Allison W. Gryphon has been committed to Portland native Sebastien Lagree’s Pilates Plus SPX Fitness program for years. In the beginning, she attended classes for what they gave her physically and emotionally. Then, at the age of 38, Allison was diagnosed with stage 3a breast cancer. The workout became her lifeline.

When she was diagnosed, Allison had five amazing things going for her: a great diet, a solid exercise regimen, a good attitude, a proactive support system and a hell-bent desire to kick cancer’s ass. One of the ways she did that was through Pilates.

Allison W Gryphon and Sebestian Lagree

Here, she shares five tips for how she used Pilates during her treatments, and how you can, too.

Five Pilates Exercises For Breast Cancer Fighters
(And a Reminder to Always Consult Your Doctor First)

  1. Plié, Plié, Plié. Breast cancer surgery typically comes with a lymph node dissection and the combination of incisions can leave your upper body out of commission. Engaging your glutes and the muscles in your legs to plié makes getting in and out of bed and up and down out of chairs much more manageable.
  2. The Long Spine Stretch. Chemotherapy is a dump of chemicals that is likely to stiffen up your muscles, that of course in addition to the stress factor. I found the long spine stretch to feel like a mini detox massage and I did my best to start every day with it. It was both soothing and empowering.
  3. Arm Circles. Radiation for breast cancer can have an impact. For me, everything in that area became tight. With daily radiation it was important for me to stay on top of it. Doing arm circles really opened me up and provided me with relief.
  4. Psoas Stretch. Tests, scans, appointments and treatment make for a lot of sitting and sometimes not in the most comfortable positions. For me the psoas stretch was essential and felt fantastic providing a release to my hips and mid section which impacted my entire body.
  5. Encouragement Extension. Fighting cancer is a team sport and a regular workout can do wonders for your emotional wellbeing. Not only are you taking charge, but you’re letting the people around you see just what you’re made of, which tends to empower everyone. It’s a win-win.

Please always remember to talk with your doctor about exercise during treatment.
All of our bodies are different and we need to do what’s best for us.

To learn more about Allison, how she fought and continues to fight cancer with fitness and more, check out her documentary (featuring Pilates guru Sebastien Lagree) What The F@#- is Cancer and Why Does Everybody Have It? available January 7th exclusively on iTunes.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. My next door neighbor, a 32 year old triathlon winner, father of 2 and a priest was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric (yes, pediatric) cancer last year. He finished treatment and then proceeded to do a 500 mile bicycle race. If you can continue fitness endeavors during cancer treatment, I say go for it!

Comment here! I love to hear from funky fit folks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s