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may the force be with you
may the force be with you
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may the force be with you

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The founder of Verge Yoga and Verge Athlete (Wayne, PA) talks about harnessing her—and your—potential, and her forthcoming book, SoulForce.

The founder of Verge Yoga and Verge Athlete (Wayne, PA) talks about harnessing her—and your—potential, and her forthcoming book, SoulForce.

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  • 1. “may the force be with you”   It’s  hard  to  unleash  your  potential  when  you  don’t  know  how  to  find  it—a   pretty  big  hurdle  for  anyone  trying  to  actually  reach,  rather  than  perpetually  chase,   his/her  life  goals.  Finding  your  potential  is  not  about  discovering  what  you  can  “handle”;   rather  it’s  learning  about  your  capabilities—in  many  cases,  buried  underneath  the  day   to  day  obligations  of  work,  family,  school,  sports  and  other  distractions  that  come  with   having  a  full  life.  Sure  there’s  a  lot  of  potential  lying  under  the  surface  in  our  daily   routine,  and  ideally,  much  of  what  we  do—at  home,  at  work  and  at  play—fits  our   interests  and  skill  sets.  But,  have  you  ever  thought  about  how  to  draw  upon  those   collective   attributes  and   go  after  that   one  thing  you   have  always   aspired  to   achieve?  Or   taken  note  of   the  physical  and   mental  state   you’ve  been  in   when  you  have   exceeded  your   (and  others’)   expectations?   Pinpointing   your  personal  champion  state  of  being  is  one  of  the  first  keys  to  unlocking  that   potential—a  state  of  being  Cara  Bradley,  founder  of  Verge  Yoga  and  Verge  Athlete   refers  to  as  SoulForce.  And,  tapping  into  it  is  easier  than  you  think.     —  dawn  elyse  warden-­‐reeder       Q&A  with  Cara  Bradley,  Founder  of  Verge  Yoga  and  Verge  Athlete     TWE:  You  have  this  quote  on  your  blogsite,  "I  show  up  everyday  and  dare  to  be  100%   me”  —  what  does  this  mean  in  your  life  and  how  can  exploring  this  benefit  others  in   theirs?              CB:  In  a  nutshell,  I  don’t  want  to  waste  a  minute  of  my  life  pretending  to  be   something  that  I  am  not.  With  that  in  mind  I  have  learned  to  fully  embrace  exactly  what   I’ve  got  today.  That  is  a  Brooklyn  born  Italian  chick  that  grew  up  hanging  out  on  stoops   playing  with  a  pink  bouncy  ball.  I  believe  that  if  I  bring  that  into  my  life  and  not  try  to   hide  it  I  will  access  a  power  that  goes  beyond  authenticity.                                                                                                ê  
  • 2. TWE:  Your  name  is  deeply  intertwined  with  Verge  Yoga,  both  as  the  brand  and  as   a  familiar  face  in  the  studio…  How  does  that  impact  you  when  pursuing  other   endeavors,  such  as  blogging,  working  with  athletic  teams,  and  regarding  your  current   project  of  writing  a  book?  How  much  of  you  has  to  be  Cara  from  Verge,  and  how  much   of  you  can  be  who  you  are  outside  of  yogini?  Or,  is  it  truly  who  you  are?                                  CB:  This  is  a  great  question.  For  the  first  eight  years  of  Verge  Yoga,  Cara  was  Verge   and  Verge  was  Cara.  Every  blog  post  or  social  media  post  was  thought  out  in  terms  of   how  it  would  represent  my  brand.  My  mental  training  with  athletes  was  also  considered   a  satellite  program  of  Verge  Yoga.  In  the  past  couple  of  years  I  have  recognized  that  my   passion  to  teach  goes  beyond  yoga  poses.  I  am  relentlessly  enthusiastic  to  talk  about,   write  about  and  teach  others  about  their  incredible  human  potential.  Many  people   associate  me  with  just  being  a  yoga  teacher.    Nothing  could  be  further  from  the  truth.  I   use  the  practice  of  yoga  as  a  platform  to  teach  people  to  grab  hold  of  their  talents  and   passions  and  take  on  their  lives  with  gusto  and  courage.     TWE:  The  title  of  your  book  is  SoulForce,  which  you’ve  described  as  providing  readers   with  "hands-­‐on  tools  to  unleash  a  powerful  state  of  focus  and  fearlessness,  and  to  live   in  The  Power  of  Now.”  