Trini Foundation: Ashtanga as a tool to overcome addictions (ENG/ITA)

“Yoga is for everyone” (Scroll down for Italian)

Taylor Hunt is a KPJAYI L2 Authorized Teacher. Featured in beautiful Yoga videos signed by Alessandro Sigismondi, we are all familiar with his open smile, his enthusiasm for the practice and with his book, “A Way From Darkness”, where he openly speaks about his struggles to overcome addiction and how Ashtanga Yoga helped him in staying sober, building a worldwide reputation as a Yoga teacher and a wonderful family. Recently, he has taken his commitment to Ashtanga and helping others a step further, launching Trini Foundation, with the purpose to bring the light of Yoga to those who need it the most. Sometimes, I think that people turning to drug use are desperately searching relief from their difficult lives in the wrong place and with the wrong tools. Yoga can rectify their search bringing so much happiness and fulfillment. The problem is that Yoga in the West is expensive, and often these people have no means to access it. That’s exactly where Trini Foundation comes in…

FDE: Last year you published your book, “A Way From Darkness”, where you came out on how Ashtanga Yoga literally turned your life upside down, taking you from the hole of addiction to being a respected Yoga teacher worldwide. This book has also been a first step of a much wider project: can you tell us what is Trini Foundation?

TH: Well, the book was very successful and it opened up opportunities to do other things like seriously helping other people. We started the Trini Foundation so that we could be part of solving the ever growing drug addiction problem. Essentially the foundation purpose is to help people achieve sobriety through the tool of yoga. We have basically created a group of yoga studios that are offering classes and scholarships to Ashtanga programs. Addicts don’t have money so we cover the cost of they are willing to be 100% committed to showing up. So far it has been extremely success in its mission.

FDE: How was the response on your project from the Ashtanga Community? Did Sharath take part in it?

TH: Its been received very well from the community. We are offering classes at 30 different yoga schools and at the end of 2016 Sharath decided to be be an honorary director to the foundation. He helps us with raising awareness and also setting up our programs to fight addiction through the Ashtanga Yoga method. This was obviously a big deal for many reasons and a huge honor as well. The foundation is doing good work and people want to be involved.

FDE: Did you already see the first results of Trini Foundation’s mission? What’s next?

TH: Yes, we have seen many results. Many people are practicing as a result of our scholarship programs, they are getting out of addiction and are staying sober, and that’s what we want. Our next project is coming up in September. It’s recovery awareness month and we hope to get 250 yoga places to join us in raising awareness and money to support our programs.

Taylor Hunt fotografato da Alessandro Sigismondi

FDE: Do you think Trini Foundation can expand abroad? Have you ever thought about it?

TH: I think it should expand everywhere. Generally speaking, many people are not satisfied with their lives and turn to drugs and alcohol to cover up their feelings.  This is happening everywhere, not just in the United States. We can play a direct role in helping change people’s lives. It’s really exciting and the best part is that we use the tool of Ashtanga yoga to be the guide for change, because it works.

Taylor Hunt will soon be in Italy, at Ashtanga Yoga Varese. Don’t miss the chance to meet this amazing teacher, and if you are willing to help him expand his project also outside the United States, contact him directly via the Trini Foundation website, where you can learn all details about this wonderful project to overcome addiction through the powerful tool of Yoga.

TRINI FOUNDATION: L’ASHTANGA PER COMBATTERE LE DIPENDENZE

“Lo Yoga è per tutti”

Taylor Hunt è un insegnante di Ashtanga Yoga, Autorizzato KPJAYI L2. Protagonista di bellissimi video firmati da Alessandro Sigismondi, è un volto familiare per chi pratica. Conosciamo tutti il suo sorriso aperto, il suo entusiasmo per la pratica e il suo libro “A Way From Darkness” (presto in italiano), in cui racconta apertamente la sua battaglia contro le dipendenze. L’Ashtanga Yoga è stato per lui uno strumento di grande valore, che nel tempo lo ha aiutato a rimanere sobrio, a costruirsi una reputazione mondiale come insegnante di Yoga, e a crearsi una bellissima famiglia. Recentemente, ha portato il suo impegno nell’Ashtanga ad un livello superiore, unendolo al desiderio di essere utile al prossimo. E ha lanciato il progetto Trini Foundation, che si propone di portare la luce dello Yoga a chi ne ha più bisogno. A volte, penso che chi si rifugia nelle droghe stia disperatamente cercando sollievo alle difficoltà della vita nel posto sbagliato e con il mezzo sbagliato. Lo Yoga può riportare queste persone sulla strada giusta, aiutandole a trovare felicità e realizzazione personale. Purtroppo, lo Yoga in Occidente è costoso, e proprio chi ne ha più bisogno non ha i mezzi per permetterselo. A questo ha pensato Taylor con Trini Foundation…

FDE: Lo scorso anno hai pubblicato il tuo libro, “A Way From Darkness”, in cui hai dichiarato come l’Ashtanga Yoga abbia letteralmente cambiato la tua vita, portandoti dal tunnel della dipendenza a diventare un insegnante di Yoga conosciuto in tutto il mondo. Ma questo libro è stato solo il primo passo di un progetto più vasto: puoi dirci cos’è Trini Foundation?

TH: Il libro è stato un vero successo e mi ha dato l’opportunità di fare qualcosa di autentico per aiutare gli altri. Abbiamo dato vita a Trini Foundation per essere parte attiva della soluzione al crescente problema delle dipendenze da alcol e droga. Il proposito della fondazione è aiutare chi soffre a raggiungere la sobrietà attraverso lo Yoga. Abbiamo, in pratica, creato un gruppo di centri Yoga che offrono classi e borse di studio per accedere a programmi Ashtanga. Chi ha una dipendenza spesso non ha disponibilità economiche, quindi noi copriamo i costi se la persona si impegna al 100% a presenziare alle lezioni. E fino ad ora abbiamo avuto grande successo nella nostra missione. 

