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The following interview with Caleb includes an excerpt of the book, The Power of Yoga for Men.
Through their own personal traumas of losing a parent at a young age and being put up for adoption at only 5 weeks old, yoga has been a life-long teacher and healer for Londoners Caleb Jude Packham and Jarod Chapman. Over the last 5 years, their personal mission has been to share the power of yoga with men across the world, and there’s no stopping them! Together, Caleb and Jarod they created a platform for sharing the ancient practice and philosophy of yoga for the modern day man. And so, Wellness Warrior was born.
Their new book The Power of Yoga for Men is a simple guide to building strength, mental clarity and emotional fitness. From breath practices, 40+ asanas and poses, meditations, and timed sequences, the book breaks everything down into simple terms, along with clear definitions and instructions.
From Rob the Royal Marine in recovery, to Nate hitting burn out after working 4 jobs, and Max surviving a serious brain injury, these inspiring first-person stories from men in the book demonstrate the various ways that yoga has helped to transform their lives, helping them to cope with stress, depression and anxiety.
We sat down with the Wellness Warrior to talk about the new book.
Wanderlust: So, how did you and Jarod meet?
Caleb Jude Packham: We met about 15 years ago as we both ran a private personal training studio in West London. We founded Wellness Warrior in 2018 recognising the rising men’s mental health crisis. Our platform was created for men to access yoga as a complimentary healing tool.
WL: What inspired you and Jarod to write your new book, The Power of Yoga for Men?
CJP: There are a lot of misconceptions about what yoga is to most men: the idea that yoga is just for women, it’s not a proper workout, it takes up too much time, all yoga is the same. We wanted to debunk these myths and write a book that speaks to men in an easy and relatable way—man to man—inspiring them to the mat to experience the power of yoga.
WL: What’s the most important thing someone can learn from your new book?
CJP: When practiced daily and consistently, yoga is truly life-changing. That’s because yoga isn’t just a physical practice. Unlike other physical activities, such as sports and gym, yoga also enhances mental and emotional fitness.
WL: How did you find the true life stories of different men in the book, and which story stood out to you the most?
CJP: Over the years, Jarod and I have had the privilege of meeting all sorts of guys from every walk of life, each with their own unique story of how yoga found them and changed their lives. Whilst each man’s story in our book is equally as important and inspiring, Rob’s story stands out. As an ex-serviceman, he has made it his personal mission to ensure men returning home from conflict can access yoga and heal through the practices.
WL: Why do you think men are currently facing a mental health crisis?
CJP: I think a lot of men struggle with upholding the traditional masculine ideals of being strong, capable and emotionally solid. But a lot of men are suffering in silence. Men don’t typically express their emotional truth and this internalization can lead to a man being in crisis. This has been magnified over the past few years due to the pandemic.
Here’s why men need this practice in their life:
- Yoga helps you kiss insomnia goodnight. As anyone who has suffered it will know, it leaves you feeling moody, foggy-headed and exhausted. Regular yoga practice, including breath-work and meditation, will help you develop the ability to quieten the internal chatter of your mind and relax your body too.
- Yoga helps you get it up. One in five men suffer from Erectile Dysfunction. A lot of ED causes are physiological, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Getting on the mat everyday can help pull you out of these negative thought patterns. The combination of a relaxed mind and healthy circulation restores sexual vitality and confidence.
- Yoga helps you walk the black dog. Let’s put paid to the commonplace notion that men don’t suffer with mental health problems as every bit as much as women do. We also make up three quarters of suicidal deaths that take place every year. The focussed and controlled movements of the practice strengthen your mind-body connection, while meditative element brings you into the present moment, which helps clear your mind.
- Yoga helps you heal from burnout. Work, family, responsibilities, commitments can slowly erode you to the edge of exhaustion. Sometimes you may not even realise you’re burned out until the stress takes its toll physically, mentally and emotionally, leaving you feel empty and depleted. Taking time out for yoga helps relive the impact of long-term exhaustion by educing cortisol (stress hormone), boosting immunity, increasing circulation and restoring energy.
- Yoga helps boost confidence. up to certain supposedly masculine standards, often makes us guys feel insecure. As men, we are expected to independent, powerful, the leader of the team. Yoga teaches authentic confidence that starts within and radiates out. It gives you the strength, clarity of mind, which enables you to have a healthy sense of yourself.
There’s a shift happening. More and more men are stepping on to the yoga mat, accessing its power in body, mind and spirit. They’re becoming stronger, more flexible, mentally clear and emotionally attuned. “Yoga is the perfect tool to align body with mind, something we all need in this mad and busy world of ours”, says Jarod Chapman.
This excerpt was taken from The Power of Yoga for Men by Caleb Jude Packham and Jarod Chapman (Bloomsbury).
Caleb Jude Packham is an Australian MTV presenter turned internationally renowned yoga teacher and co-founder of Wellness Warrior. He’s committed to making yoga accessible to all—particularly men.
Jarod Chapman is a health and wellbeing expert, yoga teacher and former personal wellness coach to Tina Turner. He is co-founder of Wellness Warrior and alongside Caleb Jude Packham is on a mission to inspire more men onto the yoga mat.