If you haven’t already met these two inspiring beautiful friends, Stephanie Lewis and Nikki Love-Adkins are the duo behind Sumits Hot Yoga in Springfield, MO. Get to know these ladies and learn how they turned a passion into a career, what wellness challenges that they face, and how they manage to stay besties amongst the busiest times with a family and successful yoga studio.
What is your story on how you got to where you are today?
Stephanie: Nikki and I met on the MSU Cheerleading squad in 2001, and had always talked about one day starting a yoga studio. We spent a few years doing our own thing after college, but we both were always drawn to the practice. I was practicing Bikram Yoga while living in Chicago, and Nikki had already started teaching classes here in Springfield. I ended back in the area, and we both are lucky to have been a part of Sumits Yoga since it’s opening in 2009 as teachers. We were presented with an opportunity to buy the studio in 2010, and it was a dream come true for us both. It was the scariest and the best decision all in one. We had no idea what we were doing, we just knew we loved the yoga and wanted to spread it. We’ve learned a ton along the way about business, relationships, and mostly just life in general.
Nikki: Steph and I met on the Missouri state cheer squad and have been best friends ever since. Yoga was a natural evolution for us both and we had an interest soon after college in owning our own studio together. After doing a training and working at Sumits, the opportunity for ownership eventually presented itself and we knew it was the right time. What’s it like running a successful yoga studio with a friend? Stephanie: It’s the best job I could ever ask for! When Nikki and I went into business together the majority of people told us it was a bad idea to go into business with a friend. I think we’ve done a pretty good job at making it work though. We have our ups and downs (always more ups!) like any relationship, but owning the studio has taught us how to communicate better. We can basically read each other’s minds these days! Our days are filled with hard work, but also with laughter, fun, yoga, and lots of trips to Mama Jeans. Nikki: It’s the greatest thing ever. I get to work with my best friend every day. We are so close that we’re practically sisters.
We have each other’s back through the good and the hard
and I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.
Explain a typical day in the life:
Stephanie: We try to get together and touch base 2-3 times a week to talk about things that we need to do at the studio (you can usually find us at Mama Jeans around 9:30 Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). From there we usually head to the studio to do some yoga! We both are fortunate to have a few hours in the afternoon when there are no classes to enjoy some downtime, and then depending on the day, we might be back at the studio at night. On Mondays though, we are both ALWAYS watching the Bachelor.
Nikki: An average day for us: get our girls off to school, errands/personal stuff before meeting each other at Mama Jeans for brainstorming and studio tasks. Around 10:30 or 11:00 we head in to the studio to work a little more and then either teach a class or take a class. Clean the studio, then head home or more personal errands.
What’s your morning routine?
Stephanie: I wake up when my daughter wakes up, usually between 6 – 6:30 and almost immediately try to drink a glass of lukewarm water. Then the next hour or so is usually a giant blur of getting her ready and fed and me ready and fed in between playing Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig before her school starts at 9. My husband goes to work pretty early so our mornings are pretty crazy. I wish I could say that I start every day with a glass of warm tea, meditation and a long shower but that’s not my life these days! It has been, and it will be again, but I’m definitely enjoying this season of life right now.
Nikki: I start every morning with a load of laundry, a written daily plan/to do list, meditation, emails and Instagram, 16 oz. of chlorophyll water and a cup of collagen coffee.
Are there any wellness challenges that you or your family members are working through personally? What’s your advice for overcoming or managing?
Stephanie: My biggest wellness challenge is dealing with ulcerative colitis, a digestive disease that affects the large intestine. I was diagnosed in 2011, and it’s been a lot of ups and downs since. I’ve spent a lot of time (years!) figuring out what works for my body and what doesn’t, and I feel like I’m finally in a place where things are clicking. I haven’t had a flare (when the disease becomes active) since October of 2015, and my goal is to be able to one day get off my medication. Stress, anxiety, and diet all play a huge role in managing my disease, and I just try doing the best that I can. Figuring out the foods I can and cannot eat has been extremely helpful, and my husband has been amazing at helping me with that. He eats how I eat when we’re home, which makes things so much easier!
Everyday I feel good is a blessing,
and I’m so grateful to be where I am right now.
Nikki: My daughter Bostyn and I have food allergies and intolerances to several foods. Her’s are so severe that she carries an epipen with her at all times. It’s difficult for sure, but it is our life. It’s taught us about wellness and a healthier lifestyle. It’s taught us to be more mindful. It’s taught us patience. My biggest piece of advice is to remember that knowledge takes time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Besides yoga, how else do you keep your mind and body balanced?
Stephanie: I try to do some type of cross-training other than yoga once a week … right now Nikki and I are trying kickboxing together, and I really like it! I also try to read for a little bit every night to clear my mind and get off technology. I do meditate when I can, and I try (keyword TRY) to get 8 hours of sleep a night.
Nikki: I love doing Crossfit at Crossfit Springfield with my hubby once or twice a week. It’s something we connect together on and we have made some really strong friendships there. Steph and I have started 9 Round too and that’s super fun.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
Stephanie: “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured, and endure what cannot be cured.” – BKS Iyengar This has been my email signature for almost a decade, and I don’t have any plans on changing it!
Nikki: “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
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