Carrie Dorr is a wellness pioneer. In 2001 she opened her first Pure Barre studio and over 400 studios later, Pure Barre has transformed from growing phenomenon to fitness empire. Pure Barre-ists across the country swear by the technique and live for the wellness-focused community the company has sparked. Carrie now runs wellness site LIFE SMART, Soul Day Foundation and Soul Tote (Soul Day Foundation’s support company) all while still making time for her personal well being. We talked to the entrepreneur, mother of three and philanthropist about the power of self-care and why unplugging is critical.
What does your meditation practice look like?
I meditate first thing every morning for about 15 minutes. I have twin 3 year old girls (Ruby + Ellie), a 4 year old boy (Luke), a husband and a large dog! I’ve found that meditating before any of them are stirring is the best way for me to be consistent. I really focus on my breath, noticing when my brain runs and then just bringing it back to that place of peace and calm.
How do you Undo (de-stress)?
I Undo best moving outdoors. I love to run, hike, bike, snowshoe and nordic ski. Despite living in Colorado, I’m petrified of downhill skiing so it doesn’t make my list. Sometimes I'm with my husband or a friend but most of the time I'm by myself with my headphones on. I find tying movement to a musical rhythm while outside to be the best form of therapy available.
When you were launching Pure Barre, you were living nomadically and opening studios all over the country. Can you share any tips for living mindfully on-the-go?
I didn’t do a great job of living mindfully during that time. I love working and pretty much worked nonstop. I didn’t have the life experience or wisdom I have now. I will say, even during that time, I still worked out daily, ate healthy and got outside - so at least I had that part down!
As a working mom, how do you practice self-care?
I certainly don’t have this figured out. I’m convinced it’s a life-long work in progress. Cognitively I understand, and believe, that taking care of myself makes me a better mom, but emotionally it sometimes feels counter-intuitive and is rarely that simple. A couple years ago I created a spreadsheet called my "SOULDAR.” It lists things that are good for my soul with corresponding dates and a place to “x" the box. I use it not as a to-do list but rather a way to keep self-care on my radar. If I’m feeling off I’ll pull up the spreadsheet and sure enough I will see there are not a lot of “x’s.”
Can you talk about how your organization, Soul Day Foundation, spreads kindness through self-care?
When I began researching the nonprofit space I learned that there were many organizations doing a great job of providing life necessities to people in need but due to financial restraints and staffing shortages, providing more than the basics was not in their bandwidth. My husband and I created the Soul Day Foundation to bring things like bikes, outdoor retreats and totes full of toxin-free hygiene products to those who would not otherwise have that experience. We partner with existing nonprofits to enhance the lives of the people they are serving.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
No matter how smart you are you will make mistakes. You have to be willing to try “stuff" and when something doesn’t work, learn from it and move on. Don’t see it as a failure but rather as part of the process of evolving, growing and making your product or service even better!
How important do you think it is to unplug from technology every once in awhile?
We have experienced massive advances in technology in such a short period of time which is great but we need to learn how to best integrate it into our lives. Studies have shown that connection and reflection are key pieces to human happiness yet we now have terms like “tech-neck”. I consider unplugging not only critical for myself but one of the most important things I can teach my kids. They will grow up with way more screens than I ever did. I’ve been working with them on breathing and how to sit with their eyes closed. It lasts about one minute before someone is head standing or rolling on the ground BUT just this morning Ruby was having a meltdown over something and Luke said to her “just breathe Ruby.” So something must be sticking!