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Veteran lost legs in Iraq, says yoga saved his life

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Hundreds of people were at Parkview field Thursday night but it wasn’t for baseball, it was for yoga.  

For many people physical activity is a form of therapy, especially those struggling with mental health issues or stress. 

In November of 2004, Dan Nevins thought he lost everything serving in Iraq.  

"My vehicle was basically destroyed under my body when two 5500 auxiliary shells went off,” Nevins said. “I ultimately lost both of my legs below the knee, and I had a traumatic brain injury.” 

Nevins says he was at the lowest point of his life, suffering from PTSD and mental health issues. 

"I was alone, and isolated,” he said. “Dealing with and suffering with the invisible wounds of war for the first time.” 

He says in that moment he decided to call a friend and that call saved his life. 

“My friend said, you need some yoga in your life,” he said. “I said, that’s the dumbed thing I’ve ever heard!” 

Nevins says he decided to give yoga a try and he had a transformational moment that changed his life. 

"Moving your body, enrolling your whole self; mind, body, soul,” Nevins said. “We can take the treatment of mental health to a whole new level.” 

He says yoga is more than a physical activity.  

It’s a form of therapy, especially for his mental health.  

“For people who have heard of yoga, invite a veteran to yoga because it might just save their life, like it did mine,” Nevins said. 

Jen Mills with 3 Rivers Yoga Foundation says she met Nevins a few years ago and was inspired by his story. 

"Every time I am around him, I am pushed to do more,” Mills said. “What can I do for people?” 

Mills says they invited Nevins to teach a yoga class for their event ‘Fill the Field’ at Parkview Field.  

"We want people to destress,” she said. “We want people to know they are not alone and their community is here for them.” 

Nevins says he now travels the country teaching yoga, hoping to bring others out of their darkness. 

If you are struggling with mental health issues, here are a list of resources in Fort Wayne.  

To find out more about 3 Rivers Yoga Foundation, click here

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Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at

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