Hilltop yoga classes benefitting program for recovering addicts

MT LAUREL – Jennifer Dunbar thinks yoga can help people in the Hilltop Montessori School and Mt Laurel communities, but her yoga classes at the school have a deeper purpose.

The classes are being offered in September on a donation basis, with all the funds benefitting the Trini Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to bring “the life-changing practice of Ashtanga yoga to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.”

Dunbar, who has three children who attend Hilltop, is offering the classes beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursdays during September at the school’s new multi-purpose facility.

Dunbar has taught yoga to students at Hilltop while substitute teaching for the physical education program and said Head of School Michele Wilensky agreed with Dunbar’s idea to offer yoga classes for parents.

“She thought it would also be a lovely thing to have as part of our community at school and the Mt Laurel community in general,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar has studied yoga for about 20 years and Ashtanga yoga for about 10 years.

She has been involved with the Trini Foundation since its launch about a year ago.

“I was in the first group of instructors that was trained to go out from the Trini Foundation,” said Dunbar, whose teacher is Taylor Hunt, the foundation’s executive director who used yoga to help overcome alcoholism and drug addiction.

Dunbar described Ashtanga as an athletic yoga that is particularly beneficial for recovering addicts.

“This is a very quiet, meditative practice. This helps them find that inner peace within themselves.”

Dunbar said she also encourages recovering addicts, once they complete their treatment, to apply for yoga class scholarships through Birmingham Yoga so that they can continue their growth.

“Addiction is a very isolating disease,” she said. “Oftentimes what they need is a community to belong to.”

Participants in Dunbar’s classes who make donations will receive a tax receipt.

Even those who missed the first or second classes are welcome to attend the remaining classes in September—and attendees are welcome to bring a friend.

Anyone outside the Hilltop Montessori School and Mt Laurel communities who wish to participate should contact Dunbar at jenniferdunbar@me.com.

Dunbar said she hopes to offer more classes at the school in the future depending on the response, possibly even adjusting the time so that Hilltop teachers could participate.