Restaurants

A combined yoga studio and cafe will open in Harvard Square

The Life Alive + Down Under "wellness collaborative" opens March 1, with a second location in the works.

Life Alive and Down Under Yoga Studio.
Life Alive and Down Under Yoga Studio. Photos by Morgan Ione Yeager (left) and Kate Weiser (right)

Two local wellness-centric businesses are partnering up.

Life Alive and Down Under School of Yoga are opening a new joint concept together in Harvard Square under the name Life Alive + Down Under. Doors are due to open March 1, according Life Alive CEO Bryan Timko.

“We’re calling it a wellness collaborative,” Timko said. “It’s rooted in the fact that what you eat and how you move influence how you feel. Here, you can get it all in one place.”

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The Harvard Square combo business takes over two floors at 22 John F. Kennedy St., with Life Alive contributing 100 seats spread through a cafe, lounge, and beverage bar, all set around an open kitchen; and Down Under adding two yoga and meditation studios, an Ayurvedic consultation and massage room, changing rooms, and showers. 

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“This is a powerful connection,” said Justine Wiltshire Cohen, Down Under School of Yoga’s founder and director. “There’s the vibrancy of nourishment and the world of meditation and fitness, both at your feet.”

The union also promises a second location in the South End at the corner of Tremont and Berkley Streets, due to open in May. 

“Each will be very local, very neighborhood-focused,” Timko said. “The plan is to always create an environment that lifts you up and makes you feel calm at the same time.”

“It’s an urban oasis concept,” Cohen summed up.

One benefit for yogis: Down Under School of Yoga members who purchase a Yogi Pass receive a 20% discount at all Life Alive locations.

“The two feed each other naturally,” Cohen said.

“Plant-forward” is a term Life Alive uses to describe its dishes, which do include eggs and dairy. Meats, fish, or “fake meats” aren’t on the menu.

“Our food is based in fresh, natural vegetables. Our focus is on positive eating,” Timko said.

Both businesses were founded in 2004 when the first Life Alive opened in Lowell, and the first Down Under moved from a church in Newton Highlands, and into a Newton studio.

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Harvard Square marks Down Under’s fourth location (following Newton, Brookline, and Porter Square) and Life Alive’s sixth (following Lowell, Salem, Brookline, Back Bay, and Central Square).

Might there be more Life Alive + Down Under locations in the future?

“Not yet,” Cohen said. “Our philosophy is the opposite of calculated expansion; we prefer intelligent expansion. We will see where these two studios lead us.”

Life Alive + Down Under Harvard Square, 22 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge. Open daily: yoga classes from 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; cafe from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

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