Rooted in the practical application of ancient wisdom, Cari Merriam blends transformative techniques from Yoga, Tantra, and deep Breath-work traditions into a transcendent experience of personal power and expansion of self. Inviting you to show up, do the work and wake up to your individual potential, Cari Merriam demystifies the art of consciousness to increase self-sustained happiness on a global scale.
Hey Cari, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am Cari Merriam. I help individuals and businesses realise where they are from a different vantage point so they can get where they want to go with greater clarity, focus, flow, and ease. You can’t create a solution unless you understand the depths and all sides of the problem.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
My journey started about ten years ago. Growing up in the myspace era without connection to social media or the information we have available now was a blessing because 10 years ago I was a hot mess and I am grateful those moments of coke induce nights aren’t splattered all over the internet. Truth be told I was lost. In my childhood, I felt like I was being molded to be something I wasn’t. My family was trying to confirm me to a box of perfection to uphold the family name and I always felt like the black sheep. Never really knowing where I belonged.
Starting from a young age I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and highly medicated. This created a more scattered personality in my opinion. I did everything I could to look the part on the outside but on the inside, I felt like I was at constant war with myself. I had tried to take my life a few times and turned to drugs as a way to continue to portray the mask that everything was alright. NYC in your early twenties before the stock market crash was madness.
I look back and truly feel lucky to be alive. After about 6 years in NYC, I came to an AHA moment somehow, after an angel planted the seed of a better life through yoga. That seed was the first time I felt like I could carve a different path – that I did have a choice. I asked myself an extremely important question, “where are you happiest?” My answer was on my snowboard on top of a mountain. And just like that I sold everything I owned in NYC, left behind my career in event planning and PR, and moved to Denver, Co with two suitcases and my cat Bourbon. Now, this is just the beginning of the real story that got me here. As that was ten years ago.
Colorado, a decade ago was not as cool as it is today. Back then it was a cow town with not a lot going on. Bartending in NYC I thought I would have no problem getting a bartending gig in Denver so I could do the one thing I was happiest at and snowboard during the day.
Little did I know, back then there were not a lot of women behind the bar in Denver and not a lot of opportunities to make money. So I found myself bartending at a super famous strip club, Shotgun Willies. And no – I never danced. A few months into my new home in Colorado left me with a serious neck injury. I decided to do a front flip off a huge cliff in the back bowls at Vale – over-rotated and landed on my neck, so snowboarding was out that season.
As I healed I remember the seed that was planted about yoga and found myself journeying into a Core Power Yoga class. It was the first time that I felt fully seen, accepted, and held. At the end of the class, I remember tears flowing but not really understanding why. A month in I knew I wanted to understand more so I embarked in teacher training… I would bartend at the strip club during the day looking at the breast and eating chicken wings and learn about yoga at night.
Once I started the yoga journey, I never stopped being a student. Teacher training lead to teaching right away at a ton of different places, and eventually back to where I started CorePower Yoga. I began to work at the call center there in the corporate offices and work my way all the way up to National Program Manager, overseeing 176 studios across the country. My time at CPY was filled with tons of trainings, leading workshops, bootcamps, wellness cleanses, and everything else in between. Also during my time at CPY that same angle I mentioned earlier invited me to my first breathwork circle which completely accelerated my awakening.
Eventually, I felt once again that I was at war with my soul. I had made it in society’s mind. I had an incredible partner, beautiful penthouse, directly under C level at work, making good money, traveling, and doing what I loved. But I was not satisfied, I was not fulfilled somehow and this lead me to start questioning everything.
That first moment of true awareness was all it took – the universe took care of the rest and in what it feels like as a moment my boyfriend left me and I was fired from my job after already deciding to move to Bali. So in one month I set up my apartment like I boutique and sold everything I could. My car, most of my clothes, my snowboards, everything. I had $800 in my bank account when I decided to move to Bali. But I had a dream and I knew how to sell my shit.
My Bali move was humbling, to say the least. I was no longer anyone knew or cared about. I went from being very well known in the yoga world to an absolute nobody. My ego died and then died some more. In Bali, I cried most days, meditated more, and took more trainings. I went deep into the core of my soul which lead me to traveling the world with Bali as my base. A lived in a van for a few weeks in Australia, then traveled through Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore then found me on a spiritual yantra in India. India cracked me open in ways that aren’t describable.
After returning to Bali I knew the work I needed to put out into the world and so my first online course was born, within weeks it was fully enrolled, and within weeks after that I had someone offer me a significant amount of money for 50% of my business. I thought a business investor was exactly what I needed, but it was too much money way to fast and we failed FAST. Within only 6 months we decided to close the company we created and end our business partnership. It took everything in me to come back after failing so hard, but again something pulled at my soul and here I am. I re-launched my business 6 months ago and since have had two successful online launches, have taken on multi-new clients in Berlin, spoke on stage multi times this year already, and lead around 10 sold out workshops. It’s been a crazy long journey and I am nowhere near where I want to be but I am well on my way.
