Washington, D.C. is a city known for being at the center of the political ring. But for some, like Shawna Karlson, D.C’s an amateur training ground for the circus ring.

The energy, challenge and rush first hooked Karlson on flying trapeze five years ago.

Karlson said, “When I tell people, they kind of give me a second look like you do flying trapeze?”

Her go-to sport couldn't be more opposite from her day job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I like this too because it is that 180,” said Karlson.

It's an about face for her classmates too. Military members, congressional staff, lawyers, and more have spent an afternoon flying through the air. Many find that it is more rewarding than going for a run or heading to the gym. It is a competitive hobby but only with yourself, learning to conquer your own fears.

“I still get a little butterflies when I start it,” said Karlson.

Regardless of the nerves, flying trapeze has helped Shawna Karlson build both strength and trust.