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Manning up: How yoga saved me from drug addiction

Jacob Manning needs no introduction. One of the world’s top yogis, Jacob is as well-known for his hugely popular online videos as he is for his unswerving dedication to yoga and fitness. Jacob is as disciplined as he is candid and charming. Here he tells OHMME his story: an idyllic upbringing in the Californian sun to the death of his uncle and a crippling drug addiction.

When and where were you born and what was family life like as a child?

I was born in Healdsburg, California. As a child my family was very supportive and loving.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up I wanted to be a professional baseball player. My best memory as an athlete was playing catch with my dad and pitching to him behind the plate. Also, when I hit a three-run homer to beat Cloverdale in my senior year.

What challenges & trials did you face as an adolescent?

When I was a kid my uncle – who was my hero – committed suicide. That was the hardest thing I went through as a kid. Later down the road, at seventeen years old, I started using drugs. I made decisions that hurt a lot of people.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strengths? Working hard, I have integrity, I’m a good listener, I’m not scared to show vulnerability, and I’m loving and honest. My weaknesses: reading and writing, my sleep patterns, and letting things go.

If you could let everyone know something special about you, what would it be?

That I never give up on people I love. No matter what they do and how bad they may have hurt me.

What’s your story with addiction and recovery?

I’ve been struggling with addiction since I was 16. I can remember taking oxycontin with my friend in high school and it brought me a sense of love I wasn’t able to receive as a child. But over time it took everything from me. Everything worth living for in life. Drugs put me in the hospital, homeless shelters, psych wards, jail, and several rehab clinics, and left me stealing from people’s homes. Getting older, and by working through the twelve-step system, slowly brought me the natural internal peace that I’d always chased with drugs. Today, I’m one year clean and sober.

Why is yoga important to you? And how did that lead you to want to teach it?

Yoga was the stepping stone to being able to move again and get out of depression. I was driven to teach to help people that feel lost like I was once before.

"Yoga was the stepping stone to being able to move again and get out of depression."

How have you tackled issues with opening up? If so, what helps you open up more to people?

Becoming open and vulnerable has been the hardest transformation for me, because I fear people will think I’m a weak or negative person. What helps me stay open is my connection to a higher power, believing in something greater than myself. My past relapses of being dishonest and not letting people know how I am doing now act as reminders to me to stay open and ask for help from my friends when I need it.

 

What has traveling taught you so far?

Travelling has taught me there is so much more than yoga and making money. Travelling has given me a new understanding of how precious my recovery, family and friends are to me. It has allowed me to see how much they love me and how important it is for me to stay close to my belief in a higher power. Going from place to place alone puts me in a state of not having expectations.

What are some of your favourite things to do when you aren’t practicing or teaching yoga?

I enjoy having fun with what the season has to offer. If it’s summer I surf and if it’s winter I snowboard. If it’s football season I watch football. I love the feeling of being passionate about each season.

What makes you feel like a kid again?

Being outside and being active with my family and friends. Just being in the ocean and getting crushed by a wave will do the trick.

What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?

I love hot Cheetos and Jaw Breakers. I’ll eat them until I’m sick or there’s nothing left.

I noticed that you are always at the beach. Are you into any other sports that are beach-related?

I go to the beach as much as I can and always want to be on a board having fun. Whether it’s surfing, body boarding, rock jumping or diving through tunnels in Laguna Beach. I thrive on adrenaline!

What is the best part about living in California?

The best part about living in California is there being no such thing as bad weather. I can start my day at any time by simply going outside and always having something to do that resets my perspective on life.

Why OHMME?

OHMME lets me be myself, be exactly who I am without being judged. OHMME makes me feel supported and valued as a person. If I don’t have a solution for my current problem I give them a call and the support is there. OHMME has been the greatest commercial relationship I’ve had – they’re about more than just the product.

Tagged with: Yoga

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