By Christie Bosworth
I sat down and chatted with Barefoot Yoga founder Crawf Weir, and his faithful companion Murphy, to find out how it all started. This is what we spoke about, in a beautiful little green park just around the corner from the studio.
Hi, my names Crawf, from Barefoot Yoga, and this is Murph. It’s nice to be here this morning.
So Crawf, how did your yoga journey start?
My yoga journey started because I had a chronic bad back, and I thought I’d give yoga a try. And it helped a lot, I felt really good afterwards and I was hooked. So I started practicing every day. That was about ten years ago now. It took a while, but after a couple of years, I cured my back pain. So then I was thinking then about becoming a teacher.
How did you hurt your back?
It was running. Running up big hills in England, with heavy backpacks. Not the best (laughs).
So you did a teacher training after a while practicing?
Yeah, I got into Bikram yoga first and did my teacher training in Mexico, and it was a great experience. When I came back, I started to teach. I wasn’t actually ever expecting to be a yoga teacher. But here I am.
So it was the injury that drew you to yoga initially, what keeps you practicing now? Has it changed?
It’s changed a lot. Now I realise that the physical practice is really just maintenance for your body and the deeper practice is emotionally, and mentally, that’s what keeps me practicing now. Yoga keeps me fit and healthy, sane, and happy.
So it’s more for the mental side now?
It’s… it’s everything. It’s physically, emotionally, mentally. I think if you take yoga just as the physical practice, you’re missing the bigger benefits, actually.
So what do you think of a yoga practice being then, holistically?
Well, in the beginning, it was very physical and challenging, and I did yoga for fitness reasons. But now, it’s more about mindfulness, breath and meditation. Sure, it’s physical, but the emphasis is on mindfulness.
So what’s your favourite thing about yoga? Yoga, I mean, in it’s whole sense.
That…it gives people a chance to do something for themselves. You can go to specialists, for help with physical and mental problems, but really the answer is in your own hands. I think yoga gives people the tools to work things out for themselves.
In terms of developing their own home practice?
Whether you go to a class, or whether you have a home practice, as long as you get on your mat every day. I think it’s all good. It doesn’t matter where you do it.As long as you do it every day. I think it’s important it’s a daily thing. Like putting your clothes on and brushing your teeth. Yoga’s a daily practice.
What do you find most challenging?
Going into the deeper levels of yoga, what yoga teaches you about yourself and learning to be with what is, without trying to change it.
What I find the most challenging about the yoga practice, is that it highlights where you have suffering, where you struggle in life, and you come face-to-face with that. I think the challenge is not to try and fix that, but be with that, and work through it rather than try too hard. I have a tendency to try too hard, and learning not to try too hard is challenging for me (laughs).
So do you think that’s what yoga is then, ‘being what is’? What about the whole ‘push to be some greater person’?
Yoga is two things. Never giving up and always letting go. So, it’s a case of trying to be the best that you can be, but at the same time, letting go of who you’re not. All the things that you were told as a kid, and conditioned to believe through life and work, relationships, we have to wear so many different hats and social masks to deal with different situations, we forget who we are. And, I think letting go of the social masks and being who you are, is what its all about.
But can also be the pretty challenging.
It can also be really difficult. It’s not an easy path, for sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
What’s your favourite asana, and why?
Saddle pose. As someone that suffers from back pain, if I only do one posture a day, it’s that. I think it’s the best. It’s strong. It gets into all the right places, I think it’s the king posture for me.
What would you tell people thinking about coming to a yoga class? Complete beginners?
I think the first thing is not being flexible enough to do yoga is a myth. People who have stiff, tight bodies need yoga more than flexible bodies, probably, if we’re talking about asana. To not worry about what other people think, because it doesn’t matter. It’s about you. And to take it easy in the beginning. It’s a long journey, and you don’t have to rush. Take your time. Just to do it. The hardest thing is getting to class. Once you’re there its not so bad. The hardest thing is getting there.
Crawf can be seen around the studio most days, and is always up for a chat. Murph can also usually be found hanging out the back, and is always up for a pat.
For classes with Crawf, check out the timetable.
For private lessons, or just for a chat, call 0404 693 993, or email firstname.lastname@example.org