Tag Archives: accessible

A Yoga Journey with Claire Miller!

A Yoga Journey with Claire Miller!

“It’s important to connect with yourself and check in by focusing on your breath and body”.

To coincide with the upcoming release of a new set of videos focusing on floor-based yoga for beginners on Metro Blind Sport’s website, Claire Miller, a highly qualified fitness and yoga teacher, from Ruislip talks to us about her journey into yoga and physical activity, helping others and coping with sight loss as a vision impaired person.

In light of COVID-19 restrictions and to support us in creating more online activity, Claire has done a great job in developing accessible chair yoga sessions through a series of four short videos.

With Claire’s clear and descriptive instructions, the videos show how to loosen and stretch tight muscles, reduce stress and improve circulation.

A Yoga Journey with Claire Miller!

Discussing her own challenge with sight loss and overcoming the adversity of it for nearly four years now, Claire spoke openly about the undiagnosed deterioration of her right optic nerve, undergoing chemotherapy to help save the existing sight alongside managing the progression of cataracts in her left eye.

Claire smiling and lifting her right leg high in the air
Claire smiling and lifting her right leg high in the air

A self-described gym bunny, aerobics and Pilates enthusiast, Claire found her true passion in advanced yoga sessions.

When asked about what Claire enjoys about teaching yoga she said: “It’s the overall feeling you can give people. They start by thinking they cannot do it (yoga) or they come to a class with the whole world on their shoulders – then after completing the class you can see the positive impact it has had on them. That’s the case with any type of yoga really, you always find something calming about it and the classes bring you back to a centre.”

With over 530 hours of yoga training, Claire has established herself as a qualified yoga and fitness teacher. She explained: “You start with a 200-hour training mark which I completed in Bali. For some they stay at that level, but I have completed advanced training so I can teach advanced yoga sessions!

Black and white photo of Claire in Bali
Black and white photo of Claire in Bali

Claire began her journey supporting blind and partially sighted people with another charity, Blind Aid, where she started off by covering a yoga class. It all took off from there. She said: I found it inspiring to work with people with limited vision or no vision and see their progression and ability”.

Claire highlights the importance of audio descriptive feedback in her classes, albeit with a notable exception to a classic mishap. She explains: “I remember teaching one of my first classes in Peckham and I said to everyone, ‘settle your body and close your eyes’ with one participant responding, ‘I don’t need to Claire, I’m blind!

The good-natured response created a laughter among the group who accepted the perceptual assumptions we all make innocently in similar circumstances.”

A notable project in which Claire was recently involved is ‘Yoga for Cancer’. She highlights the need to adapt sessions for people with varying levels of medical issues and requirements. She said: “We learnt about the types of treatments and experiences people are going through, how to approach people who were managing a terminal illness and how to support them with yoga through that journey”.

Shifting to online delivery, Claire has been working with Metro Blind Sport to deliver the VI yoga sessions and emphasised the value of getting involved. She stressed: “It’s important to connect with yourself and check in by focusing on your breath and body. Nothing is out of reach with these yoga sessions, they make you feel calmer and more grateful”.

Looking to the future, Claire is excited to get back into live classes, hopefully delivering Metro sessions soon!

Audio Described Breathwork Practice

De-stress with Claire Miller, only 10 minutes, get away from the screen, make Wellbeing part of your day! Your mind & your eyes will thank you 🙏
Breathwork practice helps release mental, physical, and emotional stress and creates feelings of openness, peace, gratitude, clarity, communication, and connection.

 Breathwork Practice video below

 

Chair yoga Sessions

Why not try Claire’s accessible and stress-reducing chair yoga for yourself?

 

VI Chair Yoga Sessions

 

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LOOKFest 2019 by Charlotte Carson

Lookfest 2019 by Charlotte Carson!

LOOKFest 2019

Thank you for keeping in touch with LOOK and for your support. We are very excited to share news with you about LOOKFest – our first summer festival. We had an incredible time, and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

One mum wrote: “Thank you so much, our girls loved every second and had so many accessible new experiences. I’ve never seen our eldest so free and just enjoying being a child.”

That’s exactly what we were aiming for – to give families and young people a sense of freedom and fun. It’s two years ago since the idea for a VI friendly summer festival was born. It came out of the challenges faced by many visually impaired people who go to festivals. Often activities are not accessible and festival sites are difficult to navigate, so we decided to create LOOKFest – an accessible family friendly festival, where people can come together, take part in accessible activities and visually impaired children can roam free.

Video Message below from Charlotte Carson

We also recruited visually impaired volunteers to help us. For example, our volunteers helped us design the guide ropes around the site, that helped visually impaired people navigate independently. Our blind and partially sighted volunteers also acted as role models to the children and families, showing that visually impaired people can thrive and overcome challenges and barriers in their lives.

One mum said: “Meeting VI role models was the highlight of the festival. It had such an empowering effect on my VI daughter. She doesn’t often meet other VI people, and they were so positive and assertive – fantastic!”

After months of planning, and in particular thanks to the hard work of our Events Manager Elin and our Operations Manager Megan, The LOOK team and our band of amazing volunteers pulled off an incredible event.
Families and children created dens, textured rainbows and musical instruments in the woodland. Children took part in music workshops and were shown the power of echolocation for independent navigation by Daniel Kish and his team. We also held a magical fancy dress disco, an open mic and were treated to live music by a live band, the Inner Vision Orchestra and danced the night away with a ceilidh. Children and families having fun, sharing experiences and offering each other support during the weekend was wonderful. You can’t put a price on it.

One parent summed up the spirit of the festival by saying: “My son now has friends who are VI like him and we have an overall sense of increased confidence and appetite for further adventure. Having Daniel Kish and his team there was great, his positive outlook was very motivational in allowing us to see and explore the scope for VI independence.”

Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, activity leaders and caterers for making LOOKFest such a great success. And a heartfelt thank you from all at Look – and the families and young people who came to the festival – to our funders the incredible Queen’s Trust for making LOOKFest possible.

Thanks to your generous support, we were able to offer families an accessible, affordable and unforgettable experience. I’d also like to thank our incredible London marathon runners who raise vital funds – we are indebted to you all!

The interest for LOOKFest 2020 is very much alive. So if you want to join us next year, please register your interest by emailing Elin on events@look-uk.org

Charlotte Carson,
Director of LOOK

Website: https://www.look-uk.org