I’m Evie and I’m now 23 years old.

My parents had been doing Bikram yoga for yonks and I never thought twice about going with them (lame!). They always talked about it around the dinner table, cracking in-jokes about their class and the teachers. Once I finished high school, turned 19 and matured a little, I swallowed my pride and went along to a class with mum. Four years later and I’ve been coming pretty regularly ever since. Now every Monday Mum, Dad and I get into our yogi gear, hop in the car and go along together to our 5.30pm class – and it’s my favourite part of the day!

Originally I started because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and find out who this ‘Jodie’ was. The first class was definitely a struggle. I prepared by drinking my entire weight in water and asking Mum and Dad a million questions like “What if I faint!?”. Their only response was “You can lie down for the entire class if you want – just breathe and make sure you stay in the room”. Which I did, and to this day I still sometimes have to say this to myself before going into the room.

I love Bikram yoga because of the amazing benefits I can see and feel it has on my body and mind. I’ve dabbled in many types of yoga since my first class four years ago, and yet I always come back to Bikram. The heat allows me to really open up and helps my flexibility. It also makes me sweat buckets which makes me feel like I’m getting a really good workout. But the biggest reason I come back is for my mind.

I’m a bit of a worry-wart. I get stressed and anxious about everything. Going through a double-degree at uni my mind was constantly running at a million miles per hour. It would take me houuurssss to get to sleep at night. I would lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, my mind running through all the things I had done that day, all the things that needed to be done tomorrow, and all the things that could potentially need to be done in the future. After only a week at Bikram, there was a noticeable difference in my sleeping. I was finally able to close my eyes, switch off and think about absolutely nothing. I learnt how to do this whilst in class, during the hour and a half where I’m focusing so much on the heat, getting through the postures and listening to the dialogue, that there’s no room in my brain to be thinking about anything else!

Bikram has had such an impact on my life in so many ways. But if there’s one thing I want to thank all the teachers at Bikram for, it would be helping me truly relax and improve my mental health. I would be completely lost (and extremely stressed out) without it.

Evie Sumpter