Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Review: Pacific Yoga and Café Matariki, Bristol

Pacific Yoga and Cafe Matariki Bristol - review

I know, I know, it seems weird leading a review of a yoga studio and cafe with a massive piece of chocolate cake, but look at it! Seriously. This is vegan chocolate cake topped with rose petals. And it was divine. Go and visit Café Matariki now if you share my interest in dream cake. Or read on for the rest of my review.

Still with me? Okay, let's rewind a bit. 

When I first heard about Pacific Yoga, Bristol's newest yoga studio, two things crossed my mind:
1. Ooh, a new yoga studio! I wonder what classes they have? and 2. Does Bristol really need ANOTHER yoga studio?

Pacific Yoga and Cafe Matariki Bristol review

The answer to the first is mainly bikram (hot) yoga, combined with some more unusual classes such as Qi Jong, Koha and Broga. Owner Margaret Brereton was born on the Polynesian island of Rarotonga (hence the heat), and spent a long time hunting down the perfect home for Pacific Yoga here in Bristol. The location is part of the new Finzels Reach development across the water from Castle Park, making it an ideal mix of industrial building meets spacious new studio.

As part of my review, I took a class - Yin Yoga with Rose. Yin yoga is a meditative, slow-paced practice in which you hold the mainly floor-based postures for longer periods of time to work deeper into connective tissues in the body. Rose was a similarly gentle and steady teacher, offering extra care when I mentioned my back issues. Deeply relaxing and calming, the class was an unusual way to spend a lunch break but I reaped the real benefits that night when my sleep was deep and less fitful than usual.

The studios are beautifully equipped, as is the rest of the building. Changing rooms have been carefully designed to maximise comfort (padding about barefoot on heated floors is a far cry from a municipal sports centre) and minimise environmental impact, while the two yoga studios themselves are peaceful and spacious. One mirrored wall allows you to check your positioning while the soft lighting means you don't get distracted scrutinising your appearance too much. The white panels in the ceiling provide the therapeutic benefits of the sun’s heat without the harmful rays and, in Room One (the hot yoga studio) temperatures hit around 38 or 39 on the thermometer but the heat is radiant, reducing humidity.

Pacific Yoga and Cafe Matariki Bristol review
And after my class? I headed out for lunch at Café Matariki. The café is right next to the reception area, so easily accessible whether you're taking a class or not. My visit took place shortly after the café launched and there were a few teething problems – the space felt a little vacuous and tables and chairs were flimsy, clattering about in the space which jarred with the overall vibe. A few softer textures would help both make the space feel cosier and the sound less echoey.

Pacific Yoga and Cafe Matariki Bristol reviewBeginning with a refreshing green smoothie, I had a look over the menu. Six dishes were on offer, including vegetable soup with Bertinet bread, organic chicken rolled with Moroccan rice, herbs and apricots, poached salmon and spinach tart with salad, topped toast with avocado, feta and chilli, and vegetable frittata with feta and olives. Price ranged from £4.50 to £8. In the end, I opted for the Indian inspired pacific bowl - a riot of rice, roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and tomatoes, pineapple Kachumba and minted yoghurt. My vegan version came with non-dairy yoghurt and without the boiled egg, and staff made it easy for me to find something suitably plant-based. It was a delightfully fragrant combination, light enough to eat after a class but substantial enough not to feel peckish an hour later. Oh, and that delicious cake helped! 

So, in answer to the second question – yes, yes it does. Bristol needs another yoga studio because Pacific Yoga is a whole different kettle of fish. Forget classes taken in a draughty church hall complete with crumbs on the floor and crash mats in the corner. This is a sanctuary designed for yoga and for the people who want to make it a real part of their lives. The real deal.

Pacific Yoga and Café Matariki is at:
Ground Floor,
The Brewhouse,
Georges Square
Bristol BS1 6LA

0117 321 5445

With thanks to Pacific Yoga and Café Matariki for inviting me to sample a class and lunch for the purposes of this review. 

For more information, visit pacificyoga.co.uk.
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