FDE: Come è stato ricevuto il tuo progetto dalla comunità Ashtanga? E Sharath Jois ne fa parte? 

TH: La comunità ha accolto bene il progetto. Offriamo lezioni in 30 scuole diverse, e alla fine del 2016 Sharath ha deciso di accettare la nomina di Direttore Onorario della fondazione. Ci ha aiutato a alzare il livello di attenzione, e a creare i programmi attraverso i quali l’Ashtanga diventa un metodo per uscire dal tunnel della droga. E’ emozionante per me, per tanti motivi, ed è anche un grande onore. La fondazione dà i suoi frutti, e la gente desidera farne parte. 

FDE: Trini Foundation vi ha già dato buoni risultati? E cosa avete in programma? 

TH: Si, abbiamo già visto ottimi risultati. Molti ex tossicodipendenti praticano grazie alle nostre borse di studio, riuscendo a combattere la dipendenza e mantenersi sobri, che è quello che volevamo. Il nostro prossimo evento è previsto per settembre. E’ il mese dedicato al Recupero dalle dipendenze, e speriamo di riuscire a coinvolgere 250 scuole di Yoga per alzare la soglia di attenzione e per raccogliere fondi destinati ai progetti della fondazione. 

FDE: Pensi che l’idea di Trini Foundation possa essere esportata all’estero? Ci hai mai pensato?

TH: Penso che l’idea possa funzionare ovunque. In generale, sono in molti oggi a soffrire e a rivolgersi a droghe e alcol per nascondere i propri sentimenti. Succede ovunque, non solo negli Stati Uniti. Possiamo giocare un ruolo fondamentale e diretto nel cambiare il corso delle vite di queste persone. E’ entusiasmante, e la parte migliore è che lo strumento dell’Ashtanga Yoga può essere una guida al cambiamento, perché funziona davvero. 

Taylor Hunt sarà presto in Italia, presso Ashtanga Yoga Varese. Non perdete l’opportunità di incontrare questo fantastico insegnante, e se desiderate aiutarlo e portare il suo progetto anche all’estero, contattatelo direttamente attraverso il sito di Trini Foundation , dove potete conoscere tutti i dettagli di questo splendido programma. Anche la dipendenza può essere vinta attraverso la grande forza dello Yoga.

Autobiography of a Yogi, the year 2016

I have been long waiting for this book to arrive.
I met Taylor Hunt in Mysore last December while attending KPJAYI. We had a facebook connection and as many Ashtangi, I was following his dedication to the practice – I was struck by how inspiring and empowering his posts were, and how strong and balanced the practice made him look. Then I discovered he was about to publish a book about his path in Yoga. Turns out, Taylor is coming from a very dark past of alcoholism and addiction, and through sheer will and Ashtanga Yoga, he is now a very successful Yoga Teacher (yes, capitol letters, since he is Authorized Level 2 by KPJAYI) and a wonderful family man. He runs a very popular Mysore Program, travels to give Yoga workshops and intensives, but most of all, he is inspiring all those struggling through the difficult path of recovery and rehab with his powerful message.
What happens when all this becomes a book? Well, I was about to find out. I asked Taylor if we could meet up in Mysore: teaching myself and being a translator for Italian Publishers specialized in Yoga and Spiritual literature, I am always looking for interesting projects, and this sounded just what I was looking for. Taylor knew nothing about me, yet he was kind and open-minded enough to invite me at his family home in Mysore, where he was spending his usual three months of practice with Sharath.
I was struck by his warmth and by his lovely wife and children. I could immediately sense the harmony that surrounded them. And Taylor had that brightness in his eyes, the one you find in those really committed to the practice – when you practice every day, year after year, no matter what, your eyes become crystal clear and seem to read through the people you meet. This book obviously meant a lot to him. It is his own life that he was about to disclose to the world, all details included: no matter how hard, difficult and sometimes even shocking they could be. Taylor was ready to share his hardship with all of us – seasoned practitioners as well as beginners, and of course people still struggling with drug, alcohol or any other form of addiction. Taylor was telling me about it, and I was already looking forward to reading it – not because I had some sort of morbid curiosity but because I could understand how impactful such story could be on so many levels. Of course, I immediately pre-ordered my copy. And that copy finally arrived.
As I imagined, this Yoga book is actually a book for everybody. I see it as a contemporary, down-to-earth version of “Autobiography of a (western) Yogi”, that actualizes the message of Yoga in a very grounded, accessible way. No sudden, sci-fi enlightenment story but the powerful, honest account of a path full of hurdles towards a pacified mind and a sense of purpose in life. Written in a style that keeps you hooked as a best-selling author’s novel, “A Way From Darkness” relates to each and every one of us. In Taylor’s words we can find our own struggles, our everyday battles. Whatever drove us towards yoga, we were all coming from our dark place hungry for answers, and in one way or another, Yoga helped us find these answers within ourselves. Through Yoga we got (or are getting) rid of old habits and patterns, rebuilding ourselves. It is sometimes a life-long task, but we enjoy (and at times endure) every single step of it.
I warmly recommend “A Way From Darkness” as a great add to any Yoga library. Our shelves are filled with Yoga books – from the Sutras to all sort of technical practice manual we can find. Reading a real-life Ashtanga story, were asanas or philosophy are not the main focus for once, is incredibly refreshing and motivating. Find a teacher and get on your mat, everybody. And get a copy of Taylor’s book. Unless you are Italian, of course, and can wait for me to translate it…
“A Way From Darkness”, by Taylor Hunt is now available on Amazon.com or on www.awayfromdarkness.com 

Taylor Hunt, Yogi and writer