareness, self talk, energy management and some basics like food, hydration and sleep. I try to give a holistic approach in my coaching, without running off anyone who isn’t necessarily into that sort of lifestyle. For the flying, I like to push my students within the boundaries of their skills and within the boundaries of their mental game. And to be sure that in the process of a challenging day, they find the celebration still in what we’re doing.

Alethia leading a movement jump

Do you have a motto, or favorite quotation?

I try to remind myself that we’re really only here for a minute. That this human experience is just a tiny moment. So, things that seem big, well, they’re not. When you’re in that space, you just feel gratitude for your being here, and love for those around you. That works for me.

What’s your pet hate?

Lack of compassion.

Alethia’s amazing energy

What was the biggest breakthrough /decision of your life?

To be honest, going vegan was a big one for me.  From that decision so many things fell into place. Compassion, empathy, connectivity, big energy, good health, an approach to social norms that we adopted without questioning, and without free will.

You do great interviews for Skydive Mag, why?

Well, I just adore you Lesley. So proud of you. And I love to showcase some positive people in our sport doing awesome things. 

Alethia running morning yoga
Image by Norman Kent

What do you get out of teaching yoga and what benefits do you see in others?

I found a new awareness of what my toes were doing in the sky. Not only that, it keeps you flexible and fit. Two definite perks to seek when you’re a skydiver who isn’t 20 years old.

For me, yoga is so personal. It’s been a real journey for me in connecting with myself and getting to the root and the source of what’s going on inside of me, how I’m feeling and the quiet that is there beneath the noise. The healing I’ve been privileged to see in my classes has been so inspiring. There are usually some tears (not from pain, I swear…I think), but mostly in indoor studio courses I see a lot of emotional healing happening in the meditations and the savasana. It’s painful but so incredibly beautiful to see. Who doesn’t need some good healing!

Who do you admire in the sport and why?

Anyone who enters the sport and stays in the sport humble, with their ego corralled and keeps charging. There’s a good amount of those out there that continue to inspire me.

Alethia leading a flock over Panama
Image by Andrea Mesa

Do you have any thoughts on being a woman in skydiving?

It’s still a pretty male-dominated life that we live in, so I think it’s easy to adjust to it being a predominantly male sport. It’s really special to see sisters around the dropzone, and women lifting other women up in our sport. I’m happy to see more females coaching, because there’s a massive difference in how women learn and how women fly and we really benefit from getting coaching from females. I love, just love, coaching women and flying with women. There’s something so special about it.

What are the drawbacks and benefits of being a female in the sport?

The Benefits: Free advice all the time!

The Drawbacks: Free advice all the time! (Disclaimer: not all advice is good advice.)

Alethia coaching at Spread The Wings Boogie, Egypt
Photo by Adrian Daszkowski

What do you want to achieve through all your work in the sport?

Continuing to progress my own experience in the sport, using this platform to spread positive messages and positive life processes, and connecting with this incredible community.

Anything you would like to add?

Don’t be in such a rush that you miss the true experience.
And, Lesley, you’re amazing. Thanks for all you do. ❤️

Alethia, photo by Louise Kristensen 

Want More Alethia?

Here are some of Alethia’s articles written exclusively for Skydive Mag:

Alethia Austin is proudly sponsored by PD, UPT, CYPRES, Tonfly and LB Altimeters

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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