Samantha Beagley is an aerialist and fitness trainer specialising in yoga. We caught up with Samantha at her home in Hastings where she lives with her partner Tony, son Roman and their dogs Fang and Frankie.
We are big yoga fans too, but tell us more about aerial!
Well, aerial is essentially a visual circus art. Hoop, silks, trapeze and straps are probably the most common disciplines. I've been really obsessed with aerial since I was a kid and trained at the national circus centre when I was much younger. But my first true discipline was pole - which has recently been more widely adopted by aerial schools and shows. I also teach and perform hoop and hammocks (aerial yoga mainly).
In the last 5 years, I have seen a huge shift in how people work out and keep fit, its become more of a hobby and a lifestyle choice rather then dragging yourself to the gym! Aerial is one form of fitness that has had a bit of a mainstream push because it's such a thrilling way of keeping fit and learning something new. I love teaching it... but I love performing more. Although, the last time I was on stage I was 5 months pregnant in Oslo doing a very cautious pole show.
When did you start practising yoga ?
I started practicing about 10 years ago after coming home from a stint living and working in LA, I was stressed and miserable and I had an awful stiff neck and shoulder constantly, probably from carrying so much tension. My mum suggested it and I have to say, I hated it at first, I found it pretentious and over the top. I gave it a miss for a few months before trying a new studio. Which is where I fell in love with the practice and decided, quite quickly, I'd rather be doing that for work then anything else.
Is yoga suitable for everyone ?
Wearing our Rib Long Dungarees & Rainbear Easy Fit Dungarees
Yes, 100% there are many different styles, especially now, and every teacher will have a different approach, just like finding the right PT you need to find a style or a studio or a teacher that fits you. There is everything from restorative and chair yoga, to gentle slow and beginners yoga, fast paced flow yoga , yoga for strength, yoga for flexibility, yoga that follows sequences like ashtanga and more free flowing freestyle go with the flow yoga like vinyasa. It's so versatile. That is why I love it... I think the two most common things I hear from people that have yet to try are 'Oh I can't even touch my toes' doesn't matter - neither can many people - I can't on a tight hamstring day!
It's not about being flexible its about finding the right rhythm for your body, connecting your breath to movement or just finding a bit of head space! The second most common I hear is that 'Yoga is for girls' (pay partner is guilty of this one, until I made him do a class). I get a huge number of men in my classes, sometimes even more than women, they may enjoy it for different reasons, or get different benefits from it, but it's absolutely not just for girls.
Tell us more about your online yoga courses.
So I currently teach 4 free entry level classes a week online, they are sponsored by Lucozade, Sport England and Our Parks - we started the classes at the beginning of Lockdown last year and I still see the same happy faces on Zoom every evening. It's a great way to keep people feeling connected through everything we have all been through this past year. You can find the info on my website if you wish to join!
How did you find the move from London life to seaside living ?
Hard. I am a born and raised Londoner and never imagined myself leaving. I still say I live in London and I can't for sure say we'll be here forever, although I do love it. We moved just before lockdown so I went from the hustle and bustle of Hackney living to a locked down small sea side town in the winter - it was a big shift for my family and a humbling one aswell. But we all really love being by the sea on the days the sun decides to show its face - and there it's no comparison between the size of the house we have here and our two bed hackney basement flat.
We love seeing your family updates - does Roman join in with your fitness classes too ?
He's a bit too much at the moment but I really hope he will, he loves shining in my aerial hammock and has got a fantastic down dog though.