Caleb Jude Packham is an internationally renowned yoga teacher and co-founder of Wellness Warrior, a yoga and lifestyle brand that delivers physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. As a former MTV VJ, Caleb is no stranger to life in the fast lane and through his own exploration into spirituality, he discovered Sattva Yoga, which brings together ancient yogic teachings, contemporary science and mind-body research.
Over to Caleb Packham…
It was the year 2004. I was happily successful with my career in the entertainment industry. Living by Bondi Beach, Sydney, I was the host of a prime time TV show after 5 years as a VJ for MTV Australia. And yet, I wanted more.
A year later, my show was cancelled. So I took the opportunity to move to the UK to pursue a TV career here. But the Universe had other plans…
A few weeks after arriving in London, I ended up at an ayahuasca ceremony. If you’re unfamiliar with ayahuasca, it’s an Amazonian plant medicine that is used by the indigenous as a tool to facilitate healing, personal growth and to expand consciousness.
The experience was quite literally life-changing as I had tapped into my dormant spirituality – something which was furthest from where I was at. Through this process of self-discovery and enquiry, I began to acknowledge unresolved trauma from my past that I had not dealt with before.
The beginnings of trauma
I began my life with the traumatic experience of being relinquished at birth. I was given up for adoption straight away, and it was six weeks before a family found me. My adoptive parents are incredible, and I had a wonderful upbringing. However, that single event that occurred at my birth caused a primal wounding that I’d never really dealt with… until ayahuasca sent me on the path of healing.
Being a naturally disciplined person, I committed to my self-development. I read self-help books, went to seminars, got therapy, started practising yoga and mindfulness… and over time, I began to experience true happiness through living life authentically.
Eat pray love
In 2015, I decided to go “eat, pray, love” myself. I headed to an Ashram in Rishikesh, where I studied to become a teacher of Sattva Yoga, a fusion of asana (postures), pranayama (breath-work), meditation and kriyas (the yoga of electricity). Through exploring this dynamic, physical practice, I experienced profound psychological shifts that enabled me to finally break through the wounding from childhood.
During my time in India, I realised there are so many misconceptions around yoga – that you have to be flexible, that it’s a religion, that it’s a women’s only practice. When in fact, yoga helps you become flexible, you don’t have to be religious to do it, and it’s been men who have predominantly practised it over the past 5000 years.
I returned to London on a mission to make yoga more accessible to people who wouldn’t normally set foot in a yoga studio. So, I started teaching Sattva Yoga in a local pub.
There’s something exceptional about practising yoga in non-conventional spaces.
And that’s continued to be my format, to create authentic yoga experiences, often with live music, in unusual venues, such as Ministry of Sound and The View from The Shard.
Making a difference
And what’s really interesting is the number of men participating in these classes. In fact, in many of my classes, I’ve flipped the usual female to male ratio, with men outnumbering the women.
Recognising the growing trend of more men doing yoga, I teamed up with a long time friend, and we founded Wellness Warrior, a men’s lifestyle and yoga brand with a mission to inspire more men onto the mat.
In 2019, we launched 50 Men 50 Mats, bringing together 50 yoga newbies for their very first yoga class ever.
It was an extraordinary thing to witness all these men together, in support of each other. A TV show based on this concept is now in the pipeline, along with a book to be released in April 2022 through Bloomsbury Publishing.
15 years ago, I was living in a different kind of fast lane. These days I’ve still got my foot on the pedal, but my direction is aimed at a higher purpose, to help others access their fullest potential through the power of yoga.