A very special yoga instructor showed up at the popular Bryant Park Summer Yoga Series last week.
Retired Army Sergeant Dan Nevins is an Iraq war veteran.
In November 2004, Nevins' vehicle was hit by an explosive device in the Battle of Fallujah.
He lost his partner next to him immediately, he lost one leg immediately, and after undergoing 30 surgeries to save the other, it was amputated three years later.
During his recovery, Nevins struggled with brain trauma and plunged into a deep depression.
Then a friend suggested he try yoga.
At first Nevins rejected the idea, thinking the meditative workout wasn't meant for men.
But when he took off his prosthetics, embraced his vulnerability, and put all his efforts into giving it a try, it changed his life.
“What yoga means to me, it’s something that can save a life,” Nevins stated.
Nevins teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project - a charity and veteran’s service organization that offers a variety of programs, service, and events for wounded veterans, and ultimately became a yoga instructor in high hopes he will make a difference and save the lives of other war veterans.
“I’m asking them all to invite a warrior to yoga. So hopefully that’s 1,500 people that invite one warrior, that’s 1,500 warriors or veterans, that might get something new, and then maybe their involvement in yoga will help them. Maybe help their lifestyles, maybe help their relationships, their family,” Nevins said.
Nevins is a true inspiration, and he quickly realized he truly can change veteran’s lives.
After talking to one of his friends/ neighbors, Nevins found out that before his friend decided to do yoga, he was planning on using a shot-gun on himself that same week.
“He was saying… saying ‘Thank you for saving my life,’ and I was like, ‘What!’ He was like, ‘You don’t get it,’ he’s like, ‘Yesterday was a really bad day, I went to go get my gun. But, I grabbed my yoga mat instead.’ And ahh... and I was like, ‘Oh god now I have to teach yoga, so that’s why I started teaching, and that’s why I teach, because there’s an incredible power of healing in yoga,’” Nevins explained.
At the class in Bryant Park, nearly 900 people showed up to see if he could also change their lives.
22 U.S. veterans take their own lives a day. You can help by visiting http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/