Former US Army Sgt. Dan Nevins showed no signs of physically slowing down, even after losing both his legs in a 2014 roadside explosion while serving in Iraq. He even mountain-biked across the country and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
But it was yoga that changed his life when Nevins found himself slipping into depression as he was recovering from another surgery.
Unable to play with his 3-year-old daughter or play golf, the 42-year-old said, “Those thoughts of the not-so-great experiences from combat just kept coming back. I didn't get to the point of suicide, but I finally understood in those 8 weeks at home and I knew that I needed help.”
Nevins laughed off a friend’s suggestion to consider yoga as “the stupidest thing anyone's ever said to me.
"I'm not a mother earth guy,” he said.
But despite his reservations, Nevin agreed to attend some private yoga classes. His prosthetic legs caused pain and frustration, so he took both of them off during the second class.
"I didn't get to the point of suicide, but I finally understood in those 8 weeks at home and I knew that I needed help."
"This was a tough moment for me because no one ever saw me with my legs off,” he told People. "But I got on that mat and got in warrior pose. I started to lift up my arms up for this pose and got this burst of energy like lightning. I had this moment with the universe. It was like the earth was saying, 'Dan, where have you been for the last 10 years?' It was incredible.”
Nevins immediately began teacher training and is now a yoga instructor, teaching classes across the world and even at the White House.
He uses his story to inspire his students and hopes to help other veterans find peace post-combat through yoga.
"Veterans often feel so isolated because we think we're damaged or different but yoga can change that because it's all about being connected with the earth and people around you," Nevins said.