Mikal Vega is an accomplished actor, Kundalini Yoga teacher and founder of the nonprofit, Vital Warrior. In this episode of Borne the Battle, Vega discusses his struggle with military transition, finding treatment for his PTSD, discovering alternative therapies, and founding a nonprofit with the goal of sharing what he has learned.
Vega served 22 years in the Navy as an EOD specialist and SEAL. He found his purpose as a shield for people who couldn’t protect themselves. During a mission, an IED hit his vehicle and the damage from the blast resulted in severe cervical trauma. That trauma changed the course of Vega’s life.
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Only later did he realize the extent of his injuries when he began to struggle in his civilian life and personal relationships. Instead of crumbling under the weight of injury and PTSD, Vega channeled his recovery successes into helping other Veterans and their families. Vital Warrior is a non-profit organization and therapeutic system designed to help Veterans and their families to destress, heal and gain strength from their experiences without the aid of prescription drugs. His goal? Putting a brick and mortar Vital Warrior studio outside every military base.
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When Vega transitioned to civilian life and dealt with post-traumatic stress, he took up the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Now, he shares the practice and other techniques that helped him to heal with his clients. Vital Warrior takes a discipline-oriented and regimented approach to yoga practice, which Vega teaches in Venice, CA, where he offers free classes to Veterans. Vega empowers his students to reject the victim mindset and take responsibility for their health.
In this episode, Vega discusses:
- His experience with injury and a path to healing.
- The reasons he left the military after 22 years.
- How he got to where he is now.
- His Hollywood career as an actor, director and producer.
- Directing motion-capture filming for Activision during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:
- Army Veteran Phillip Edward Bonner.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Borne the Battle Episode #140: Danny Chung, Marine Veteran, Microsoft Chief of Staff of Military Affairs.
- Borne the Battle #221: Air Force Veteran Mark Harper, President and CMO, We Are the Mighty.
- The Hurt Locker: Grocery Scene.
- Motion capture directing for Call of Duty franchise.
- SAVE LIVES Act allows VA to soon provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans, their spouses and caregivers
- VA strengthens PTSD claims process training
Jabari Shakir is a podcast intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a journalism undergraduate at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.