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Khristen Pahler

Though Khristen Pahler is a Pilates and yoga instructor by profession, her volunteer duties climbed to the top of her to-do list last month. The part owner of Twisted Bodies Pilates & Yoga studio is very much involved with nonprofit Susan G. Komen; ever since she and her friend-slash-business partner Carissa Laitinen-Kniss officially opened their studio in August 2013, the space has been set up as an official donation center and sponsor for the Race for the Cure.  
 
“Throughout the year, we collect donations and run fundraisers, and then when they have their big 5K every year, we come up and lead the warm-up for the race,” says the Denton resident.  
 
If that isn’t impressive enough, Khristen’s daughters Adria, 11, and Emaleigh, 10, share their mom’s altruistic tendencies: They, too, volunteer with the organization. For Khristen and her girls, the purpose of the organization hits close to home. Khristen’s mom passed away from breast cancer in 2009, so working with Susan G. Komen is a passion project for the three.  
 
Whether fundraising for Susan G. Komen or teaching a yoga glass, passion is the underlying thread that Khristen strives to weave into all her pursuits. When she was just 3 years old and living abroad (her dad was in the military), she was enrolled in ballet because of developmental issues with her feet. But her “therapy” evolved into a love for dance, so much so that Khristen ended up performing with a small ballet company in Bedford, England.  
 
As an adult, Khristen thrived in a decade-long career in real estate field, but she didn’t find her true calling until after she gave birth to her girls. Prior to her first pregnancy, the 5'2" then-25-year-old weighed a nimble 90 pounds. But in the last four months of her pregnancy, she gained 65 pounds. After her daughter was born, Khristen started practicing yoga and Pilates to get back into shape. But she encountered a bit of a roadblock on her path to a leaner physique when she became pregnant with Adria’s little sister. Despite the fitness setback, it was actually her children who paved the way to her being fit and, ultimately, to her vocation; if it wasn’t for her kids, Khristen says she may not have had the opportunity to meet Carissa.    
 
“I met my friend and business partner through our children who went to preschool together, and our 10-year-olds are best friends,” Khristen reveals. “They just love each other to death. She’s got two boys and I’ve got two girls, and we started working out together with our Pilates and training together.”  
 
In 2012, the two moms started a business as personal trainers before officially opening their own studio in 2013. Now teaching six classes daily, Khristen’s schedule is packed but extremely satisfying. In order to stay motivated, she makes sure not to take herself too seriously. “I just like to have fun with it,” she says. “[At the studio] we laugh, we tell jokes; our clients are a fun bunch.”  
 
With an “office” decked with bars, poles and aerial silks, Khristen has no problem getting her girls to hang out at the studio while she works in the evenings. Her clients all know Adria and Emaleigh, and the two keep themselves busy by doing homework and helping Mom clean up around the studio. Of course, if they’re in the mood to exercise, they’re at the right place. “Every so often they’ll put their mats out and do some Pilates or some yoga, but they really like the aerial fitness that we do … they like flipping in and out of that fabric and have a lot fun with those,” Khristen shares.   
 
Her daughters are also fans of their dad’s favorite activities. Khristen’s husband Raymond, a supervisor at JPMorgan Chase, is an avid biker and runner, so the girls love to jog with their dad.
 
Finding the right career may still be in the far future for Adria and Emaleigh, but Khristen hopes that when the time comes, they’ll follow Mom’s footsteps by pursuing something they truly enjoy.  
 
“I think it’s good for them to see their parents working — and not just working a job but being passionate about something,” Khristen says. “I want them to figure out early in life you don’t need to have a job just to make money. I wish I had figured that out 15 years ago … but I’ve got it now, and I’m going to keep holding it!”