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amber sherrard

Get Your Cupful of Cardio Weekdays with LightHouse

Get Your Cupful of Cardio Weekdays with LightHouse

Since the pandemic began, we’ve all had to make adjustments as our normal routines were turned on their heads. It’s not just work and school that have changed, but our fitness routines as well, since gyms are closed as well as some hiking trails and parks.

Many virtual fitness classes have popped up over the last several months, but most of those classes don’t provide detailed descriptions of the exercises for people who are blind or have low vision. Lighthouse’s Health and Wellness Program Manager, Amber Sherrard, has developed “Cup of Cardio” a weekday morning workout where all the exercises are audio described.

Amber, who has a master’s degree in Health and Human Performance and is a Certified Health Education Specialist, explains how the pandemic has changed fitness for the blindness community.

“Because of the pandemic, people who are blind do not have access to group gatherings that are specific to the visually impaired community such as guided classes, hikes, and small group personal training.  We began offering virtual classes during the first week of shelter in place and realized how valuable these offerings were in helping people maintain their commitments to their personal health, as well as building community and making new friends during these unprecedented times.”

She also offers advice for those looking to implement fitness into their “new normal” routine.

“My best piece of advice for maintaining physical fitness during this time is consistency, which is why we are so excited to offer our new daily exercise class.”

So, what about that class?

Cup of Cardio
Weekdays, starting September 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. via Zoom (no class Labor Day, September 7)

These workouts will get your heart rate pumping, strengthen your body, and keep you fit and fierce. Get ready for jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, and more. If you want to sweat, this is the class for you! All activity levels are welcome (you gotta start somewhere). You will get the most out of this class if you commit and make it apart of your daily routine. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

RSVP for Cup of Cardio and find out about other LightHouse Health and Wellness events by contacting Amber at ASherrard@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7353.

To find out about other LightHouse programs happening in September, go to our LightHouse calendar.

10 Tips for Aspiring Blind Yogis

10 Tips for Aspiring Blind Yogis

Yoga is a rewarding form of mental and physical exercise that can lead to less stress, better sleep, and an increase in overall health. Have you ever wanted to give yoga a try, but feel a little intimidated by crowded yoga classes and people bending themselves into pretzels? Have you ever wanted to know the exact yoga poses but didn’t have a non-visual way to find out?

We have yoga classes for students of all levels at the LightHouse. Join our regularly scheduled yoga classes with Kimm Ropicky on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Fitness Studio. We also have a new monthly Saturday workshop with Health and Wellness Coordinator Amber Sherrard, with each session focusing on a different aspect of practicing yoga. This month on March 24, join Amber for “The Art of Inversion: Getting Upside Down.”

Here are ten tips from Amber’s own experience as a blind yoga lover to get you started. She is a registered yoga teacher and loves teaching new students!

Be open to trying something new.

It was once said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Sometimes our biggest blessings in this life come from trying something we’ve never done before.

Simple does not mean easy.

Yoga is a simple practice. However, its simplicity is often mistaken for easy. Yoga is a challenging practice in many ways, but its benefits are limitless.

No need for fancy clothes. 

You don’t need fancy, name-brand clothes to practice yoga. It’s all about comfort. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. You should also be able to sweat in your yoga clothes, so moisture-wicking material is recommended.

Be honest with your teacher.

Your teacher’s job is to make sure that you are practicing safely.  Be honest with them about how certain poses feel, how long you’ve been practicing yoga, and what previous injuries you may have. Your yoga teacher is trained to modify your yoga practice accordingly. Another great tip is to speak with your instructor before class. Let them know that you are blind and that you will need them to be very descriptive. Yoga teachers are naturally descriptive, however, letting them know your are blind will give them an extra reminder to choose their words wisely. Also, if you are okay with hands-on adjustments, let your teacher know.  Hands-on adjustments are a great way to understand how the pose should look and feel in your body.

Discomfort is good, pain is not.

Discomfort is good, pain is not: yoga is designed to drive us right past the place of comfort, which strengthens us physically and mentally.  Its apart of the challenge, charm, and, appeal of a consistent yoga practice. However, if you ever ever feel pain, always back out and let your instructor know. The good thing about yoga postures is that they can be modified in a variety of ways to make the benefits accessible to everyone.

Yoga teachers love questions.

People often feel afraid to ask questions before or after a yoga class. It’s perfectly fine to ask your teachers questions about anything that was covered in class. They will gladly give you clarification on anything that seems fuzzy or unclear, so ask away!

Give it another try.

Many people try yoga one time and make a decision right away to either continue their practice or never try it again. With the vast array of yoga types, styles, and teachers, its always worth giving it another try.

Resist the urge to compare.

Yoga is not a competition. Every practitioner is on their own journey. The more you practice, the more you evolve. A wise yogi once said, “Practice and all is coming.”

Be kind to yourself.

Yoga is different from any other type of exercise. It strengthens more than just the physical body. With that being said, it’s easy to forget that in yoga, pain is not gain. Be kind to yourself and take your practice one breath at a time. Which leads to my final tip…

Don’t forget to breathe.

Let’s be honest.  Sometimes not being able to see can be frustrating and sometimes trying something new can seem scary, but “without breath, there is no yoga” so just remember to breathe.

Questions? Feel free to send Amber an email at asherrard@lighthouse-sf.org. She would love the hear from you!