Harry Lancaster is owner of Egg Of The Universe – a yoga studio and wholefoods cafe in Sydney’s Rozelle. Along with his wife, Bryony, they’ve created a community space where nourishing body and mind go hand in hand.
5am // The alarm goes off and I sip tea and read before meditating. I love this start to the day but it hasn’t always been like this – when our kids were young we often didn’t sleep well, so it felt wrong to wake up before them! Bryony and I always dreamed of running a space that combined our passions for yoga and wholefoods. In 2006 we bought a yoga studio, and a few days later we realised Bryony was pregnant with our daughter Olive. Leo followed in 2009, and in 2010 the building next door to the studio came up for rent and the dream of an integrated yoga and café space became a possibility. We sold our home and everything we had (and begged and borrowed more!) to make it happen. We completed the build using only recycled or sustainable materials, zero voc paints and LED lights, and installed an underground water tank to harvest rainwater.
6.45am // It’s game on to get the kids up. Our roles at work have changed enormously over the years, depending on how old the kids are and where we’re at in our business growth. Currently my role is focused on general management, whereas my wife’s always headed up the yoga team. In both the yoga studio and the café we’re focused on making the knowledge and experience of yoga and healthy wholefoods available to as wide a group as possible. We offer tools to help navigate the ups and downs of life – sometimes this means coffee and cake, and at other times it’s yoga and meditation, or a cooking class.
8am // I get to work and say hi to everyone (our yoga teachers open up at 5.30am and our barista gets in at 7), then I order a coffee butter bullet – double shot Allpress, blended with butter and MCT oil – and grab a green juice or smoothie. Most days I’ll have another long black but generally no other food till after yoga class. My food philosophy is to offer high-integrity wholefoods – food that tastes amazing but is also nutritious and makes you feel good. We make pretty much everything on site, apart from a few basics that aren’t practical in our space.
11am // The lunchtime rush begins now. Lunchtime is busy seven days a week, and our weekends are pumping all day! We have long-term yoga students and café patrons and while both groups of people do overlap, they also have their own uniqueness. Generally I believe we attract those who see Egg as a sanctuary where they can be nourished on many levels. When you begin a yoga practice you start to take more care of your body. This naturally leads into exploring what good food actually means and how it should feel – that’s where the café comes in.
12pm // I practice yoga then eat. We always only use organic milks, eggs, and meat, and by following strict wholefoods principles we ensure that all the animal products we use have been pasture-raised – helping to develop the land and ensure the food is nutrient dense. Overall I think it’s madness not to think sustainably! We’re at a pivotal moment in human history and we all either need to face the reality of the situation we’ve created. In the cafe we only use bio containers for our takeaway food, we encourage people to buy reusable cups and we have a cup bank so that customers can borrow a mug rather than use a disposable. We also run workshops to help build community knowledge around sustainability – we held a composting workshop and we co-hosted a workshop with Plastic Free Mermaid on how to go plastic-free.
2.30-3pm // We close the café for service, but open in the evenings for Uber Eats and yoga student orders, as classes go til 8.30pm. The Balmain & Rozelle area is so unique, and our space represents that. You see a little yellow shop-front, but walk through a little café and are suddenly outside in a courtyard garden. Head through another door and up the stairs and you find yourself in a beautiful yoga space where we hold all our classes and workshops. It’s such a different place and one that we’ve put a lot of love into. It feels like home!
4-8pm // Depending on workload, we leave anytime between these hours. We say bye and thank you to everyone, then most evenings both Bry and I chose to be home with our kids. We love having created a hub that the community can come and enjoy, and we love feeding people well, and teaching them good food is something that should be fun and tasty. Most of all, we love providing a nourishing and safe space – a place where people can gather for many different reasons.