The picture of a yoga practitioner today is often in stark contrast to that of someone who once battled drug addiction. Social media feeds are filled with pictures of fit bodies doing seemingly difficult postures amid beautiful scenery. It’s easy to make assumptions about a person’s life and background from such photos. Taylor Hunt, local Authorized Level 2 Ashtanga yoga teacher, business owner (www.ashtangayogacolumbus.com), and author, is breaking down those boundaries and redefining perceptions about yoga’s ability to change people’s lives. Hunt’s recently published book, A Way From Darkness (www.awayfromdarkness.com), chronicles his decline into the depths of drug addiction and offers an inspiring story of redemption as yoga helps him turn his life around. It’s a shockingly brave and honest account that leaves the reader feeling empowered to conquer personal struggles, whether they involve addiction or other difficulties.

Hunt, along with other members of the yoga community in Columbus, recently started a 501c3 non-profit organization called the Trini Foundation (www.trinifoundation.org) to help other addicts. The foundation’s mission is to support the recovery process through the transformative practice of Ashtanga yoga. Hunt explains his decision to establish the Trini Foundation:

As I learned more about yoga, I discovered that the principles of recovery and the principles of Ashtanga yoga are highly complementary to each other. Combined, they provide an effective tool for self-transformation. Because my life has been profoundly affected by yoga, I want to share the practice with as many people as possible. I am no longer ashamed of my story. The more I talk with others about it, the more I realize that we have all struggled with something. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone.

In addition to yoga classes, the Trini Foundation partners with wellness professionals to provide the resources necessary for those struggling with addiction to successfully navigate the road to recovery.

Over 23 million Americans struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Yet, only 10 percent are getting the help they need because of social stigma surrounding the disease, as well as a lack of resources. Hundreds die each day as a result. Ohio has been hit particularly hard by the drug epidemic.

Since the Trini Foundation was established earlier this year, there has been an overwhelming response to the organization’s programs. Yoga classes are being established at local treatment centers and recovery programs to share a message of hope.  Several scholarships have already been awarded to students who are interested in furthering their yoga studies to support their recovery. All Trini Foundation’s programs are supported by contributions from the public.  To donate and learn more about opportunities to get involved, please visit www.trinifoundation.org or email info@trinifoundation.org.