A well-known face from The Only Way Is Essex has left the glitz and glamour of on-screen life to create a corner of peace and tranquillity on one of the district’s high streets.
Outgoing blonde Billi Mucklow quit the ITV show after series eight to pursue a dream of opening her own yoga studio.
Now, with just 11 days to go until the grand opening of Bikram Yoga Essex, on Loughton High Road, the 26-year-old is urging people to give yoga a go.
She said: “It is definitely something that I have been working towards. I did my training in LA two-years-ago.
“The great thing about Bikram yoga is that it just takes everything away. Everyone has such hectic lives, especially in Essex. It is a great distraction from everyday life; you don’t have the time to think about anything else.
“There are so many benefits to it. There are internal benefits but it is also a system that works every muscle, every part of your body. The girls love it because you burn so many calories.
“I have been practicing for about five years now, to be honest I found my first few classes really hard but that’s why we say that you should do it at least three to five times before you really understand it. You have to let your body adjust to the heat.
Despite yoga being renowned for relaxing the mind whilst gently working the body, Bikram is a rather more intense strand of the exercise which can see participants burn up to 1250 calories per session.
Breathing and postures are practiced in 90 minute sessions in a room which is heated to approximately 40°C.
Miss Mucklow, who began the scientifically developed exercise five-years-ago after being inspired by her father, says that the studio will be the opposite to all things Towie.
She said: “When I came back from training my next step was always going to be opening a yoga studio but then the show came along and it was something that I was really excited about doing.
“I didn’t realise that I was going to be in it for so long. I started to work on my studio about a year ago and I needed to give it my all, this is my real passion. It’s the most real thing in my life.
“This is something really new to the area, it’s not another salon. I have had a lot of interest from people outside the ‘golden triangle’ from Brentwood and other places and I think it will bring people from outside of Essex into the district and the people who go to London to classes can do it here now.
“I really want people to give it a go. There are great introductory offers. I have put my heart and soul into it and if people come along with an open mind I think that they will love it, too.
“The studio is beautiful, I haven’t been to a better one in the whole of the UK. It isn’t going to be Towie related.”
To find out more Bikram yoga and the studio, which will be open for visitors to take a look around on June 29, visit http://www.bikramyogaessex.com/.