Trini Foundation Looks to Save Lives Through Yoga
A lot of people talk about yoga being life-changing, in Taylor Hunt’s case, yoga was life saving. Hunt, voted one of the best yoga teachers in Columbus in 2013, survived drug and alcohol addiction with the help of yoga. Now he and other members of the yoga community in Columbus have started the Trini Foundation to help other addicts and their families.
Hunt, with the help of local writer and yoga teacher, Dawn Blevins, detailed his near-death and other experiences as an addict and how a yoga practice turned his life around in a book published this year, A Way from Darkness.
“It is my journey,” says Hunt. “Everyone has some kind of struggle — in their life or with a family member. I’m talking about it because so few people are, and it’s so important to deal with it.”
After a series of rehab experiences and relapses, Hunt found himself almost pushed into a yoga class. It was an Ashtanga yoga class taught by Joanie Delph, a very nourishing local teacher.
“It was the last place I ever thought I would go,” he says. “I thought yoga was just for women.”
With a body weakened by years of abuse, his first Ashtanga yoga class was a lot of unexpected hard work.
“I had my ass handed to me,” he says.
After his second yoga class with Delph, he saw colors after years of living “in black and white” after years of living with dulled senses from drug and alcohol use. Yoga “made me feel real and alive in a way that I had never experienced before.”
Hunt began to seriously practice and study yoga leading to multiple trips to India and opening Ashtanga Yoga Columbus (AYC) in January 2015.
“It’s been beautiful to watch the community at AYC grow over the past year,” says Hunt, “and we have a lot of exciting things planned in the future.”
He has arranged for internationally famous yoga teachers such as Dave Robson and Krista Shirley to visit Columbus over the next 12 months, and their workshops will be especially nice because they will be limited in size and include include Mysore (individualized instruction) sessions. This year, AYC students Dawn Blevins and Jessica Hunt received authorizations to teach Ashtanga from the famous KPJAYI in Mysore, India.
“I was so surprised,” said Jessica, “I was just happy to be practicing after having a baby. I never thought I was going to get authorized.”
Taylor, Jessica, and Dawn are the only authorized teachers from KPJAYI in central Ohio.
Taylor and Jessica met in recovery and were blessed with two children. Beginning a family sharpened Taylor’s desire to help other families dealing with addiction. As Taylor was finishing his book in India, the idea of a foundation took root, and after lots of planning and 501c3 paperwork, the Trini Foundation was formed.
“Jess and I have decided to establish a foundation dedicated to sharing Ashtanga yoga with people who are struggling with addiction and with individuals in other underserved communities,” says Hunt. “We understand that not everyone has the resources to practice at AYC, so we want to extend the reach of our teaching to include a more diverse population. Our experiences have taught us that change is always possible and that yoga is a healing practice. We want to share a message of hope with as many people as possible. It’s part of our ongoing twelfth step work.”
“Trini is the number 3 in Sanskrit,” he says. “Asana, which refers the physical postures, is the third of eight limbs in Ashtanga yoga. We begin with asana as a technique to quiet our active minds.
Fundraising started when the Hunts returned from India earlier this year. A portion of the proceeds from the book sales and a regular yoga donation class go to the Trini Foundation. Other fundraisers/social events are being planned.
The Trini Foundation will help those struggling with addiction use Ashtanga yoga to assist in their recovery. The physical and mental benefits of a yoga practice are well known and may be particularly helpful to those battling depression and drug addiction. Aside from his own expertise in teaching Ashtanga yoga and working the steps of recovery, members of the Ashtanga yoga community will offer their expertise in nutrition, counseling, and wellness among other services.
Local author and education expert, Dawn Blevins is also working for the foundation. Developing life skills will be part of the help offered by Trini as well as the mental and physical benefits of yoga.
“Maintaining sobriety for a long period of time is an incredibly challenging thing to do,” says Hunt. “It requires continuous work and surrender.”
He and others involved in the Trini Foundation are excited to help and be of service to others.
Updated on April 19, 2016 at 10:10pm.