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Yoga

Focus on your health this fall: participate in the National Fitness Challenge

The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired is proud to be one of three California partners with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the Anthem Foundation for the National Fitness Challenge in 2018.

The goal of the National Fitness Challenge is to raise the physical activity levels of each participant to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes 10,000 steps and 30 active minutes per day.

The campaign provides participants with Fitbits to track their steps and fitness activity between October and May.

In addition to helping participants find creative ways to increase their daily steps by matching them with fitness partners and offering discounted gym memberships, the LightHouse supports participants throughout the course of the campaign with a wide variety of fitness and wellness programming and services.

Join us in the coming months for a variety of activities, from hiking to yoga and beyond! To foster overall wellbeing, we also have non-fitness oriented programs in lifestyle skills like cooking and technology.

At the LightHouse, you can:

Blindness is not the barrier many think it is to achieving your fitness goals and enjoying greater well-being — and the LightHouse is here to help get into the rhythm.  It’s not too late to join the NFC if you already have a Fitbit — we welcome new participants to join throughout the campaign.

For more information on the National Fitness Challenge, For more information, contact Amber Sherrard at asherrard@lighthouse-sf.org.

Meet Amber Sherrard, our new Health and Wellness Program Coordinator

“At the start of my childhood, I remember being happy, fearless, and free. But as I reluctantly grew up in a world designed for people to live with sight, I developed a deep fear characterized by tough questions with no answers.” Amber Sherrard has a knack for summing up the existential fear that can come with a major change in vision; and with Retinitis Pigmentosa setting in early in her life, Amber needed to develop a strong sense of who she was, outside of the level of her eyesight.

Before Amber began hitting the gym on a regular basis, finding dignity and self-worth through her ever changing situation at times felt impossible “I found bits and pieces of solitude in poetry, music, and theater,” she says, “but each time I was alone, the thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘why me’ returned. Deep in my innermost being, I knew I was called to a higher purpose, but when the negative thoughts and intense fear were upon me, it seemed like ‘someday’ would never come.”

Today, Amber is a powerlifter, a yoga instructor, and an incredibly motivating person to be around. Amber might seem like she’s got it all figured out to other blind people who find just stepping foot in a gym a little intimidating – but she started from square one, like everyone else. Amber also knows that health and wellness is about more than pumping iron, which is why in her new role at LightHouse, she is hosting regular workshops on healthy eating, yoga and inner-body exercises to improve the health of the “whole you.”

Amber remembers her ah-ha moment well: Fresh out of high school and on the first day of her blindness training program, her travel instructor, Arlene, told her about the gym across the street – a place called Curves. Arlene showed her how to get there, showed her the ropes and in doing so, eliminated the anxiety Amber might have felt getting to know a brand new gym.

The result was what Amber calls a “frenzy of independence.” Within a few short weeks, she was hooked, suddenly taking joy in a body that she once thought of as ordinary, now amazing. “I can remember people walking up to me and asking if I was an athlete or what sport I played,” she recalls, “those were my favorite compliments. I felt unstoppable. I felt as if my mind and body were so sharp and strong, that I could handle anything in life with grace, dignity, and ease.”

After graduating her blindness training program, Amber had a new mission: helping people find complete freedom, independence, and self-worth through health and fitness, just as she had done.

Amber received her bachelor’s degree In Nutrition and Dietetics from Louisiana Tech University.  There, she enjoyed a vibrant new social life and joined the Powerlifting team, competing in two nationals and one world competition, “I was the only blind person on my team and at nationals, but that meant nothing to me,” she says, “I was out to author and create a life that I loved. My entire being radiated with freedom, joy, and happiness and people noticed. For a young, single, black woman, who was legally blind, my life was extraordinary.”

Going on to become a Registered Nutrition and Dietetic Technician (NDTR) and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) Amber taught yoga full-time through grad school, eventually earning a masters degree in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Health Promotion from Northwestern State University. Finally earning a credential as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Amber wanted to turn her education into a new opportunity to mobilize a community in a bigger way than she had before.

We are pleased to welcome Amber to the team at LightHouse, and hope that you’ll sign up for one of her upcoming classes. Her next class is our first Saturday wellness retreat – a free 2-hour yin-yoga workshop from 1 PM to 3 PM in LightHouse’s 11th floor fitness and yoga studio.

Interested in learning more? Contact Amber at asherrard@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7353.

Yoga with Kimm: New Class Times

Photo: Kimm Ropicky sits in a yoga pose (photo by Karolina Zapolska).

Yoga helps promote physical, mental and spiritual balance and can provide you with a foundation of flexibility and centeredness. If you experience challenges with balance and mobility, yoga can assist you in increasing your strength and tone, providing you with the confidence you may be striving for in your daily life.

No experience with yoga is necessary – Instructor Kimm Ropicky will work with you no matter what level of experience you have. Class times are below and you must register prior to attending, or complete registration upon your first day of participation.

Who: Students ages 14 and up and their blind or sighted friends.
Where: the 11th Floor Fitness Studio at LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94103.
When: Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Each class is 75 minutes. Yoga mats, blocks and belts will be provided.
Class fee: $10 per class. This class is open to the public, blind or sighted, so bring a friend!
Please note: Classes close 10 minutes after the start time.
Space is limited, so sign up now.

