If yoga, meditation, naturopathy and plant-based organic food is your thing, then you are going to love the new urban wellness center that has just opened on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
Urban Shaman seeks to nourish body and soul, offering organic plant-based food on its ground floor “jungle” and a 170 sq. m. wellness and healing sanctuary with an infrared sauna, treatment rooms, naturopathic consultations, and a yoga and meditation space in its “teepee” basement.
As indicated by the name and design of this joint, shamanism is at its heart.
Ever since 34 year old Urban Shaman co-founder Udi Sahar was a child, he was fascinated by indigenous peoples, choosing them as the subject of many of the projects he was required to do during his early school years. He later went on to travel the world, visiting South and Central America, India and elsewhere, extensively studying the healing modalities of ancient and modern cultures.
Sahar began his relationship with natural medicine as a child who suffered from chronic illness. An aesthetician’s suggestion that he cut dairy and sugar out of his diet to treat his acne was a key to his path to overall recovery and he has since embraced healthy eating and lifestyle.
In recent years he has been working as a naturopath, clinical herbalist, and yoga and mindfulness teacher. Three and a half years ago he started providing a door-to-door service of organic cold-pressed juices, providing packages for juice cleanses and guidance for people as a naturopath. His vision was to bring all those elements together in one space.
“Especially in a city where we live in so much stress and pollution, I think it’s important,” he said.
“Today I’m cured, I saw the light and I want to share it with everyone,” he told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday, in the first days of Urban Shaman’s soft opening.
Glancing down at the pink watermelon-based juice I had taken from the fridge, Sahar inquired whether I had had anything to eat or drink yet that morning. When I responded in the negative, Sahar advised that a green juice is the healthiest way to start one’s day, handing me a bottle of “Deep Green” juice instead made of mangold (Swiss chard), parsley, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger – which proved to be a tasty mix. He also ordered delicious mushroom tacos to the table, made of corn tortillas filled with black bean spread, guacamole, mushrooms, spinach and leek.
Sahar’s broad naturopathic knowledge is the basis of the food prepared by Chef Ofir Avidor at Urban Shaman. The menu comprises organic plantbased food, cold pressed juices, raw desserts, nice cream – a healthier, fruit-based non-dairy version of ice cream – smoothies and smoothie bowls served in coconut halves. The coffee shop also offers custom made organic Detox Kits for weightloss meal plans, juice cleanses or postnatal nutrition.
The co-founder of the Urban Shaman is German native Naomi Bubis, a former journalist and current blogger. After living and working through the first and second intifadas, Bubis felt that journalism had become too tough on her soul. So in addition to blogging about Tel Aviv, she decided to pursue her interest in nutrition, completing studies in integrative medicine.
She met Sahar when she interviewed him for her blog column on inspiring people. The two instantly became friends and Sahar shared his vision with her. Last year they founded a pop-up food stand on Tel Aviv’s Ahad Ha’am Street to test the waters with a mini version of what is now Urban Shaman.
“We saw the audience was ready,” Sahar said and thus they decided to create a permanent establishment. “Our vision in mind, body and spirit,” Bubis noted. While the duo seeks to provide a jungle vibe with the upstairs eatery, the basement space is designed to create a desert atmosphere.
The team members of the “jungle” are all connected to the world of healing nutrition. The kitchen serves 100% organic, gluten- and sugar-free plantbased food. “We believe food is medicine, so if it has chemicals on top of it, it’s not medicine anymore,” Sahar explained.
“Plant-based is mostly about the ecosystem. Caring about the earth, how we nourish ourselves and how we cultivate the land is how we give back,” he remarked.
The Teepee was not yet ready on Wednesday, but opened on Friday for the launch party. The Teepee offers Tibetan sound-healing sessions, Jivamukti Yoga, mindfulness classes for adults and children, and early morning drop-in meditation sessions. The Teepee also offers in-house naturopathic consultants, an osteopath and a Reiki Master.
In the heart of Tel Aviv on bustling Dizengoff Street, Sahar and Bubis hope to provide their customers with a wellness oasis and an escape from the city.