VISIONARY #43: LEILA SADEGHEE

Meet Leila Sadeghee, energy healer and yoga teacher of Tantric and Asana practices. Having cut her teeth in the art work, Leila went on to studying Buddhism in India and spent numerous years learning about bodywork and ritual healing.

Leila runs retreats, rituals, classes and workshops around the world spreading her deep wisdom and innovative creativity, allowing people to connect to their true selves. Discover more about Leila’s empowering outlook in her interview here.

I seem to be living in a paradox where both everywhere and nowhere are home to me. Which is to say that, as my awakening has deepened, geography, which used to be utterly crucial to my sense of belonging and home, seems more and more irrelevant; here I am at home in my experience wherever I am. At the same time, my ‘personal self’ feels less connected to places that used to feel like home, and there’s a certain subtle alienation there. Perhaps I could say that at my own evolutionary edge, home is a moving target.

When did you first become interested in yoga and meditation?

I was 23 and living in Berlin. I was (desperately) trying to make it in the art world. One morning I woke from sleep with the awareness that the voice in my head wasn’t me. Which is to say, that I am not my thoughts. And I knew, even though I didn’t understand what it meant, that I needed to *wake up*. I went to meditation class to wake up and to calm my wild, self-attacking, demented, restless mind, but the meditation seemed to make the mental madness worse. My teacher suggested I attend the yoga class before the meditation. Which indeed helped. And so I started yoga in support of my meditation practice, and I started meditating to wake up.

How did you first build your business around these fields?

Completely accidentally and with no design or plan whatsoever. I mean, it wasn’t really a ‘thing’ to have a yoga and meditation business in those days. I ended up following some inner tide I couldn’t explain, and it took me to New York City. With no desire to do the work whatsoever – just listening to this ‘inner tide’ instruction – I apprenticed myself to a master healer/bodyworker there. And so, my winding path to sharing healing, yoga and meditation began….

A little note: I am aware that I own and operate a business, but in terms of the way I frame my life’s work – it feels much more like a teaching and healing ministry to me, and that is how I currently think of it.

What does your typical week look like?

It changes a lot seasonally, and with my travel and training course schedule. At least once a month I’m either out of the country or offering trainings. When I’m in London and not teaching my Immersion or Teacher Training:

Mondays and Tuesdays are big sadhana (daily spiritual practice) days because I don’t teach until afternoon/evening, and it sets the tone of my week up. I make my class playlists, and get stuck into admin and development. I gab on the phone with friends abroad.  

Other weekdays I still have sadhana but it’s often not as long and involved. Wednesdays, I have two classes in Soho, so I have meetings about developing projects and occasionally a lunch with a friend in town. Wednesday evenings there are Zoom calls with teacher trainees, or sometimes a class, sometimes laying around, the theatre, or a weekly energy healing with Daisy Nokes. And Jill Cartwright.

Thursdays I’m in Kensington and Chelsea with a client and a class, and I teach in Shoreditch in the evening. 

Fridays and Saturdays are technically unscheduled, but I’m often teaching workshops, writing, or catching up on admin on those days. I love the big sadhana on these days, and I also schedule in time with pals in there; and I’ve been trying to get out to Field Station, a permaculture project (and horse healing project) in Surrey, as often as I can. 

Sundays in the morning I like to go super slow before my afternoon triyoga Chelsea class. Sunday evenings it’s meant to be a standing movie/dinner date with chef Heather Umlah, my teaching partner in The Practices. We’ve slipped and I want to get that going again.

In between all of that, I do an awful lot of laying around with books and netflix, and being dreamy. Pyjamas are big for me, as is the feeling tone (unstructured and loose) that pyjamas support. I try and get extra time in bed in the morning at least once a week.

What are your favourite Winter rituals?

