Inside the Pilates Studio: Sandy Shimoda

pilates Sandy Shimoda

It is the beautiful Sandy at Vintage Pilates that kicks my butt every Monday at 2pm. Sometimes she lets Karen Frischmann do it, but I suspect Sandy must miss it very much and always decides she’ll do it again. Friends are often shocked that I will make the 2-hour trip to Los Angeles to have a Pilates lesson but it is all worth it for the knowledge and how good I feel at the end of the sessions. Three main ingredients really: a great teacher, zippy music for the trip and liking your car :).

When I first met Sandy she seemed quite calm and quiet. Gradually I came to discover there’s a whackadoodle residing just under the surface. Awesome. Actually I was a bit relieved.

I can’t say enough about the Vintage Pilates studio. It is a serious place to learn and full of fun friendly people, teachers and students alike. Oh yes, and then there’s Jay Grimes. Make that fun, friendly and world-class.

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?  

Sandy Shimoda: Hmmm…my body is seriously fighting over the answer to that question right now!  There are those exercises that feel so good on my body, then there are those that challenge and invigorate me – I love so many exercises for different reasons.  Well, since the latest addition to Vintage Pilates is the Guillotine, I will say my most RECENT favorite exercise is the dismount from the Guillotine that allows me to swing from my center, stretch through my thighs, then pass through the bridge to come to standing. When I am finished I am inevitably smiling. 

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

SS: It’s hard to even come up with one but I will give it a sincere try.  I don’t love the squirrel because I don’t get the satisfaction of a satisfying stretch along with the control and strength that is required in that exercise.  

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

SS: Physically, I am drawn to movement of any kind and I dig the fact that Pilates has given me the tools to approach any activity with strength and control.  The cherry on top is that I have more ease and freedom whether I am hiking, salsa dancing or scuba diving! Mentally, I appreciate the focus and courage needed to drive my own work out.  Creatively, I love finding the words, the touch, the imagery to lead students deeper into their Pilates work out. 

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

SS: Being present to each miracle, gift, and act of love in every moment (including but not limited to enjoying a green tea latte, sitting on the sand at Sunset beach, watching the sky turn its brilliant hues on a warm Hawaiian night, with the someone I love).

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

SS: To become intolerant (including but not limited to deciding that I had all the answers, rejecting anyone else who thought differently, while barking in English for a decent cup of coffee at an elegant cafe in Italy).

Take 2: Losing a sense of self.  Without it we are beings lost in a crowd of bodies, looking for purpose and questioning our every thought.  When we know who we are and we stay true to ourselves life becomes interesting, full and personal.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

SS: Exhale.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

SS: Guillotine.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

SS: Interior design.  I think it would round out the other 3 I have already enjoyed.

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

SS: Setzen Sie auf Ihrem Leotard!  Am Reformer zu springen! (Ed. note: this loosely translates  to “Put on your leotard! Get on the reformer!”)

10. What did you learn today?

SS: It’ll be alright in the end.  And if it’s not alright. It’s not the end.  (courtesy of Aunt Sookie)


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Andrea Maida

Andrea Maida

A native of Pittsburgh, Andrea began her study of the Pilates method in 2000. She holds two comprehensive certifications from Romana’s Pilates in New York and Excel Movement Studios in Washington, DC.  Andrea continues to study with numerous world-class instructors including Romana Kryzanowska, Jay Grimes, Sari Mejia-Santo, Junghee Kallander, Cynthia Lochard, and Kathryn Ross-Nash whenever possible. Andrea was privileged to be in the inaugural class of The Work at Vintage Pilates under the direction of Jay Grimes, 1st Generation Master Teacher and student of Joseph Pilates.

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