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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.

"may the force be with you"

  1. 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. 
  2. 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 byMihaly 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 hardwork, 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
  3. 3. are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. Reading about human potential in a book will not help ultimately unleash it. 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. 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.—carabradley | carabradleyunveiled.com

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