Can  you  elaborate  on  this  and  also  share  your  characterization   of  being  in  a  state  of  focus  and  fearlessness?              CB:  We  all  know  what  it  feels  like  to  be  fully  engaged  in  an  activity.  It  happens  when   you  climb  mountains  or  sit  by  the  ocean.  It  can  happen  when  you  are  involved  in  a   complex  work  project  or  when  playing  an  instrument.    Many  years  ago  I  read  the  book   Flow  by  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  He  explained  to  millions  of  readers  the  make-up  of   the  intense  state  of  focus  that  competitive  athletes  dream  of  harnessing.  What  I  have   experienced  is  that  focus  is  found  just  beyond  the  busy  mind.  It  is  beyond  doubt  and   judgment.  What  happens  when  I  am  able  to  slip  into  this  intense  focus  is  that  I  also  find   my  courage.  I  feel  ready  to  try  anything  and  am  not  afraid  of  failing.    In  finding  my   focus,  I  find  my  fearlessness.  That  is  what  I  call  SoulForce.     TWE:  How  has  your  experience  being  a  lifelong  athlete  conditioned  you  for  the  ups  and   downs  of  life,  and  to  reach  for  goals  confidently?              CB:  Being  a  competitive  athlete  for  most  of  my  life  has  taught  me  that  there  are  no   shortcuts  to  success.  I  believe  that  hard  work,  repetition  and  practice,  and  resilience  to   feedback  are  some  of  the  hallmarks  of  champions.    The  problem  for  most  is  that  they   are  unwilling  and  sometimes  even  afraid  of  working  hard  and  of  failing  often.  One  of   the  mottos  that  I  have  carried  with  me  most  of  my  life  is  “What  is  the  worst  that  could   happen?”   TWE:  There  have  been  many  books  written  about  ways  to  become  empowered  and   create  positive  change;  how  is  SoulForce  different?              CB:  While  there  have  been  many  books  written  about  transformation  and  achieving   optimal  states,  SoulForce  differs  in  that  it  emphasizes  directly  experiencing  power  time   and  again  thus  opening  the  gateway  to  permanent  transformation  and  long-­‐term  life   mastery.  Many  bestsellers  are  heavy  on  the  what,  the  why,  and  the  research,  yet  are      ê  
  • 3. light  on  how  to  actually  implement  change  and  stay  consistent  every  day.  SoulForce   stresses  how  to  stay  committed  to  bite-sized  daily  practices  and  how  to  create  the   necessary  physical  and  mental  stability  and  stillness  that  invokes  transformation.  I point  out  that  reading  about  human  potential  in  a  book  will  not  help  ultimately   unleash  it. And, I challenge readers to sit in the driver's seat of their life by  becoming   fluent  in  experiencing  their  SoulForce.   TWE:  What  are  some  of  the  ways  that  you  are  bringing  this  mindset  into  the  yoga   studio,  and  into  your  athlete  training  work?              CB:  I  consider  myself  a  Mental  Strength  Coach  both  at  Verge  Yoga  and  with  my   teams.  In  many  ways,  I  have  more  confidence  in  my  students  that  they  probably  have  in   themselves.    I  know  deep  down  in  my  bones  that  if  each  of  them  could  glimpse   themselves  beyond  their  busy  mind  (which  is  filled  with  doubt,  judgment,  fear  and   comparison),  they  would  like  who  they  are  and  would  believe  that  they  could   accomplish  just  about  anything.  My  work  is  to  help  them  create  the  mental  space  for   them  to  have  that  glimpse  or  what  I  call  direct  experience  of  their  true  nature.   TWE:  Can  you  share  a  few  of  the  book’s  key  messages  and  5  daily  practices?            CB:  SoulForce  is  an  evolutionary  way  to  cultivate  focus  and  fearlessness.  It  inspires   readers  to  trust  that  beyond  their  busy  mind  sits  an  innate  strength  and  intelligence,   and  explores  how  to  unleash  this  human  potential  through  bite-­‐sized  daily  practices.     …My  book  about  personal  development  and  peak  performance  is  written  for  seekers  of life  mastery,  the  curious  millions  searching  for  how  to  harness  power  and  apply  it   personally  and  professionally.  SoulForce  dives  into  how  to  unleash  potential  by   becoming  stable  and  still  every  day.  It  demonstrates  how  to  cultivate  stability  and   stillness  with  the  SoulForce  Daily  Practices  of  mindfulness,  intention,  movement,   meditation,  and  acceptance.  