What is a day in the life of you like?
Honestly, each day is a little different depending on what I have to get accomplished. After traveling the last 2 and half years and living the nomadic life I decided to settle in Berlin so my day to day it a lot more consistent. Most of my days are a combination of hosting my podcast, speaking on stage, teaching yoga, coaching through my online Embodied Enlightenment school, consulting for client(s) or leading breathwork or leadership workshops (as you can tell me life is super full at the moment). No matter what I have unfolded in my life, my day always starts off the same way. I get up early make a fresh lemon juice water and roll out my mat. I allow myself to flow with the movement of the music and connect deeply with my breath. After my movement yoga practice, I steadied myself with breathwork and then meditation. I have a beautiful altar that I bless each morning with paleo Santo as I sell in my intention or affirmation for the day. From there I am off – I put on some affirmations or a youtube inspirational video or a podcast and get ready for the day ahead.
In Berlin, I have settled into an amazing community called the Factory where I create, organise, and develop new skills for my business. I also co-facilitate a movement there called Wellbeing at Work. I love this space to work because I get to be around incredible people, share ideas, have lunch together, and work alongside fellow rockstar soloprenuers.
After work, I am either teaching yoga or heading straight to the gym (usually with my super cute boyfriend). After the gym, I run to the grocery store to pick up some fresh veggies and make us dinner. We eat together and share our experiences of the day as well as geeking insights around personal development or the newest wellness trends. Night times are for us to connect on a deep soul level. I love that I get to share my days with him.
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos within your business
My brand is all about transition and transformation. I support individuals and companies that are going through major transitions or are about to. That individual that is ready to create their own business but not yet ready to leave the comforts of their 9-5 or the company that is in a major growth period.
A connection is everything. We have to create a union with ourselves to create a union with others and we simply cannot do it alone. Community and connection is the next biggest pillar. Other’s that come to mind our radical honesty, empowerment through taking full responsibility, letting life be fun (I can say I am pretty straight forward but also have a weird use of humour that is magical only to me). I can tell it how it is so things can be integrated, accepted and healing can happen while still making it light. I am a container of space and so is my brand.
It’s a “space” where people can come together, empower and support one another, and show up vulnerable with the intention to do the work. I don’t coach anyone that is not going through one of my programs because words don’t teach, experiences do. My students and clients have to walk the walk and put in the work of yoga, meditation, reflection, etc to be able to see their life from a new perspective. That’s when really awaken can happen.
Can you tell us how you are helping your clients to discover a deeper insight as to who they really are?
We all came onto this earth as life force energy. The life force that is you, that is sitting in front of me, reflecting back at me, fought to be here. It fought to develop and grow and make it out into the world. And The moment your life force energy was born into the world that same energy activated your body with your breath – our prana. The very first thing you did, the very first thing I did, the very first thing we all do was take a big breath in and our lives began.
From that moment to this very moment right now, we have suppressed our life force energy. As our minds developed and took over. I help clients discover a deeper insight into who they truly are through a systematic approach I developed called “witness,” work-in, wake up. Most of us are allowing our minds to be in the driver seat of our lives, I show people and business how to shift into more soul fueled drives.
What methods are you using to alter a vibrational state of mind?
I use a mix of methodologies within my work from traditional yoga asana, to pranayama and breathwork practices, to intermittent fasting and cleansing the body through detoxification, to tantra energy work.
What does it take to reclaim our power?
We give our power away daily. We are caught up in vibrations that keep us limited and stuck. Every time we compare, every time we have a negative internal dialogue, every time we don’t put up a proper boundary and allow people to walk all over us we give our power away. To reclaim your power one has to drop into deep soul work to accept, heal, and take full responsibility. One has to become the witness within their life, then work into limitations they’ve created, then wake up to the gift that they are.
Can you highlight 3 ways to obtain enlightenment?
In each spiritual traditional there is a very specific path towards enlightenment that is far more in-depth than three ways. I believe we can all experience moments of enlightenment, true awakening, through complete surrender into the ever-unfolding moment of right now. Three ways to expand consciously:
Who does the team involve behind you?
My business team is only me, but my life team is filled with incredible soul partners, tribe members, and family that love and support the work I am doing. I am constantly receiving guidance.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
In 3 to 5 years my life is going to look a lot like it looks right now. I will be traveling the world leading workshops and being a keynote speaker. I will be co-creating with incredible souls and surrounded by uplifting vibrations on a daily basis. I will be the primary visionary of my business but have someone running the logistical aspects of the day to day. I will be thriving financially and in all aspects of my life. I will be living in a constant state of appreciation for all that I have created in my life. I will wake up eager for the day with my gorgeous, soul-fueled husband by my side as we grow our business and our family together. I will be feeling so good and spreading good vibes supporting souls transformations so people can recognize the value and gift that they are.
