Internal Fire Pilates owner Sharon Gallagher-Rivera, Jones Rivera and their one-year-old son Silas on Halloween. Courtesy image.


Internal Fire Pilates owner Sharon Gallagher-Rivera, Jones Rivera and their one-year-old son Silas. Courtesy image.

There are plenty of good reasons why a new business might delay the pomp and circumstance of a Grand Opening Celebration.

But while those delays can often be attributed to logistics, procrastination or the sheer burden of getting a new business off the ground, the time that Sharon Gallagher-Rivera waited to hold the Grand Opening for her business Internal Fire Pilates –the event is set for Saturday afternoon from 1–4pm – is an incredible one.

Gallagher-Rivera, who has been teaching Pilates for nearly 16 years and first started doing so in Mill Valley eight years ago, signed a lease for her new space within Ultimate Fitness at 457 Miller Ave. in July 2013. Less than two months earlier, her husband Jones Rivera, a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, was deployed to Afghanistan, his second deployment to the region.

Gallagher-Rivera was barely three months pregnant at the time of her husband’s deployment.

“At the time, I realized, ‘This is crazy,’” Gallagher-Rivera says of her decision to sign the lease for Internal Fire Pilates. “I had been looking for a space in Mill Valley for a long time, and this one was a great fit. I jumped at the opportunity. But it was a lot to take on.”

She persevered, leaning on and expanding upon her loyal clientele. She stopped teaching at the studio in November to her have her son Silas on November 8. Jones Rivera was able to come home for the birth, and returned officially from his second deployment in June 2014. He’s now a reservist who is on the GI Bill and attending the Culinary Institute in St. Helena.

A year later, Gallagher-Rivera is ready to celebrate a crazy year of going through her pregnancy with her husband overseas, launching a successful business, giving birth to her son and celebrating his first birthday earlier this month.

Internal Fire Pilates is hosting a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 1–4pm, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony, advanced Pilates demos, mini classes, wine and cheese and a raffle for free lessons and other prizes.

Gallagher-Rivera says Internal Fire Pilates is the only Pilates studio in Mill Valley, and possible in all of Marin, that is fully equipped with Classical equipment. That is, equipment specifically designed to fit with the Classical Pilates created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th Century. 

“Our commitment to the Classical system helps us all to envision optimum health for each of our clients and to physically take them beyond where they think they can go,” Gallagher-Rivera says. “I have witnessed some powerful transformations already.”

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