Pilates & Breast Cancer w/ Sandy Shimoda

Breast Cancer Recovery for Teachers

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It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in their lifetime and that you will end up teaching at least one of them. In this video, Sandy shares the Arm Chair exercises she used in her own recovery from mastectomy surgery. Join her and you’ll get a full repertoire of safe and effective movements to restore strength, open up scar tissue and range of motion for anyone who has undergone breast cancer treatment. Filmed at Vintage Pilates in West Los Angeles, CA.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Gemshaw1 3 years ago

    Loved hearing your story! I had a double mastectomy and pilates was amazing to help keep my mind and body awake and alive! I was also back in studio after two weeks. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Thank you for sharing YOUR success! It broadens the parameters of possibilities, and reminds us how remarkable the human body is.

  2. nicolefrederic 3 years ago

    That was priceless. Such important information and Sandy delivered it with such grace. Thank you for generously sharing this part of your journey with us.

  3. Holly Quaglia Wells 3 years ago

    Inspiring. Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your joy with so many. I have a client who has been a student of mine for three years and was recently diagnosed with Apraxia as well as Corticobasal Degeneration. After the initial shock of her diagnosis wore off, her attitude was “I just need to keep moving.” Thankfully, she has a great team of doctors who uniformly agree Pilates is probably the best thing that she can be doing. I think the exercises you offer us here would be so applicable to keeping her moving. It’s pretty incredible; her body “should be” deteriorating per her diagnosis, yet she continues to get stronger and more “in control” of her body. We are not blind to what the future holds for her but we are grateful that we can keep her moving and staying strong in the moment. Thank you for sharing your journey and both encouraging and inspiring others.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Your comment touched me deeply. Thank you. It is clear that your work with your client is important and gratifying, and I am pleased that these exercises are valuable to your work together. You are teaching the basic goal of Pilates – movement, using the exercises and equipment that Joe Pilates created. Great work. Very inspiring.

  4. Jennifer Allen

    Tears! That was so helpful and touching, not to mention a good workout for me (having had no surgeries or issues). I have a client going through intense cancer treatments right now with surgery happening in the near future. I look forward to sharing this with her. Thank you!!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Dear Jennifer, so glad you found this helpful. You will be a source of great guidance and support for your client.

  5. keren 4 years ago

    L O V E D this mini workshop!I need these exercises for my post natal rounded shoulders! Thank you for sharing Sandy

  6. InBalance
    InBalance 4 years ago

    Hi Sandy,
    Was not hoping to find something as detailed and touching as this video. Thank you for sharing your experience as I have also found peace with my own diagnosis and balance with the Pilates method. I have done my own rehab and after 4 reconstructive surges find that I am lucky to have implemented the method for over ten years which kept me optimistic in moving within my body’s range om motion through each step. Looking forward to implementing this series to my clients for Pre-Post Op.
    Best regards Sandra

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Sandra – congratulations on you discoveries and victories over ten years. Your story is very inspiring and I would love to hear how these exercises work with your clients. I will be adding more exercises in future videos.

  7. ewapilates
    ewapilates 4 years ago

    Sandy, I must have watched dozens of films with you as a teacher, but I have never anticipated you had experienced breast cancer for yourself;) Jesus; how miserable I feel: how come? This beauty? No!!! Yes! I cannot express how I feel; forgive my anxiety; I am in a state of panic, and your voice and cuing are guiding me through this workout You are there:) Helathy and alive; I’ll keep mouth shut; I will stay with You;quiet:) THANKYOU:)

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Hi ewapilates, Thanks for your feedback. It is natural for you to feel anxious and panicked about the topic of cancer because so many people have suffered from this disease. But I urge you to transform these feelings into peacefulness and hope.

      I, with the support of wonderful family, friends, and fine health care specialists from many disciplines, have used cancer to personalize and improve the way I care for myself. What a precious gift. Having cancer has also deepened my understanding of the importance of Pilates, and I am thankful to Pilatesology for helping me to spread the good word!

      So much of cancer prevention is changing unconscious lifestyle habits and thinking that work against optimal good health. Yes, I am healthy and alive, and taking better care of myself than I ever have. It may be hard to believe, but it is empowering. I never knew what strength I had until I faced cancer, twice. This has been a quiet and personal journey for me until now. My goal in sharing is to gain your help in caring for the many men and women who will need you in their recoveries.

  8. DKimbro 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Learned a lot! Best wishes for good health. Much love 🙂

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      DKimbro, you are welcome! Thank you for your kind wishes and love.

      • Vicki 3 years ago

        thank you so much Sandy, you and your class are an inspiration. This will help me so much with my post natal posture… and you’ve given me ideas to help so many others, looking forward to more!

  9. Dixon 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your insight and experience, Sandy! Very informative and inspirational session. Wishing you continued health and happiness!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Dixon, thank you! I am so happy you found it informative. I have so much to say about what I have learned in my own experience and through working with others recovering from cancer. It can be challenging to break it down.

  10. Luz Alejandra Lovern

    Hi Sandy, very interesting this class, that show yes the movement is healing, I was using some of the equipments with my husband too, when he was able to do. Cancer is really scary how ever keep moving is a our duty as a teacher and Caregiver. Thanks very much for share your experience is very important to know that when we face trauma or others issues our body get affected; but thanks to Pilates we keep moving. Very inspirational video; thanks again hope see you soon, love Luz

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Luz, your husband was lucky to have you to care for him and keep him moving. Thank you for your feedback on this video.

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