Double-amputee war veteran says yoga saved his life

A wounded war veteran came to D.C. Thursday to share his inspirational story about the healing power of yoga, which he now teaches. 

An explosion in Iraq in November 2010 changed retired Staff Sgt. Dan Nevins’s life forever. It led to the amputation of both of his legs, but it wasn’t until his 38th surgery that things got ugly. 

“I couldn't wear my leg for eight weeks. I sat at home. I couldn't take care of my daughter,” said Nevins. "It turned out to be a big deal and those thoughts that I never had before kept coming and they wouldn't stop." 

About a year and a half ago, Nevins called a friend who told him that he needed some yoga in his life. 

“I was like, 'No, I'm a dude. Dudes don't do yoga.' Because I didn't know and it worked. Not only did the negative thoughts go away but every thought got better,” said Nevins. 

Yoga saved Nevins and he believes it can and will save other veterans. 

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio says what Nevins is doing is exactly what our nation’s vets need. Ryan is working legislatively to introduce an alternative approach in programs at VA facilities across the country. 

“I want to raise awareness for other treatments. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, deep breathing. These things are working at a much lower cost and healing the vets, getting them off their prescription drugs and getting them sleeping through the night,” Rep. Ryan said. 

Nevins now travels across the country giving speeches and teaching yoga. His mission is to get every person who does yoga to invite a veteran to try it. 

“Guys can look at me and say, 'Oh well, if he can do it. There's this guy who used to kick in doors in Iraq and got blown up and lost both legs and he is happy and content and positive, and wow! Okay, maybe yoga's not so bad.'"  

Thursday's yoga practice at Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project.