Winter (and all seasons!) is about the High rituals for me. I celebrate all of the High holidays of the pagan calendar – and Imbolc is February first, signifying the last stretch of the winter, the final turn toward Equinox, when the day and night are finally back in parity. I love Imbolc, it’s really one of my favourite holidays of the year… it’s a real invocation of keeping the flame alive in the cold and dark, of receiving all the support that is here for us, even as we experience darkness and confusion. This late winter return to the light is an amazing time for ‘calling in’ rituals, and re-affirming connection to source. I have also begun hosting new moon circles at my home, and I do love the dark richness of winter nights for circle rituals, invocations and intention settings… gathering with people who want to celebrate the sacred – nothing is higher.

On the daily ritual tip, it’s all about the hot shower, baths, and chanting mantras while I apply oil to my entire body, long strokes on the long bones and circles at the joints – this herbal body oiling is an ayurvedic practice that really supports my body as it grows cooler. And baths – a refined program of mantras and salts and oils, applied prescriptively for balance and attunement. Sensitivity is so high in winter.

What does the concept of self care mean to you?

For me, self-care is about putting Spirit at the centre of everything I do. 

What are your favourite skincare and hair care regimes?

I’m very low-fidelity when it comes to the beauty gambit. Everything I use is raw and free from chemicals, I make a point of it. Skin: I use Skin and Tonic Calm Clean, a UK all-natural product, small batch cleanser. Pratima Nourishing essential oil with a few drops of her Liposomes is what I put on my face, and it is heaven and (super-potent anti-aging, I must say).  On my body, it’s got to be raw Shea Butter – I run soooo dry. Sometimes I add another layer of beautiful oil, at the moment it’s Urban Ritual Palo Santo and Copal Body Oil. 

As well as yoga and meditation, do you work with any other holistic practices for your health and wellbeing?

Like, a zillion. Here’s a short list:

Invocation of ancestors, archangels, teachers, and masters

Smudging (with locally grown or sustainably sourced smudge stick)

Prayers in the form of direct speaking to Goddess/Ancestors/Spirit/Self

Mantra and Sacred Song

Mudra

Awareness practices

My daily adaptogenic potion (made fresh every day)

Sacred Nourishment (prayerful cooking for myself)

Jumping for Joy, sometimes while singing.

Regular joking and LAUGHS, people

I make out with a particular local tree. 

I work with three highly skilled energy healers and see one at least once weekly.

Being in Community

Dancing

Snuggling (always trying to get more of this one)

Blessing my Food

Maintaining my Altar

Giving Thanks (to everything in a myriad ways)

Resting

Letting Go of Control

Spiritual Pilgrimage (oh this is SUCH a good one)

What is keeping your creative fires alight at the moment?

I am ON FIRE. All of my offerings: my circles, and my yoga teacher training, and my Freedom and Wellbeing Immersion course, Temple of Nourishment, and now my Sacred Self Care Infusion – these still light me up. I am planning a non-hierarchical sisterhood mentoring retreat called Becoming a Vessel for the Solstice and I’m BEYOND EXCITED. Plus, I am channelling new ideas and visions at a crazy pace. I was up before 5 am this morning, like spirit woke me up to make notes about offerings I am planning for the future…

And, now more than ever, super-charged, activated prayer gets me going. I want to teach people how to really pray – and I’m plotting workshops and events around helping people find their prayer – it’s just wildly empowering, an incredibly potent way to speak truth. How important is that in a time where it’s so easy to feel disempowered? Very beautiful.

What does society need more of to live more consciously?

Um, a lot, huh? Hard times here, among the people of the Earth.

A start: Community. Encouragement to engage in meaningful and fearless self-reflection and widely held spaces for undergoing fearless and searching moral inventory. Community to hold individuals both accountable AND intrinsically whole as they engage in soulful, re-connective healing. Trauma therapy as mandatory for all leaders of society (politicians, etc.) and available freely to all everywhere.

You can find out more about Leila’s work and classes via her website here, and visit The Practices of Freedom and wellbeing here.