SoulForce  describes  the  daily  practices,  how  to  stick  with   them,  the  roadblocks,  and  their  benefits.  Readers  will  have  access  to  on-­‐line  daily   practice  podcasts  and  videos  for  further  support.     SoulForce  evolved  from  my  thirty  years  as  a  yoga  teacher,  mental  strength  coach,  and   entrepreneur.  I  train  over  50,000  athletes  and  yoga  students  per  year  to  commit  to  my   evolutionary  daily  practices  and  have  developed  a  keen  understanding  of  why  some  fail   and  how  others  discover  how  to  harness  focus  and  fearlessness.  My  teaching  and   writing  comes  from  a  deep  trust  that  our  human  potential  is  just  moments  away  from   awakening,  and  can  be  directly  experienced  –  not  by  chance  –  but  on  purpose  every  day.   • • • • • • SoulForce  Daily  Practices Mindfulness  Practice  -­‐  Pay  Attention Intention  Practice  -­‐  Get  Clear Physical  Practice  -­‐  Move  your  Body Meditation  Practice  -­‐  Find  Stillness Acceptance  Practice  -­‐  Let  it  Flow
  • 4. TWE:  You’ve  talked  about  doing  more  speaking  engagements…  is  there  a  specific   audience  that  you’d  like  to  get  in  front  of?              CB:  I  love  talking  to  anyone  who  has  felt  a  stirring  inside  that  they  are  more  than  they   are  currently  demonstrating  in  their  life.  Elite  athletes  get  my  message  right  away  as   they  are  used  to  driving  themselves  past  what  they  “think”  they  are  capable  of.  My   message  also  resonates  in  the  corporate  world  to  mid  and  upper  level  management.   Executives  know  that  they  have  to  continue  to  push  their  boundaries  in  order  to   continue  on  their  path  of  success.           TWE:  Can  you  give  an  example  of  how  the  principles  in  your  book,  and  those  you  dispel   through  yoga  instruction  and  during  retreats  (we  want  to  hear  about  those  too!)  can  be   applied  to  building  that  crucial  foundation  to  which  you  refer?              CB:  SoulForce  is  a  felt  sense  of  being  alert  and  alive,  and  of  intense  passion  and   alertness  that  arises  from  stillness.  It  is  a  presence  that  every  one  has  and  can  access.   SoulForce  must  be  directly  experienced  and  my  students  are  encouraged  to  become   curious  about  getting  to  know  this  powerful  state  for  themselves.  My  teachings  revolve   around  directly  experiencing  one’s  power  or  potential.  My  intention  is  to  help  others   experience  their  SoulForce  on  purpose,  and  how  the  intentional  direct  experience  of   potential  can  open  the  gateway  to  permanent  transformation  and  long-­‐term  life   mastery.       TWE:  When  you  interact  with  people,  are  you  able  to  sense  feelings  of  unresolved,   unmet,  and  unfocused?  What  does  that  look  like,  and  how  can  we  readjust  to  impart  a   genuine,  if  imperfect,  focused  and  fearless  persona?    Thinking,  fake  it  till  you  make  it,   but  that  might  be  the  very  thing  you’re  working  against.  We’d  love  to  hear  your   thoughts...            CB:  There  is  no  doubt  that  we  are  a  distracted  society.  Our  distraction  is  literally   blocking  us  from  accessing  the  wisdom,  peace,  direction  and  clarity  that  we  are  all   searching  for.  We  are  so  incredibly  close  to  being  happy  and  calm.  That  relaxed  and   confident  state  of  being  is  waiting  just  beyond  the  busyness  of  life.  We  are  on  the  verge   of  being  powerful  but  are  too  busy  to  recognize  it.     When  I  meet  people,  I  meet  their  minds.  I  can  sense  someone’s  distraction.  I  can  feel   their  fear  and  doubt.  The  beauty  of  teaching  yoga  is  that  I  can  feel  a  room  of  students   collectively  relax  their  grip  on  their  lives.  You  can  feel  it  in  their  bodies  and  in  their   breath.  Our  power  lies  between  our  thoughts,  between  our  judgments  and  plans  and   to-­‐do  lists.  Everything  that  we  seek  is  in  the  pauses  of  life  not  in  the  actions  or  words.       One  of  my  all  time,  favorite  quotes  is  from  Buddhist  Teacher  Pema  Chodron.    She  says,   “We  are  a  blink  of  an  eye  away  from  being  awake.”         And  we  are.  —  cara  bradley      

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