Helen Peacocke visits a combined shop and yoga studio

‘We are what we eat,” and no one embraces this adage more keenly than musician Matt Sage, known locally as the creator and curator of The Catweazle Club, who is also a reflexologist and yoga teacher.

He has been working alongside his partner Jessica Howie, a certified 5Rhythms teacher and founder of a yoga studio in Majorca, to create Wild Honey, a yoga studio and organic health food shop in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, which they opened in November.

Matt and Jessica are both deeply passionate about food, health and the Oxford community who they hope will drop in for yoga classes, enjoy a fresh organic juice or smoothie and do their weekly organic shop while there.

Matt says they aim to create a healthy hub. He has always felt that there is a lack of facilities in Oxford such as those he is now offering and certainly not in the middle of a residential neighbour-hood. He believes that opening a small independent shop is actually a revolut-ionary act — the taking back of our High Streets from the monstrous megastores who have done so much over the past 30 years to rip the heart out of our communities and drive producers to the wall. He also reminds us that in many cases shops like his are actually cheaper than Tesco and Holland & Barrett.

His best-seller at the moment is honey, which he puts down to the name of the shop. Manuka honey from New Zealand, which gets its name from the manuka shrub and is known for its anti-bacterial qualities, is one of the most popular.

Freshly packed salad boxes (both vegan and vegetarian) are selling well too, and the assortment of cheeses, many coming from the Cotswolds, are certainly hitting the spot. Matt gets the bread from the Aston Bakery in Lambourn, which not only mills its own flour but boasts a long heritage in organic food production.

The assortment of milks stocked at Wild Honey is impressive too and includes hemp, coconut, rice, almond, goats and cow’s milk which comes from a delightful organic herd that dwells in clover rich meadows at the base of the Severn Valley and within sight of the Cotswold Hills. This unhomogenised milk comes from a herd known as “the ladies” who are all known by name and milked personally every day to ensure they are a happy healthy bunch. The milk gains extra points for being bottled on the farm and containing high levels of natural omega 3.

Herbs and spices are on sale too as they are an intrinsic part of yogic lifestyle and most are known to contain antioxidants, minerals and multivitamins and possess therapeutic and healing properties. Turmeric, for example, is considered a true wonder as it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and a strong antioxidant. It is also an excellent source of iron and manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fibre and potassium, added to which it tastes amazing. Coriander powder, with its unusual array of phytonutrients, which has been used since 5,000BC, is also known for its medicinal properties, and red chili pepper powder fights inflammation in the body and boosts the body’s immunity to fight diseases.

Yogic lifestyle diets, however, don’t dissect into proteins, carbohydrates and fats, rather the energy obtained from the peace of mind of the person milking the cow that ripples through the milk. Those who follow a yoga diet are convinced that the state of mind of the person cooking or preparing our meals definitely influences the quality of the food. It’s believed that food should also be eaten within three or four hours of it being cooked if we are to gain energy from it and at a regular time each day.

The yoga studio is open throughout the week, except Sunday, and includes four evening sessions. Ten well-respected yoga teachers are running the courses.

A pregnancy yoga, run by Gemma McCoy, who is currently pregnant with her first child, is included and James Reeves takes a class using researched modern methods proven to reduce depression, anxiety, chronic pain and chemical dependency. Traditional yoga exercises and pilates are also included in the programmes.

The sessions are 90 minutes long and are appropriate for all levels, with the exception of Monday evening when the class is for more experienced yogis.

For further information, email toyoga@wildhoneylove.com or phone 01865 803724.