Taking Off To Happiness
by Ruy Marra
In a mixture of scientific study and Indian philosophy, the book Taking off to Happiness is a lesson for all those who live in a world where professional success is top priority leaving most people in a constant state of stress. Many will identify themselves with the history of Bernard and be inspired to change and maybe even practice hang gliding. 

Ruy Marra discloses the prescription to live a balanced life. A lawyer and graduate of Bio-psychology, he conducted a survey of 2000  hang glider students. The diversity of the participants ranged from executives, soldiers, monks, backpackers, and rock groups. All were, subjected to a similar stressful situation; taking off on a hang glider from 520 meters (1706 feet). The purpose was to determine how emotional experiences of the past affected them at the moment of take off. The survey was divided into two parts; Before Takeoff - Ruy evaluated the nervous system (pulse rate, breathing and facial reactions).
After Landing – The participants answered questionnaire about their childhood.
The goal being to find a link between their childhood experiences to their present reactions to traumatic situations. In the end, the study was able to identify experiences associated with self- esteem and autoefficiency which determined personality traits that were resistant to stressful situations.
The results of the survey are published in the book Taking Off To Happiness written by Ruy Marra.
Entrepreneur ~ Ruy Marra, this lawyer transformed the sport of Hang-gliding and has helped Rio de Janeiro become the top destination for adventure sports. His certification number is 001 and is twice Brazilian champion, world record holder in tandem instructor flights (20,000 to date), international high level champion, and South American distance champion. His company, Superfly, is the only establishment with ABNT certification conforming to the highest levels of safety. A slow beginning in 1982 . Ruy holds a degree in Biopsychology and implements 28 years experience in fear and stress management. Using his passion and extensive knowledge he developed the survey to help people understand and conquer their fears.
Surveyor ~ It took 2000 tandem instruction flights to answer the questions Ruy Marra was looking to answer. 

The results were paramount for most subjects as read in the testimonials; 

“ Yesterday, in my first hang glider lesson, I was flying over Rio de Janeiro, this may sound foolish but for many years I have been afraid of heights, to the point where I could have been in tall closed buildings with thick walls and still the sensation o vertigo would grip me. To me – a hang glider flight was completely out of the question as I never believed that I could throw myself off a mountain. After some friends had flown and returned full of adrenalin and euphoric saying that they had had the best experience of their lives I decide to conquer my fear of flying.
My pilot was Ruy, from the onset he was interested in guiding me through the flight. It all started in the car on the way to the take of ramp with him preparing me for flight and I had no idea that Ruy was transmitting positive vibe to me. When we reached the top I felt intense fear seeing the ramp and Rio de Janeiro below in front of me. Tears began to roll down my face and I began to tremble, I thought immediately “how will I be able to do this?” Ruy took me back to my childhood, and told me to focus on specific things such as smells and and sensations that I had had in the past. HE told me to tell him about a good moment in my life, and I remembered a doll that I loved and that was given to me by my
After teaching me relaxing respiratory exercises, Ruy told me to focus on that moment so as to stay calm. He also visualized a situation for me to think about whilst we were running down the ramp, I pretended that I was running to watch my favorite TV show and I was late. This was excellent for me as I concentrated more on that than the fact that I was running down the ramp for take off.
Before the flight we sat down at the edge of the ramp and watched people taking off. We almost didn't speak, which was a great help because it enabled me to concentrate more on the techniques used bringing the moment of flight closer to me. The flight was fine after we made it down the ramp and took off to my show, I was willing to enjoy the flight from its first instant. My self esteem was high and I felt totally at ease with Ruy. I must confess that there were a few frightening moments, for example when there was a change of wind, but they were insignificant and normal in flight. The mere fact that I was up there was enough for me. Without Ruy´s experience that flight would not have been possible.
Now I feel ready to do it again, at the click of my fingers and I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity. I learned techniques that I can use in similar situations and I feel I made a huge leap in conquering my fear of heights. Flying on a Hang glider will certainly do this for you too.
Thank you once again for yesterday Ruy, I'm still in the air”!
Author ~ After witnessing the positive effects of his work. Ruy was inspired to changed the lives of those who can not experience flight over Rio de Janeiro, he then wrote the book Taking Off To Happiness.