Inspiring Women: WundaBar’s Amy Jordan On Beating Cancer, Caterpillar Soup, And Her New Invention Coming Soon

by Freya Drohan

When Amy Jordan, the founder and creator of WundaBar Pilates, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cervical cancer in 2020, the mom-of-two had ironically felt at her fittest and healthiest. During the pandemic, her subsequent battle against the illness and the multi-faceted treatment journey she went through taught her strength and determination like she’d never known before. And, she documented it all on Instagram to show that despite a health crisis and the lowest of lows, community and movement (when possible) are a shining light in the darkest of times. “I had never seen another fitness pro leading class with no hair on their head from chemotherapy. I aimed to create a safe space for those battling for their health to know that they are welcome to move with me,” she told the Daily. Here’s her inspiring story.

What did you originally think you wanted to be when you grew up?
An artist, or a hat store owner. One of those came true—in both of my career paths, I create daily!

When and how did you discover Pilates?
In 2006 I took a class in Hollywood and was immediately hooked. It was an hour of the day in which I didn’t focus on the issues in the outside world. I felt strong and present inside my body doing Pilates. And I knew I wanted to share that empowerment with the world.

What was it that really hooked you?
The idea of empowering others and feeling myself heal emotionally and physically with movement—it’s my passion and vision to this day. To teach people how to feel amazing from the inside, out.

What were you doing when you decided to make Pilates your career?
I was actually a SVP of marketing at the illustrious American franchise, Marvel. Despite my successful career in the superhero universe, I had my own ideas about making an impact on the world. I was deeply passionate about Pilates after experiencing first-hand the difference it had made in my own life. I quit my job and opened my first studio in 2008 in my home town of Montrose, CA.

And when did the inspiration for WundaBar strike?
Fueled by my in-depth study of traditional Pilates and the desire to share wellness through movement far and wide, inspiration struck again in 2010, as I sketched the now-patented WundaFormer, and envisioned WundaBar Pilates.

For those unfamiliar, can you explain the workout?
Wundabar is like no other workout—it combines the beautiful anatomy-focused work of Pilates with a high energy, group class to achieve your strong, sculpted, sleek physique without heavy impact on your joints, while strengthening your core and cranking up your heart rate. Our cardio-conditioning and powerful movement classes are 45 intense and efficient minutes spent to feel amazing in your own skin.

What has it been like creating a workout concept and community?
I knew I found my life’s passion after I’d watch clients walk in with their gaze down and the weight of the world on their shoulders—only to walk out 45 minutes later with a smile, head held high, and radiating positive energy. This is a powerful experience to share with people and it creates a bond among the team and clients very quickly. Growing the studios on the East Coast was a massive undertaking, as I live and raise my two young kids in LA. I had to learn to find, develop, and lead a team of amazing studio runners who now shine everyday sharing the WundaLove in New York and New Jersey!

You were diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic. What was life like for you right before diagnosis?
I was diagnosed in June of 2020. The pandemic was in full swing, all ten WundaBar Pilates studios were closed, I was homeschooling a kindergartener and a third grader, and teaching live streaming classes from my living room for our WundaBar On Demand community. Things were already upside down, and I was arguably the healthiest person around. And then, out of nowhere, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cervical cancer. It was imperative for me to start treatment immediately, and after a second opinion and additional scans I started chemotherapy six days later.

What lifestyle changes did you implement during treatment?
Guided meditation. I knew that my head and heart had to put everything into this fight. I embraced Western and Eastern approaches to healing—and it worked! All of the expected cancer treatments like chemo, surgery, radiation (with an incredible Oncologist) , and prayer, meditation, breath work, essential oils, vitamins, sunshine, water, and my supportive tribe. It took all of that to beat cancer.

What kept you going everyday during the fight against the disease?
I fought so damn hard, every day. There was a season in which we weren’t sure what the outcome would be, but I always believed I’d make it through. I was committed to doing every single thing I could to survive for my children.

Why has it been rewarding to you to document the battle on social media?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: MOVEMENT HEALS. The fitness space is so often focused on featuring this expectation of perfect health. It’s simply not real. I wanted to share how even during an epic health crisis, that movement can and still will be healing on the days that you can move. I wanted to invite people struggling with illness to move with me. I had never seen another fitness pro leading class with no hair on their head from chemotherapy. I aimed to create a safe space for those battling for their health to know that they are welcome to move with me.

 

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A post shared by Amy Jordan (@amyjordanofficial)

What advice can you offer to people enduring similar treatment right now?
Use every tool you’ve got. Western. Eastern. Family. Friends. Faith. Hope.

Since beating cancer, have you adopted any new mantras or approaches to life?
Caterpillar Soup. We often romanticize the notion of a caterpillar climbing into its chrysalis and magically emerging one day as a beautiful butterfly. Is it magical? You bet. But it’s also a dark, scary, painful process. That caterpillar literally disintegrates to become a butterfly. But in hindsight, that journey provides a lot of perspective. Because just when you think you can’t get through a dark and scary journey…you do get through it. And now you have wings.

What are some other non-negotiable daily rituals for you and your family now?
We focus so much on the present moment, and on peace. I’ve always been a deeply invested mom spending loads of time with my kids, but small habit shifts have happened. For example, I charge my phone in the other room when they get home from school. We started doing child-friendly meditations together. They gave me hope for life during my battle, and I am deeply grateful for the moments of life we have been gifted together.

 

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A post shared by Amy Jordan (@amyjordanofficial)

What’s ahead for you and WundaBar in 2022?
This is SO exciting. I scouted a new LA studio location yesterday while my team simultaneously scouted a new NY location 3,000 miles away. You can expect more studio expansion, new workouts for WundaBar On Demand for our streaming WundaLovers worldwide, and I’ve cooked up another new invention! In Summer 2022 we will release the WundaCore Resistance Ring. I created a brand new fitness prop to use in-studio and at home that helps you find your core in every exercise! We are in development now, with a Kickstarter launch in March 2022 and the WundaCore Resistance Ring on shelf this summer. Stay tuned for a first look at this coming soon @wundacore.

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