By some random touch of fate we came across Kara of Kara Duval Pilates, on instagram and were immediately refreshed and inspired by her presence. We really appreciate the clarity, knowledge, and no b/s attitude that she brings to an industry that is often fraught with confusion and the underlying threads of some of the darker aspects of our culture ( shame, body image, exclusivity, etc). She shows up with her deep knowledge to share a message of sustainable strength, body awareness, and movement for a lifetime of living well - a true breath of fresh air! It was such a pleasure to hear from Kara about her life and work. Enjoy! xo.
Our Maya Meditation Cushions chez Kara.
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your “story” and what you do for a living?
I am a Pilates/movement specialist currently living in the South End of Boston with my fiancé, Ben and our Irish Setter, River. I come from a classical ballet background and after years of constantly telling my body it was never enough, I had a personal breakthrough in my mid 20’s and realized that living a more sustainable lifestyle filled with supportive, nourishing movement was what I was really desiring. After years of instructing in Boston, I founded my online movement based platform, Range, during the height of the pandemic. Range now welcomes thousands of movers from every corner of the Earth. With a tagline of “sustainable movement designed for the long haul”, my teaching philosophy is to guide us into a lifetime of movement freedom via mobility, strength and overall awareness. Range is an incredibly warm, humorous and inclusive approach to movement for human’s of all ages, histories and abilities. Though we have been in Boston for years, we are craving the space and solitude of Vermont and plan to move there as soon as we find a home. The outdoors, the space, the mountains, the solitude...they’re calling my name.
At Territory, we use the term “creating space” to mean both the creation of a beautiful physical space but also a space that allows us to relax and be present. What are some of your favorite pieces to create that home sanctuary?
“Creating wind” and “taking up space” are two of my most common phrases on Range, so I knew I would bond with this question! I am the definition of a “home-body” and love to be both comfortable and inspired by the space that I am in. Our collection of vintage rugs is the first thing that comes to mind. Though the colors and textures immediately draw you in, I find great comfort in knowing that they were loved before they got to me and I love imagining who they once belonged too. Depending on the season, weather or personal mood, I love to shift smaller pieces of art, rugs, ceramics, baskets around the home to create a feeling that is fresh and current. Though there are small things that shift, I am ultimately a creature of habit. I love the ritual of making the bed every morning (with linen sheets) and spritzing the sheets with an essential oil blend that was made specifically for me. I begin each morning by lighting a candle and rolling out the bottoms of my feet with a massage ball. Those little rituals are grounding, familiar and safe.
I think that we’ve all had our own “butterfly coming out of the cocoon” moments over the past few years. I was recently told that my energy has shifted quite a bit and though at first I didn’t see it, I now completely agree. Life was rushed. Life was constantly demanding. I ignored internal and external signals for years which resulted in living a life filled with worry and anxiety. When I look at myself now, the biggest transformation is my ability to trust myself and be present in the moment. When it comes to making small business related decisions, I’ve fully leaned into trusting my intuition. I’ve become so much more open to asking for help, to taking time away, to doing things that are in the best interest for my physical and mental health without guilt. I refer to the image of an Arrow quite a bit. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is that we all deserve to pull the bow back to release the arrow forward. For me, that looks like saying “yes” to fewer opportunities so that I can be fully present and energetic with my commitments. It looks like welcoming a smaller group of friends, so that I can fully support and engage with those friendships. For so long we lived at warp speed, and it’s amazing to watch us shift into a slower, more meaningful lifestyle.
How do you stay grounded when things get stressful?
In my newfound discovery of not biting off more than I can feasibly chew, I find that moments of extreme stress are usually a signal that I need to temporarily step away to recalibrate. This can look as simple as walking 2 blocks to my local coffee shop for a cappuccino or taking a weekend trip up to Vermont. I find that briefly removing yourself and centering makes you see a more clear path ahead. I also shift priorities during these time periods such as, “Can this email wait a bit longer?”, “Does this task need my full attention right now?”. I am the type that wants to quickly knock things off the list but sometimes it’s necessary to have a little more patience with yourself and others. When in doubt, you will never regret taking yourself out on a walk and getting some fresh air.
What are some of your most important self-care routines/rituals you engage in?
An early morning rise to wake up with the day
Making my bed
Rolling out my feet and deep breathing exercises
Taking 10 minutes in between clients/sessions
Spending time outdoors everyday
Playing with River
Dandelion tea before bed
Early bed time
What are three things you can’t live without?
I went with the 3 things that immediately came to mind! My dog, River, really good sourdough bread, and fresh mountain air. If I can add in a 4th, I would say May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon.
Who is someone that inspires you? Why?
Speaking of May Lindstrom...what a gift to this earth. Because I am a small business owner myself, I love supporting and sharing the makers that I believe are doing great things and living their truth. She truly has her hands and heart in every aspect of her business and it’s evident through her beautiful products, handwritten notes, and warm instagram presence. She treats her employees like family, responds to every message and values the sustainability of her products. She is a total beam of light and I am constantly inspired by her ethics.
At Territory, we are always balancing our relationship to material goods with consciousness. What are some buying practices you engage in to make sure your consumption habits are balanced and sustainable?
This is something I am incredibly passionate about. I truthfully do need believe we need many “things”. When it comes to fashion, I love supporting smaller designers who are transparent about their sustainability. When it comes to making a purchase, I do my research and think long and hard before making the investment. That’s what it is, an investment. I believe in purchasing less but investing in materials, pieces, that you will treasure for decades to come. As I mentioned before with my collection of vintage rugs, I do my best to purchase clothing and many home goods second hand so that I am not adding to waste consumption. Treasure the things you own.