An Iraq war veteran’s life was spiraling out of control after both his legs were amputated, but he credits yoga with saving his life — and now, he’s an international instructor.
Retired Army staff sergeant Dan Nevins, 46, had his legs severely injured in an explosion while he was serving a tour in Iraq in 2004, The Washington Post reported. He endured 36 surgeries, had both legs amputated, and spent nearly two years constantly going to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A divorce from his wife exasperated his battle to accept what had occurred.
“I was chasing Benadryl with whiskey, hoping I wouldn’t wake up,” Nevins told WaPo. “I was spiraling downhill fast.”
Realizing he needed help, Nevins contacted a friend, Anna Dennis, who told him he needed to add yoga to his daily routine. Nevins initially scoffed at the suggestion before deciding to adhere to her advice. It was 2014 — a decade after he lost his legs.
Following what began as a frustrating and difficult exercise, yoga eventually became Nevins’s saving grace.
“I raised my arms, and it felt as though life was shooting out of my hands,” he said, according to WaPo. “Tears were streaming down my face.”
Nevins travels around the world as an international yoga instructor, seeking to bring peace, calm and strength to those who have suffered on or off the battlefield. Nevins teaches regularly every month and considers himself a yoga ambassador. (RELATED: Former NFL Yoga Instructor Shares Three Yoga Moves Everybody Should Do)
Nevins is an advocate for the Wounded Warrior Project, which he uses as a platform to teach around the world, according to WaPo.
Military veteran Scott Almhjell said Nevins saved his life when he introduced him to yoga.
“He reminded us that we are warriors, and what that really means,” formerly suicidal Almhjell told WaPo. “It might sound stupid and hokey, but Dan gave me my life back.”
“The fact is, all of us are living with the invisible wounds of some kind of war,” Nevins said. “Yoga helps you to let go of the things that don’t serve you anymore.”
Nevins is a single father of three. He credits yoga with his newfound vigor to live.
“On most days, I forget that I’m an amputee. Because of yoga, it’s not even a thing. Life goes on. I’m grateful for every breath.”
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