Special trial offer for LightHouse Students! If you are a LightHouse Student and want to try out a yoga class for free, please speak with our Information Concierge, Esmeralda Soto, for a complimentary yoga class pass. You may speak to Esmeralda when you visit the LightHouse or call her at 415-694-7323. (Passes must be picked up in person, are for LightHouse Students only and must be submitted to the yoga instructor.)

Contact Serena Olsen at solsen@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7316.

Note: Yoga may require intense physical exertion. While it can be modified to meet your needs, we suggest that if you have any concerns prior to participating, please consult your doctor.

About Kimm Ropicky

Kimm’s yoga journey began in the Midwest during a college elective course. While the location of her practice has changed since then, her focus on body alignment, strength, and flexibility remains. Over the years, her practice has grown increasingly mindful, expanding to encompass more than just the physical poses. For Kimm, yoga has become a safe space to work through emotions and relieve stress. It is this focus that led her to become a teacher, deepen her personal practice, and begin to share this mindful space with everyone who enters her classes.

Kimm provides her students with a playful, core-focused yoga, designed to promote strength, flexibility and focus. Her creative sequencing encourages students of all levels to try something new. Hands-on assists and thorough explanations of body alignment create a safe and supportive environment to learn and explore. Kimm is certified with Pete Guinosso’s “Lighting the Path” Teacher Training and has achieved RYT-200 designation (successfully completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program) with Yoga Alliance.

Summer Yoga with Meagan Lynch

We know you’re trying to get your steps in as part of the National Fitness Challenge, but don’t underestimate the value of strength and balance training to help you reach your cardio goals. Yoga may help you increase your tone and improve balance and mobility to provide you with some extra oomph in your physical and everyday life.

Come stretch with our summer instructor Meagan Lynch! No knowledge of yoga is necessary – Meagan will work with you no matter what level of experience you have. Class times are below and you must register prior to attending, or complete registration upon your first day of participation.Meagan smiles while putting her hands together in namaste.

Who: Students ages 14 and up and their blind or sighted friends.

Where: Fitness Studio at LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco

When: Mondays at 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. Classes last 75 minutes. (Please note that beginning in Monday, June 5, classes will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:45 PM, both days.) Classes close 10 minutes after the start time.

Class fee: $10 per class. Yoga mats, blocks and belts will be provided. This class is open to the public, blind or sighted, so bring a friend!

For inquiries or to RSVP, contact Evening & Weekend Program Coordinator Serena Olsen at solsen@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7316.

Note: Yoga may require intense physical exertion. While it can be modified to meet your needs, we suggest that if you have any concerns prior to participating, please consult your doctor.

The National Fitness Challenge is Off to a Racing Start

The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired is a proud partner with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the Anthem Foundation in rolling out the 2017 National Fitness Challenge (NFC) in the Bay Area.

The campaign provides 25 participants with Fitbits to track their steps and fitness activity from March through November 2017. The goal of the NFC is to raise the fitness and activity levels of participants to recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of 10,000 steps and 30 active minutes per day and to improve overall fitness levels in the blind and low vision community.

In addition to helping participants find creative ways to increase their daily steps by matching them with fitness partners and offering discounted gym memberships, the LightHouse supports participants throughout the course of the campaign with a wide variety of fitness programming and services. We also organize attendance to special events, including VIP access to the annual Cycle for Sight tandem bike ride in Napa on Saturday, April 22 and joining a blind centipede in San Francisco’s annual Bay to Breakers run on Sunday, May 21.

At the LightHouse, you can:

Blindness is not the barrier many think it is to achieving your fitness goals and enjoying greater well-being — and the LightHouse is here to help get into the rhythm.  It’s not too late to join the NFC if you already have a Fitbit — we welcome new participants to join throughout the campaign.

For more information on the National Fitness Challenge, LightHouse services mentioned here, Cycle for Sight or Bay to Breakers, contact Evening & Weekend Program Coordinator Serena Olsen at solsen@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7316.

A New Year, a New Surge of Classes at the LightHouse

Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? How about resolving to try something new at the LightHouse this year?

Beginning in 2016, LightHouse is launching an array of new classes. These classes will refresh every quarter so you’ll always want to visit us and try something new. Here’s a sampling of what we have to offer, through the end of March. (To stay updated on the most current happenings, call us on our event line at 415-694-7325 or sign up for Beth’s List by emailing Beth at bberenson@lighthouse-sf.org.)

Business of Blindness with Mike Cole
Every Wednesday beginning January 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Over a cup of coffee, discuss and debate, converse and philosophize with Mike Cole, former director of the Orientation Center for the Blind, on anything related to blindness. Meet successful blind guest speakers and learn about current happenings in the blindness community.

Movie Club
Every Wednesday beginning January 6 from, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Watch an audio-described film and discuss the its high and low points.

Art with Ruthie
Every Monday starting January 11, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Explore your inner artist with Ruthie and learn new ways to express yourself.

Dental Hygiene Workshop Series
Every Monday starting January 11, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
UCSF Dental School is hosting a series of workshops on dental hygiene and the affects it has on your overall health.

Yoga with Kimberley
Every second Tuesday of the month beginning January 12, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Yoga instructor Kimberly—who is legally blind—provides her students with a playful, core-focused vinyasa, designed to promote strength, flexibility and focus. Her creative sequencing encourages students of all levels to try something new.

For information or to sign-up for these classes, contact Molly Irish at mpearson@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320.