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Dan Nevins smiles when he says, “I’m a yoga teacher.” Yoga was never part of his fitness regime, the way competitive running was. For Retired Army Sgt. Dan Nevins, 43, this is just one of the things that changed the moment an explosion under his vehicle occurred while on a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. The blast killed his friend, destroyed one leg instantly, severely damaged the other, and left Nevins with traumatic brain injury.READ MORE: Teachers Union Takes Legal Action Over Sac City Unified's 'Refusal' To Address Make-Up Days Related To Strike
Nevins spent 18 months at Walter Reed Medical Center. Despite 30 surgeries, a recurrent bone infection necessitated a second amputation. To assist in managing his recovery at a very low point, a female friend suggested to Nevins, “Dan, you need some yoga in your life.” Nevins shared his initial opposition, saying, “No, I’m a dude! I don’t own any spandex, and just no.'”
Now a certified Baptiste Teacher and leader, he’s glad he relented. “Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’d be practicing yoga and teaching it, I would have thought you were absolutely insane.” Nevins recalls the moment he removed his prosthetic legs to achieve a successful rooting down in a Warrior One pose and felt this real surge of energy through his body and soul.
Yoga became his path to peace and healing. “It’s amazing to be a yoga teacher, in a profession that empowers people and provides tools to people to get back in touch with themselves,” Nevins recently told a San Francisco audience.READ MORE: Athletics Snap Out Of Offensive Funk To Beat Twins 5-2
While teaching an outdoor yoga class to more than 600 people in New York’s Bryant Park, Nevins told the New York Post that magic happens. “Yoga has really changed my life. It has made me realize not only can a guy with no legs do whatever he wants, but he can inspire other people to do what they want with their life and, in the process, change the world.”
Nevins has been honored with the George C. Lang Award for Courage, the highest award bestowed by Wounded Warrior Project. He has even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with two of his fellow wounded warriors.
Today, Nevins shares his deeply inspiring message everywhere he goes as the Wounded Warrior Project’s director of Warriors Speak. This prestigious group of wounded warriors and caregivers relate their personal, inspirational stories of courage, perseverance and integrity, connecting with audiences around the globe. One of Dan Nevins’ takeaways directed at audience members at his speaking engagements is, “Invite a veteran to yoga, because you just might save a life.”
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This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr via Examiner.com for CBS Local Media