#BEYOUROWN MEETS MEEGAN BRADLEY
Meegan’s teaching style is friendly and open. She has been teaching, in many disciplines, for over 15 years. She began teaching while working in the forests of Canada. She taught 18-25-year-olds how to plant trees in snow, rain and extreme heat ALL while avoiding bears and cougars! Her travels took her to Australia to teach and then to England where she spent 10 years teaching secondary school in Hackney.
Meegan discovered Yoga while teaching in Hackney, unable to switch off from work and completely stressed, this introduction to Hotpod Yoga would ultimately change the course of her life. An adrenaline junkie and lifetime yo-yo dieter she never thought yoga would be for her. She was wrong. Meegan’s introduction to Hotpod showed her the power of connecting breath and movement, whilst being in the enclosure of the pod which allows you to forget about other life stresses. Falling hard she decided to do YTT 200hr and open her own Hotpod Yoga studio in Margate.
Meegan has been running her yoga studio, Hotpod Yoga Margate, for over 4 years now and has met, sweated with and become friends with everyone she has taught. Strip everything back; the ego, the poses, the world of Instagram, yoga is moving and breathing, sharing a part of yourself on the mat, letting go and taking time for yourself. This is the point. It isn’t alignment, it isn’t party-trick poses and it isn’t the calories burnt.
Meegan’s teaching and personality are tightly woven together and have always been. She considers this openness, heart on sleeve style, a strength which has allowed her to have strong relationships with those she teaches and encounters. Meegan’s teaching style is creative, challenging and inspired by her love of anatomy. Recently embracing the body positive movement and her own body she is truly moved by the uniqueness and power of everyone’s individual bodies and her classes aim to have each student feel more gratitude towards their own bodies. Meegan is proud to be a SURE Movement Champion helping everyone move more at home during and after lockdown.
During a lockdown when Meegan had to close her yoga studio she didn’t waste much time at all pivoting and adapting. She started running 20 classes a week online, created an online yoga membership, an abundance course, a hip mobility course, redid her website and took 3 courses for business, personal growth and yoga.
Meegan believes in alignment to a certain extent but only when it aids, supports and strengthens someone’s own body. Never being dogmatic in her approach to teaching and alignment she encourages her students to explore how poses feel when engaging specific muscles, instead of empowering them to know when their body feels stronger in a pose rather than uncomfortable and uncertain.
Meegan is constantly learning as a practitioner and loves working with the teachers who work at her studio. Yoga is not a competition. She wants her fellow yoga teachers to be the best, most knowledgeable and confident teachers they can be. She works with them to improve their own teaching and practice, which also supports her own learning and development. Meegan has completed yoga for sport certification and a gravity yoga teacher training and strongly believes all athletes should incorporate yoga into their training schedule. Health and fitness are about moving your body in a way that sparks joy in your life. It isn’t #fitspo, it isn’t a specific BMI and it isn’t punishing your body. Meegan embraces joyful movement, laughing while sweating and never taking yourself too seriously. This is what you will get with Meegan before, during or after a yoga class.
Welcome Meegan, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am originally from Canada and have been living in the UK for over 10 years now. I moved to the UK as an English and art teacher and through my stressful job found an escape with yoga. When we decided to move to the seaside town of Margate I made a bold move to quit education, complete my YTT and open a yoga studio. I love living in Margate with my wife and our Hungarian Vizsla, Hudson. I am an LGBT business owner and feel very strongly about supporting my LGBT community. I don’t take life too seriously and love inspiring confidence and change in people. As a curvy woman who has felt for years my body is not worthy and isn’t represented in the media I champion inclusivity and accessibility in yoga, movement and exercise.
What is a typical day like for you?
My wife and I wake up quite early often before 6am. Drink tea and read. We take our dog for a long walk on the seafront and sometimes go for a swim ourselves. I then will run off to teach a yoga class either on the beach or at the yoga studio. If I have time I’ll go to the gym, realised recently how important lifting weights is so trying to get that in. After a busy morning, the rest of my day consists of admin (emails, mailers etc) writing some blogs, filming for my online yoga membership or YouTube, cooking and eating food, watering my plants (I have a collection of about 100 of them) and maybe watching some Real Housewives or Selling Sunset!
As we are all now navigating through a difficult time post-COVID-19 Lockdown, how are you finding the situation?
