This week Vitness chatted to London’s hottest yoga teacher Caleb Jude Packham. Australian native and ex-MTV presenter, Caleb turned to Sattva Yoga, a practice that seeks to invite and maintain balance of the self, mind and body.
Tell us what started your yoga journey?
A bad case of plantar fasciitis first led me to the yoga mat four years ago. It's a chronic condition often triggered by tightness in the hamstrings and calves which causes inflammation on the sole of the foot. It's awfully painful to walk and I was trying everything and anything to heal it. With yoga next on the list, I hobbled in to Triyoga in Soho to take my first class. I didn't know the class schedule, I just took the first class available. I think it was all meant to be because the teacher turned out to be Leila Sadeghee, who is incredible, both in terms of technique and also from the soul aspect. At the top of the class she shared some yogic wisdom which was so profoundly relevant to me, in terms of a difficult situation I was facing in my personal life at the time. In that moment, I knew that yoga was to become a whole lot more than rehab for my foot.
We’d love to know more about Sattva Yoga…
The thing that I love about Sattva (pronounced Satt*wa) is that it's not just a physical practice but a union of many different yogic paths. We incorporate asana with pranayama, kriya, meditation, mantra and free movement to create a transcendental experience that we call a Sattva Yoga Journey. Typically a Sattva Journey runs for between ninety minutes to two hours. I always begin with a theme, then invite the journey to emerge, opening a pathway for energetic shifts to occur in the mind, body and spirit.
Music plays a big part in Sattva. I often bring in live musicians to support the practice with healing instruments such as harmonic gongs, singing bowls, the didgeridoo and shamanic drumming.
Some people go to yoga for the stretch, for the workout, but Sattva is so much more than that. If you've looking for a deeply spiritual practice, something that can truly help you achieve your fullest potential, Sattva could be for you.
London is a fantastically busy, noisy and hectic city… how do you find balance living here?
I love the buzz of a big city. And London especially has such a dynamic energy that makes me feel alive. That said, there’s a tendency to get caught up in the busyness of city life. Always doing this and doing that - always available, connect through our devices. Before you know it, you’ve unhinged and disconnected from the ground of “being”. So it’s important to find ways to come back to your centre. Yoga is enormously helpful for that. But it does take a level of commitment to keep up the daily practice. Definitely worthwhile though! I also try to get out into nature as much as possible. I’m blessed to have a communal garden at my home and I do make the most of it. My other tip is to breathe. Practice wherever possible to simply come back to the breath to find stillness and to connect to the present moment. On the tube, in the supermarket queue, in the midst of a challenging situation at work. Returning frequently to the breath is the path to experiencing peace and balance.
Do you have a favourite place in the city for feeling calm and centred?
Right in the heart of Covent Garden is a little sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle called Inner Space. It’s run by The Brahma Kumari's, an international organisation working at all levels of society for positive change. They call it “London’s oasis of calm and insight”. The ground floor is a bookshop and downstairs is a meditation centre which you can visit any time. Whenever I’m in the area I make a point of popping in to get me some zen time. Even ten minutes in that meditation room does the trick!
What’s your favourite place in the city to grab lunch when out and about?
Salad Pride, a vegan café in Neil’s Yard. I’m not vegan but the food here is amazing. Creative, colourful, balanced, healthy and tasty. They also do soups, smoothies, cakes and more. Check out their Instagram. It’s like food porn.
What would your typical daily intake look like?
Well, there won’t be any time left for the rest of the interview if I tell you. I eat A LOT. I’m blessed with a fast metabolism but I put that down to the amount of exercise I do.
I start the day off with a big glass of hot water and lemon. I don’t drink coffee so this is my wake up drink. Half an hour later it’s scrambled eggs seasoned with fresh herbs from my garden. Then I have a big bowl of porridge with coconut milk, flax seed, chi seeds, nut butter, berries and honey. I have a sweet tooth so mid morning I’m usually munching away of a healthy(ish) muffin from Brownie Box – a family run café in Earls Court. I’m literally addicted. Lunch is usually fish, salad and brown or red rice. Mid afternoon a big smoothie with Sun Warrior Protein power, banana, berries,
Dinner is more fish and vegies. Or pasta. I love cooking and Italian cuisine is my specialty. Generally I keep my diet clean, fresh and lean.
If you have only 30 minutes to do something for yourself, what do you do?
Nap! I think everyone should take more naps! For me, it’s the most nurturing thing I can do for myself – to give myself permission to take 30 minutes out of my busy schedule, hop into bed and snooze.
What advice/wisdom would you go back and tell your younger self?
Everything you’re looking for is already with you. You are already everything you’re seeking. The love you seek, the security you seek, the freedom you seek, the answers you seek, the peace you seek. It’s all inside you. Everything you want is already your’s.
Where can we take class with you?
I’m teaching at Not Just Yoga, a lifestyle and wellness space residing in the clean-eating, Californian style restaurant Pamona's in Notting Hill.
For something different, check out my Pub Yoga classes at The Bolton in Earl’s Court.
If you’re in the east, you can find me at EC1 Yoga, a converted loft space close to Old Street.
And you can also catch me at Embody Wellness in Vauxhall, London for my monthly Sattva Workshop - a 2 hour journey with live music and gong bath.
Caleb is available for one-to-one teaching and private classes at his studio or your home. All the details for Caleb's classes are on his website www.yogicaleb.com and you can follow Caleb on Instagram @calebjudepackhamyoga