After spending several years traveling for his career as a personal trainer, Ted Giannakis decided along with his wife Lucy Koliussi that it was time to settle down after the birth of their first child. So in February 2013, the couple took over ownership of Mission Street Yoga & Pilates in South Pasadena, which had been in business since 2002.
“I’ve been a personal trainer since 1998 and have been in the industry for a long time,” said Giannakis. “It was time for us to settle down and raise our family. We decided to go brick-and-mortar so that we weren’t all over the place because I was traveling all the time.”
Added Koliussi: “We had received our certification in yoga, mainly for personal growth. Then it just so happened that we stumbled across this beautiful little studio in this great community. We thought that it would be a nice transition to move over here and start our family. When we took over, the studio needed a lot of TLC. We worked really hard to tune in with the community and instructors to understand what was needed so that we could fill the gap. The response was very positive, and even now we continue to reach out for feedback.”
Mission Street Yoga & Pilates offers a variety of classes such as Basics, Gentle Yoga, Restorative, Pilates Sculpt and Kids Yoga for ages 4 to 7 and ages 8 to 12. Both private yoga instruction and group classes are available, and the studio also offers various workshops that include sound baths and meditation. Class sizes range from 18 to 25, depending on the class. For added convenience, clients can sign up for classes via the website or using the MINDBODY app.
Currently, the studio is offering a special that gives new students the first week of classes free and a 10 percent discount on the first series or prepay package that they purchase within their first free week. There are various prepay and autopay packages available, along with a rewards program.
The instructors and staff are another important part of Mission Street Yoga & Pilates, and the schedule currently features 12 regularly scheduled instructors with years of expertise.
“Our instructors are a big component of our business and our desk staff are the backbones of this place,” said Koliussi. “We pay close attention to who we choose and who represents us. They really bring the feelings that we want the community to feel to life. These people have dedicated their lives to studying yoga and its various aspects. Some of the instructors have been here for 15 years and the community knows them well and loves them, and we love them too. We do our best to keep them happy so they can continue to teach and bring their own flair to the classes.”
Another thing that makes Mission Street Yoga & Pilates unique is the versatile and creative curriculum that is based on each teacher’s individual strengths.
“We offer yoga for all,” said Giannakis. “We don’t dictate the curriculum, and our instructors teach according to their strengths. That’s how we make this very versatile, but for everyone. It’s not driven from the top down; it’s actually inspired by the creativity of the instructors.”
Giving back is also important to Giannakis and Koliussi, who offer an annual Thanksgiving donation class that benefits Union Station Homeless Services. They also participate in Toys for Tots and donate to local schools and various silent auctions.
After the couple had their second child in 2015, the following year Giannakis opened Freestyle Fitness, a full-service personal training health and fitness center, which occupies its own space within Mission Street Yoga.
“We often say that we have four babies,” Koliussi laughed. “The two studios are like our children. Our sons Alexi and Stefano have been here from the very beginning. They take the kids yoga together and it has helped them so much in school with their focus and concentration. The yoga classes here have been really great for our kids.”
While the couple’s days are kept busy as a result of running both businesses, customer service always remains a top priority at Mission Street Yoga & Pilates.
“We enjoy the community and people of South Pasadena,” said Giannakis. “We aim high and always strive to over-deliver, especially when it comes to customer service.”
Added Koliussi: “Customer service is the A to Z of our business. We like to be as accommodating and helpful to our customers as we can be. We are a non-exclusive yoga studio that welcomes all ages, levels and abilities. We want to help people heal, improve their lives, be happy and healthy. If we can help them achieve those goals and be that positive thing in their life that they look forward to, that’s very fulfilling to us. If you make yoga a regular practice and a part of your life, the benefits you will reap are endless.”
Mission Street Yoga & Pilates is located at 1017 Mission St. in South Pasadena. It is open Monday and Wednesday from 8:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8:55 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (626) 441-1144 or visit www.missionstreetyoga.com.
Mission Street Yoga Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 11.29.19. Support Local Business.