Lockdown has been a rollercoaster. On March 16th after Boris’ announcement I drank a bottle of wine, cried and made a plan. The next day I started putting together how I was going to teach online. I got personal online classes and classes for my studio happening MEGA quick. This fast pivot got me some attention and I was featured in The Guardian, The Times and the BBC a few times. I’ve used this time to reflect and evaluate my life. Both my wife and I run our own businesses (her a live music business called Secret Sessions) and we were suddenly not doing what we’ve been doing for years. I’ve completed my Yoga Nidra training, an Asana course with Louise Henry, a YouTube course with Trena Little, had my website re-designed by Josh Constant and created an online membership. I always wanted to make the move to have an online offering but I don’t think I would have had the mental brainpower or time to do this. It personally has been difficult for a few reasons. We had to put our IVF treatment on hold and my family live in Canada and my brother has just had a baby and I haven’t been able to visit or see them.
Who is the most influential female entrepreneur that you admire and why?
Oh Gosh! Okay, there are a few:
Maisie Hill: I started working with her during fertility treatment and over time became friends. She has such vision and drives. She writes about women and those who identify as women, in a way that is real and caring.
Rebecca Douglas: This woman is on a mission! She is an incredible photographer and is insanely focused on sustainability. She is also hilarious and one of my great friends!
Paloma Newman: She is an incredible coach with a mission to help yoga teachers who want to run retreats. She is incredibly organised and driven.
What is a solid tip that can help other young female entrepreneurs looking to build their own business? Stay in your own lane! Comparison ate me up when I first started. I would be completely crippled by an Instagram post or a comment about someone else. I have deleted or muted a lot of triggering people on socials and try to just focus on what I am doing or what others I admire are doing.
What has been the most challenging yet rewarding barrier you faced and how did overcome it whilst building your career? Time Management. I know it sounds really simple for the most challenging barrier but it’s true. I spent 10 years working in education where every moment of my time was managed, down to when I could go to the toilet. When I started working for myself I felt crippled by the amount of time I had the worries of not knowing what I was meant to do with it. It’s been 4 years and I have put a lot of things in place. Working with different coaches over the years has been a massive help and epically rewarding. I was held accountable, learned about myself and saw growth. I did a scheduling and time management course on a program called asana that has helped me plan my big goals, blog posts, larger vision and daily tasks. Every time I complete one of the tasks on my asana to-do list I smile. This control over my time and the tasks I need to do has helped with anxiety, sense of achievement and allowed me to be more present day-to-day and on holidays.
Can you tell us which 3 marketing tools are your most preferred and how they support your everyday business functionality?
Asana: not sure if this is a marketing tool but it’s where I plan a lot of my marketing and therefore it’s essential. This is where I come up with all of the big things I want to do (retreats, blogs, online courses) I map out the different components and put in the days I need to complete them. Less overwhelm.
Preview: I use this to schedule, write and edit my Instagram posts. Allows me to create cohesion through filters, easy hashtagging, and bulk write and plan Instagram stories and feed so I am not glued to it daily
Canva Pro: upgrading to pro has made things much easier for me. I have my brand colours easily accessible, my logo, resize a document into many forms, photos and other aspects of my marketing. For someone with no graphic design skills, I am able to make assets that look professional.
What support networks do you personally love and can recommend to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there to become part of?
I have loved the Digital Yoga Academy. This is a community built for yoga teachers to give information, collaboration and teach. You can ask questions and seek advice. Everyone has been incredibly supportive.
Local business networks have been a great place to speak to others who are running their own businesses. I found Josh Constant who designed and manages my website through one of these.
How are you working on your own personal development?
I don’t have a specific coach that I work with anymore, instead, I do courses with the coaches and practitioners I trust. I am still working with Paloma Newman and using her Retreat Leader Toolkit to plan my retreats for 2021. I have just signed up to a 6-month coaching and yoga leader course with Kelly Mchugh who runs Digital Yoga Academy. These are big investments but what I have realised is that when you’re on your own you need to invest in training to make progress and develop. I have done both business-specific and personal coaching. You need both of these to survive, thrive and take care of yourself so you don’t burn out.
I read The Miracle Morning a year ago and try to make sure that my mornings are sacred and that they’re a time for me to work on myself.
How are you looking to grow and expand throughout the rest of the year?
My aim this year is to continue to develop and grow my online membership, online offerings and my reach. I would really like to start working on growing my community beyond my local area. I want to be able to work with people all over the UK and abroad.
This starts with simple things like growing my mailing list, making sure that I am constantly providing content and resources for my community. I want to learn more about blogging and begin to make an income from this, I love writing and am enjoying sharing the knowledge I have attained through training, courses and life. I am interested in pursuing business coaching and working with other women who are looking at starting their own businesses or working for themselves as well.