Humans of Barefoot #1: Matthew

Humans of Barefoot showcases the wonderful stories behind our members, and what yoga has done for them. Our first Human, Matthew Caseby, talks about university life, football, and dealing with exam pressures.

How did you get into yoga?

“I have maintained a thorough stretching and mobility regime since my adolescence in order to keep myself supple and injury free while playing football. It was a subject of banter across my footballing career – I was labelled the ‘warm-up king’ back at school!

However, I only began taking an interest in yoga specifically during my second year of university. Once the football season was over, I joined the yoga society at the University of Birmingham and started sessions at Barefoot a few months later.”

What were your first impressions?

“I enjoyed the yoga sessions from the start, but my first few sessions of yoga weren’t easy. My hamstrings were often painfully tight and I struggled with some of the postures. There was a lot of face-scrunching and groaning!

Nevertheless, the instructors kept emphasising that yoga is your practice and that it we don’t need to worry about our ability level. Session-by-session I was becoming more supple and my body was gradually adjusting to the postures.”

And has yoga helped you manage your sporting and academic life?

“Absolutely. It has continually improved my flexibility, balance and coordination for football and my exploits in the gym, strengthened my willpower and ability to focus. Crucially, it has enabled me to remain centred during a demanding final year of university.

During my finals, on the second evening of my ‘take-home’ exam (a brutal 72 hours of essay writing), I felt especially anxious. I knew the best thing I could do that evening was to do some yoga. With virtually no energy left, I called a taxi to drive me straight to Barefoot yoga studio. There I could just surrender to the instructions of the yoga teacher and sweat it all out on the mat. I came out feeling revitalised, slept like a baby that night and smashed the last day of the exam!”

Was there a moment where you knew that yoga was for you? Where everything ‘clicked’?

“That moment comes after every session. After an hour of deep breathing, stretching, letting go and sweating it out on the mat, I often experience a truly joyful feeling of just being. Sometimes I wish I could just stay in resting pose forever…”




Keep your eyes peeled for Humans of Barefoot #2 next week! Thanks to Matthew for helping out – why not check out his Instagram while you’re here?

And if you would like to be a part of the project, just let us know at front desk! We love our members and their stories.

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