Strength, Redefined

Every woman defines wellness in her own way, and for WundaBar Pilates Founder Amy Jordan, that comes with a big dose of acceptance: “As a Mom of two, knowing who I want to raise in this world guides my belief when it comes to wellness: You are perfect wherever you are today, and my goal is to empower you to have the best experience in your own skin!” It’s a resetting of what strength means that helped the WundaBar wonderkind take on a cancer diagnosis from a position of power and positivity. For our Women’s Month focus on wellness, we asked Amy to share how she built a career out of her passion for pilates—and how it helped her tackle cancer amid a global pandemic.

What is the philosophy behind WundaBar Pilates?

I created WundaBar Pilates to strengthen, empower and support a community of like-minded individuals who strive to better their health and wellness both physically and mentally. It's never been about "bikini bodies," it's always been about workouts that improve your functionality—and oh yeah, you'll look great too because your body wants to be toned and conditioned to live a full and vibrant life. When I began practicing Pilates in 2006 I was journeying through a difficult time in my own life. This workout soon became my passion, and I left a career as an Entertainment Marketing Executive to open my first Pilates studio in 2008. Fueled by my continued study of traditional Pilates and the desire to share wellness through movement far and wide, inspiration struck again in 2010, and I sketched the now-patented WundaFormer, and envisioned WundaBar Pilates. In 2017, I translated the in-studio experience on the WundaFormer to a repertoire that can be done on the mat, extending the reach and benefits of the WundaBar Pilates Method beyond the studio walls. We serendipitously launched in early March 2020, and have connected with clients online all year—and are so excited to be re-opening in select CA studios outdoors and all three NYC studios are open now.

How did your position as a fitness leader who has long prioritized wellness help you meet your recent cancer battle with strength?

Getting a cancer diagnosis smack in the middle of a global pandemic was daunting to say the least—but one of the positive aspects was coming into the battle strong and ready to fight. It was paramount to be healthy in all other ways, so that every ounce of healing energy focused on ridding my body of cancer. My doctors and I didn’t have anything else to contend with so we could treat the cancer that was invading my body with direct and aggressive treatments. I went through 90 hours of chemo, a radical hysterectomy and 25 days of radiation. No small feat, and lots of side effects to endure, but it is now done. As the leader of WundaBar Pilates, this gorgeous community of like-minded WundaBabes supporting me through such an epic journey shared genuine hope and love. I received constant encouragement from our worldwide WundaLovers who have worked out with me in the studios or online. They shared their prayers, love and cheered me on through those dark days. Positivity and hope flowed to me from every corner of the world and I am deeply grateful for it!

What surprised you most about fighting a serious illness?

Believe it or not, I have chosen to see having cancer as a gift. Not a gift I would wish on anyone; but a gift in the sense that it brings you to the very core of things (no Pilates pun intended). Staring death in the face for months on end brings a deep sense of clarity and focus to what you value, love and desire for the future. You lose all energy for anything that is not worthy of your time and can easily let the small stuff go. It allows me to consistently stay in a peaceful and happy mindset with immense gratitude to be on the other side and get back to life!

What message would you have for other women going through health challenges of their own?

Find the best path to peace and acceptance for you through the journey. For me, it was so helpful to move and do Pilates on days when I felt up for it; on the days I did not, I used guided meditation and prayer to calm my spirit. Having a way to get out of a focus on pain, nausea or fear will be enormously helpful to get through it. My tribe, who dubbed themselves “Amy’s Angels,” were also a tremendous source of strength for me. They had a group text thread coordinating everything from rides to the hospital, to time with my kids, to collective prayers. Knowing your people are there for you buoys you through a difficult season. Lastly, stay off the dang Internet. Statistics, symptoms, scary stories—they’re not you. Stay focused on your own journey and healing yourself.

Do you have any personal mantras or other sources of inspiration you lean on?

My lifelong best friend shared this concept with me: When a caterpillar goes into a chrysalis to transform into a butterfly, it thinks it is dying. It is dark, it is scary, it is painful, its body is literally disintegrating. However, this breakdown is required in order to transform into a butterfly. This breakdown is required in order to grow wings. Because even though that caterpillar was so cool with all of those legs, its fuzzy body, its bendy shapes—now it has wings to fly.

What is one simple thing/small shift any woman can do today to bring more wellness into her life?

Consistency is key! Make moving your body part of your routine every day. Can’t make it to the gym? Take a walk. Do plank holds—get your blood moving even for 15 minutes, and your body and spirit will thank you!