YogAyur, in Rome’s Ostiense / Piramide district, is a yoga centre with big ambitions.
The formerly itinerant yoga association, which also has a centre in Monti, found a home in Ostiense a few years ago, just behind the iconic gasometer, on the upper floors of a tranquil palazzo with a roof terrace – great for outdoor (and indoor) yoga classes.
Then, just over a year ago, the centre managed to extend to the ground floor and basement of the building, which was all the chance that owner and yoga and meditation teacher Federico Insabato needed.
YogAyur immediately launched an ambitious refurbishment programme, creating a yoga and meditation room on the ground floor, but perhaps even more importantly, opening its very own bistro and bento bar, with Catia Briganti at the helm. This was a chance to extend the centre’s healthful approach, offering simple breakfasts, lunches and suppers made from home-grown produce, sourced from Catia’s patch near Carpineto Romano in South Lazio and fashioned into home-cooked goodness.
Imagine carefully sourced salads, cous cous, marinated vegetables, soups, smoothies and more, as well as a fresh kettle of herbal tea always on the go. The bistro is open to members of the centre, but anyone can join (you don’t have to be an habitual attendee of yoga classes), and the annual card costs just €5.
The other part of the refurbishment programme involved creating a wellness centre in the basement of the building, a true oasis of tranquillity. This includes a small hammam, featuring a steam room and a tepid tub to alternate from hot to cool, a massage room, and a relaxation room.
I recently visited YogAyur in Ostiense to check out the new wellness centre and have lunch in the bistro. Read on for my first impressions of this easy-to-reach yoga, meditation and massage centre and bistro, just a few minutes walk from Piramide Metro.
Situated on a side street off via Porto Fluviale, visitors step through the hallway of YogAyur and straight into the bistro / café area on the ground floor. This starts serving breakfast at 08.00 in the mornings (Monday to Friday) and from 10.00 on weekends, with an outdoor option on the roof terrace during the warmer months. The bistro stays open all day through until 10pm at night, offering seasonal goodness which changes daily.
Before lunch, I headed down to the basement for my wellness experience. Use of the hammam costs a reasonable price per person of €30. If you would like a hands-on scrub with black soap, the price rises to €50.
Wearing a bikini, I first tried out the steam room, equipped with marble benches behind a glass door. This was very pleasant although I would personally have enjoyed it if it had been a few degrees hotter (but I am a devotee of Finnish saunas, which is a much more extreme experience altogether).
I then alternated between the body-temperature tub and the steam room, to give my pores a chance to open. This is what constitutes the basic hammam experience at YogAyur, with mits and black soap provided for guests to scrub themselves if they so wish.
I was going to enjoy the hammam + professional scrub treatment, however, which meant that my morning began with sauna assistant Valentin pouring warm, perfumed water over me from wooden bowls in a ‘ritual purification’. The scented oils in the water filled the air and it was a luxurious start.
After spending 40 minutes or so between steam room and pool, I was invited to cover myself in black soap – presented in terracotta bowls – and then lie down on a marble bench on top of my sauna towel. Wearing an abrasive mit, the sauna assistant scrubbed the soap into my pores with a delicate hand. Then he poured hot water over me from wooden buckets, the splashing water cleansing my skin and washing away the residues of soap. This was extremely satisfying, and I retired to the YogAyur shower room to wash my hair (dirty from the perfumed water, and also dampened by the scrub treatment).
The bathrooms here are well equipped with high quality face creams, cleansing lotions and body lotion. However, there was no shampoo and conditioner, so please bring your own. There was a multiuse body wash in the showers which I ended up using to wash my hair, borrowing some conditioner from a fellow blogger.
Feeling warm within, and with my skin clean and taut from the soap, I moved upstairs for a relaxing herbal tea. If I had had more time, I could also have remained in YogAyur’s warm and candlelit relaxation room in the basement where tea is also provided.
It was time for lunch in the YogAyur bistro, and we started with a fresh, organic salad to set the mood, delicately dressed with unfiltered extra virgin olive oil.
Next up, we tasted some cubes of wholemeal polenta mixed with mustard seeds, while drinking an organic Italian cider, sourced from Calabria. This was absolutely wonderful, recalling the tart, naturally fermented ciders of Northern Spain.
I was just sampling tasting portions from the regular menu so I could try a good range of snacks at the bistro, so don’t judge from the portion size!
We moved on next to a flavourful whole-wheat couscous served with home-grown zucchini, followed by home made wholemeal wafers, topped with ricotta and black sesame seeds.
Our ‘good bacteria’ received a boost with these wonderful kilner jar-marinated vegetables. Although steeped only in saline solution, the naturally fermented vegetables had gained a wonderful vinegar flavour.
Next, we tasted a
We also tried slices of toasted polenta bread topped with a wonderfully fresh and sweet homemade tomato sugo.
It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that Yogayur also offers vegan sushi-making classes. The class was just finishing up next door, so we took the opportunity to pop our heads in and were rewarded with a taste of delicious vegan sushi.
The bistro experience was excellent overall and I am excited about going back (hopefully to dine on the roof terrace next time). The fridge and glass counter were full of lots more tempting dishes that I can’t wait to try.
Overall, I really enjoyed my day at YogAyur in Ostiense. If you are inspired to check it out, I recommend liking the Facebook page or signing up for the electronic newsletter. That’s because this is a place with a rewarding, changing calendar, offering everything from Indian classical music concerts on the roof top in summer, to a range of yoga classes, including hammock yoga and hot yoga, combined with a hammam programme.
I had the feeling that I had only just scratched the surface of this wonderful, local resource, and can’t wait to go back soon.
YogAyur Ostiense | Via Giuseppe Acerbi 38 | Metro B – Piramide
Tel +39 392 9417458 – 06 89346 021 – email@example.com
Testaccina was a guest of YogAyur