Let This Double-Amputee Yoga Teacher Inspire the Hell out of You
You can describe Dan Nevins in a lot of different ways: yoga teacher, U.S. veteran and motivational speaker would all work, for example. But if there's one thing that Nevins doesn't let define him, it's hardship.
During a 2004 deployment in Iraq, Nevins was in a vehicle that was hit by an improvised explosive device, or IED, leaving him severely wounded. He suffered a brain injury as a result of the blast, and ultimately both of his legs needed to be amputated.
Faced with a rocky road to recovery and physically unable to care for his young daughter, Nevins told BuzzFeed that his thoughts became clouded.
"I had never really identified with veterans who struggle with PTSD, but I finally got it. Things got so dark and I couldn't cope with my post-combat stress anymore," he said.
Nevins reached out to a friend, a yoga teacher, for help. The friend convinced him to try yoga, and Nevins said that from the first pose, he was hooked.
Despite what he perceived to be a "man bun and spandex stereotype" surrounding men in yoga, Nevins delved fearlessly into the ancient practice. When faced with the fact that his prosthetics made it incredibly hard and painful to continue, he simply tore them off and continued. Soon, he said, he began seeing incredible results.
"I remember sinking into warrior pose, and it was like the earth shattered beneath me and my body lit up with energy — I was tearing up and I didn't even understand what was happening, but my entire outlook on life changed," he said. "I knew immediately, I was destined to do this."
Nevins hopes to channel the positivity he found through yoga to help other veterans adapt to post-combat life.
"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," he said.