By Chandler Lutz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — David Hem, of Philadelphia, owes a lot to the practice of yoga. “Because of all the stuff that happened, here I am in one of the most, best places I’ve ever been in my entire life,” he said.

Getting here wasn’t easy. At the age of 17, Hem turned to drugs and alcohol.

“It was either get money for more drugs to get well, or go to jail and have a place to stay,” Hem said. “That’s when I knew the desperation of the choices that I had.”

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Hem robbed a store and was caught by police. He spent 13 months in prison.

When he got out, he went on a new path.

“I was in the recovery community at one point, and we went to this event,” Hem said.

That event was a pay-as-you-wish yoga class on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The decision to go was a turning point for him. This past May, Hem opened his first yoga studio, called The Healing Fields.

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“David is the most talented yoga teacher I have ever practiced with, and I’ve been practicing over 20 years,” said Iva Kelman, one of Hem’s students.

What does Hem hope for himself, and what can he do in the future?

“Continue building community, and show people there are other ways we can release tension,” he said.

“I am in awe of his strength and knowledge,” Kelman said, “and I still love watching him grow.”