What are the key tools that you use for your trade?
Rooted in the practical application of ancient wisdom, I blend transformative techniques from Yoga, Tantra, and deep Breath-work traditions into a transcendent experience of personal power and expansion of self. Inviting soul-seekers to show up, do the work and wake up to their individual potential, I demystify the art of consciousness to increase self-sustained happiness on a global scale.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
My biggest struggle has been understanding what steps I need to take to move forward. I know I offer amazing services but I am learning as I go on the business side. It’s humbling sometimes being 35 and starting over again. I have high work ethics but have no desire to grind, push, or compete. So it’s been interesting to see what’s
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I have not had a mentor however I have been calling one in, as I believe this is the next step needed to take my business to the next level.
What outlets do use to market your healing services?
I have been teaching yoga for almost ten years and the majority of people on my email list have been with me since the beginning. I have a small email list and since moving to Berlin my marketing systems have been getting in front of the right people and making lasting connections. My social accounts – LinkedIn, Instagram, and facebook I have grown organically over the years. When I lead workshops I also host them on Eventbrite but currently don’t have a digital marketing strategy. That is part of bringing a business mentor on board and taking my business to the next stage.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
Good old fashion honesty, and vulnerability coupled with producing quality content that is about serving my students rather than my ego.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
It feels like we are all competing for the better sameness. Millennials are finding structures and strategies that work and duplicating them versus being authentic and creating something new for the marketplace. While this isn’t a bad thing, I would love to see more millennials shift into their soul, their heartfelt creativity and out of their masculine, logical, strategic minds. When we are only in the logical aspect of ourselves we try to win at life, we try to win at success instead of simply enjoying that there is no competition but at the core only love and service.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Get a mentor.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Always trust your intuition. When I was ending my business marriage last year and dealing with lawyers, liquations, and assets, I thought to myself what in the world did I do. I will never come back from this. It was my heart telling me I had to leave my business partner. It was my heart that knew are visions weren’t aligned. But my ego took the breakup and the failed business the hardest.
While it was an extremely challenging time I came out of that lost with more intuition, energy, and purpose than I could imagine. So trust your gut. The universe will support you when you do.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I think balance is a myth. My work is my personal life and vice versa. No matter if I am having coffee with friends, out to dinner with family, or taking a walk with my love I am conversing about consciousness, or how energy works, or neuroscience, or yoga… It’s all one and the same. There is no separation when you are in alignment with your purpose, it’s all unified. Also – I meditate a lot.
A seminal point in your career so far?
I would say when my business failed and I decided to start again and rise from the ashes.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Every time I get to be in the seat of the teacher my entire light amplifies, whether that’s teaching yoga, or leading workshops, or coaching one on one, or speaking, or holding space in breathwork. Anything that involves me holding and supporting transformational growth with my students is the ‘why’ behind doing all the things I don’t enjoy.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
I am at a pivot place in my business where I am too small to build a team, but need to build a team to grow. That’s challenge number one. Challenge number two is to continue to grow and build the team I need capital, but to get capital I either need to increase my prices or sell equity. The good thing about not having a financial investment like I did in my first business, is that I can go as slow as I want and keep checking in with myself on what’s nourishing my soul.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Hands down Jay Shetty. He and I connected on Facebook last year (before he blew up like crazy). He committed on one of my youtube videos and I knew I had to reach out and leave him a thoughtful voicemail. I did and that lead to a friendship I cherish today. Last July I had the honor to connect with him more in person at Afest, by Mindvalley. He offered me incredible business advice and is one of the most genuine human beings I have ever met. He is extremely savvy and smart when it comes to business, but also on an incredible mission to spread wisdom to the masses.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
There are so many. I am currently reading 12 Rules for Life which I absolutely love and just began reading (again) The autobiography of a Yogi
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘Under The Skin’ with Russell Brand.
- ‘Supersoul Conversations’ with Oprah.
- ‘I Love Marketing’ with Joe Polish.
How do you define success?
Thriving through the union of YOU.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means living life on your terms. Moving forward with courage and radical responsibility of the life you have created and the life you are living. Listening to your heart and trusting your inner voice and remembering that you are always on your way – so relax into it and enjoy more of the ride.
Finally, what can we expect from you next throughout 2019?
2019 is the year of exponential growth. I am upleveling my business, my romantic partnership, and my relationship with money. This year is my year of getting shit done. I am staying put (mostly) and creating roots and structures to build the foundational structures I desire in my life cultivating more freedom, more avenues of service, more orgasms, laughter, and heart awakening.
Listen to the Podcast here