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Life and Work with Yanaika Harrigan and Airel Garcia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yanaika Harrigan and Airel Garcia.

Yanaika and Airel, please share your story with us. 
After becoming friends while working at another Pilates studio, we soon realized that we had so much in common. Besides both being Latina, one an immigrant from Central America and the other a first-generation Mexican-American, we shared the same love for Pilates, affection for our clients, and the same dream of owning our own business. We decided to combine our experience and expertise to open a Pilates studio that could help change the lives of our clients through exercise. We worked together to build our ideal studio, The Core Center. We believe in personally tailoring each workout to our clients’ specific needs, while always promoting posture awareness and proper muscle conditioning.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Opening your own business is in no way a smooth road. There are so many variables that you must deal with on a day-to-day basis, unlike when you are just working at a studio as a staff instructor. From day one, you worry about acquiring new clients, keeping your current clients and staff happy, paying the rent, etc. There are hundreds of more items on this checklist. But once the owner’s mindset takes over, it’s very empowering. And, now that we are a few years into our business, we know we made the right decision. Working for someone else and not fulfilling our own passion would have been much harder for us.

So, to all the young (and not so young) woman out there that want to blaze their own trail, our advice is to not get discouraged by paying your dues. Go to school, get that certification and learn from those who have more experience. But, when it comes time to make your move, the one you are really passionate about – work hard, be diligent and believe in yourself. You can do it.

Please tell us about The Core Center Pilates Studio.
Our Studio is different from most Pilates studios because we are both trained in Physical Therapy. And not only is our amazing staff friendly and caring, but they are all certified under a physical therapy-based Pilates program, as well. This gives us an unequaled understanding of anatomy and how each exercise affects our clients’ bodies. It also enables us to better tailor workouts for clients with limitations due to illness, injury, pregnancy, advanced age, etc. We see all types of clients: male, female (including pre- and postnatal); teenagers to seniors; and beginners to the very advanced.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
The Pilates industry itself is already a very female-driven industry. There are so many opportunities for a receptionist, all the way to studio owner. It has provided us not only the opportunity to be our own bosses but full-time moms, as well. We both have children under the age of seven and we are very involved in their daily lives. Since we can create our own schedules, we get the chance to attend school events, help with drop-offs and pick-ups, etc. And, by practicing Pilates ourselves, we stay healthy and have the energy to accomplish whatever comes our way, whether it be a family or business matter.


  • Single Private Pilates Session $85 (45 min.)
  • 5 Private Pilates Sessions $415 ($83/session)
  • 10 Private Pilates Sessions $800 ($80/session)
  • Semi-Private Pilates Session $45 per person (2 students)
  • Single Reformer Pilates Class $30 per person (3-4 students)
  • Prenatal & Postnatal Pilates Session (see private session/package pricing above)

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