Man Founds Non-Profit Yoga Recovery Group

By Maggie Ethridge 01/25/19

"I knew that financially a lot of people in recovery couldn’t afford yoga, and I felt that was unacceptable. So I started the foundation..."

Man leading yoga recovery group

There are many roads to recovery, and for Taylor Hunt, yoga has been a profound piece of his path. Yoga was so instrumental for Hunt that he founded the Trini Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Ashtanga yoga to the lives of those working for addiction recovery.

Hunt spent 10 years addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was in rehab four times, and in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Hunt says, “I was emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially bankrupt. Physically, I was maybe 130 pounds, and I’m 6 foot 3. I wasn’t eating. Spiritually, I was no longer connected to anyone, and I felt like I’d left God. Everyone gave up on me. I was clinically depressed and struggled with anxiety. I had switched from alcohol and pills, and I was using black tar heroin, literally putting needles in my arms.”

He is now 37 years old and 12 years sober, and the founder and a teacher with the Trini Foundation. This organization has given 100 people in recovery scholarships for yoga classes around the country.

In The Columbus Dispatch, Hunt outlined the history behind the Trini Foundation. Hunt had been clean and working in a 12-step program with a sponsor for six months when a woman in a meeting approached him and offered to teach him yoga. He declined, and she persisted in offering, until Hunt’s sponsor said it seemed like Hunt was going to do yoga after all.

Hunt found that yoga affected a deep change in his experience of life. After his first class, he recalled, “I remember having this feeling like I was just a human trying to do the best that I could, and I felt like I had some value as a person. And that was the first time I’d felt like that. And from that day I never stopped doing it. It has given me clarity. I get a clear picture of who I am, in the present moment.”

Hunt said, “I became an Ashtanga yoga teacher 10 years ago. I wanted to make sure other people could do the 12 steps and take yoga, do them together, because it can give you a completely different equation. I began believing that I didn’t have to live in this pattern of addiction and relapse that a lot of people in the 12-step program struggle with.

But I knew that financially a lot of people in recovery couldn’t afford yoga, and I felt that was unacceptable. So I started the foundation in 2016 because I wanted to be able to give the addict who might not ever have an opportunity to go to yoga a good excuse to go. It’s a tool to save lives. So we raise money so we can provide scholarships to people who are addicts.”

The Trini Foundation is working to reach an impressively wide and diverse group and includes programs dedicated to working with those in prison and in underserved communities, as well as working in conjunction with rehabilitation centers to provide the therapeutic value of Ashtanga yoga to those who would accept it. 

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Maggie May Ethridge is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes From a Marriage (Shebooks, 2014) and the recently completed novel, Agitate My Heart. She is a freelance writer published in Rolling Stone, VOX, Washington Post, The Guardian and many others. Find her at her blog Flux Capacitor or on LinkedIn or Twitter.