What: Active Aerial is a yoga class where you use a silk that hangs from the ceiling as a prop for different postures and inversions.
Where: Knot Springs
Tips: Listen to the cueing and watch the instructor demonstrate so you are able to get into the postures. Ask the instructor for help if you’re struggling!
Active Aerial Instructor: Keri Padon
I took class at Knot Springs with Keri Padon, who is originally from Montana and moved to Portland in 2011. The class only allows for a couple people, so it’s really intimate and hands-on, which I loved. I have only taken this type of class a couple times so I am by no means experienced or fully comfortable doing it, but Keri’s cueing was on point. She walks you through each of the poses step-by-step and transitions very smoothly. We hit a variety of postures, including being upside down. There are a bunch of modifications though, so no need to worry if you aren’t very flexible or are uncomfortable doing anything. I personally did not sweat, but some of the poses were intense and I would’ve started sweating had we held them a little longer. At the end of the class, we laid in the silk like a cocoon and Keri dabbed an essential oil on our foreheads, which was magical. Keri’s got this calming, encouraging energy that makes you feel like you’re going to be just fine, even if you’re about to fall flat on your face.
CZ: How did you get started in your aerial yoga practice?
KP: In 2007, I went to China and ended up going to a Chinese circus. It was the first time I had seen aerial dance with fabrics. Three and a half years later, I moved to Portland. At the time, I was doing 200 hour yoga teacher training, but I saw a flyer for aerial dance and ended up getting into it at the same time as yoga. A studio opened up and they offered aerial yoga— the owner took a chance on me and I ended up taking over the program.
CZ: How do you want your clients to feel when they come out of your class?
KP: I want them to feel both empowered and embodied— like a rockstar but also tender. Mindful, present. The class is about meeting ourselves where we are: truth leads to transformation.
CZ: What drives the energy in your class?
KP: The flow (subtle or dynamic) in terms of physical. I focus on finding a way to encapsulate being present, where thoughtfulness is driven by curiosity. I use music to complement everything.
CZ: How do you stay inspired as an instructor?
KP: I stay inspired by bringing in new flows and new things, and also by furthering my own practice of movement, dance, and music. Meditation as well. The experience of practicing and sharing inspires me.
CZ: What would you say to someone who wants to try your class but is too nervous to come?
KP: The class is built for all levels, beginners included. Trust yourself. I’ll never ask you to do something you don’t feel safe or interested in doing. There are so many modifications, the silk is there to support you.
CZ: How would you describe your class vibe in one word?
KP: Playful. We explore our boundaries and edges and play with that a little bit more. It’s healing because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the seriousness and drama of life.