Health and Wellness

Vintage House, in concert with several of its valued partners, offers a range of important and helpful programs that address senior health and well-being issues. The following services and programs are presented in alphabetical order.

Active Aging Series

In collaboration with Sonoma Valley Hospital and the healthcare community, these presentations attract speakers who are local leaders in the field of cardiology, gerontology, nutrition, bone health, exercise/movement, mindfulness, wellness, medical technology & advancements.

Advance Health Care Planning

In collaboration with Hospice by the Bay, My Care, My Plan-Speak Up Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley Hospital, explore your response to the question, “If you thought you were dying, what would matter most,” in order to appropriately complete an advanced care directive. This important step will help insure that your wishes will be known if you are unable to speak on your behalf.

In 2014, we held panel discussions with SVH and Hospice by the Bay that began the conversation about Advance Care Planning. Then in 2015 along with MyCare MyPlan, Speak Up Sonoma County we introduced the film, Being Mortal, which posed this question. We presented 2 showings of the film and invite you to read the book of the same name, or go to to watch the movie online. The next step in this process is to attend one of the workshops we offer where facilitators will be available to help you understand in greater depth what is important to you, and how to complete or update an advance health care directive that does its best to help you fulfill your needs at end of life.


Falls do not have to be a normal part of aging. We can learn to prevent falls. Vintage House offers a variety of classes to help with maintaining physical abilities and fitness. Classes are offered that specifically address the area of balance. These include A Matter of Balance and Building Better Balance.

A Matter of Balance

A collaborative effort of the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging, is an evidenced-based program designed for those whose concerns about falling compromise their level of social and physical activity. This award winning program is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. This is a classroom style program that emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls. See our Newsletter for upcoming classes.

Building Better Balance

This class is offered through the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Older Adults Program. This free class is specifically designed to reduce problems associated with many of the balance difficulties we experience as we age. Visit for more information.

This class is suitable for:

  • Anyone who has had a fall
  • Those who use walkers or canes
  • Anyone who has difficulty walking
  • Those who feel dizzy, disoriented or shaky
  • People with neuropathy, Parkinson’s, or arthritis
  • Whoever is simply interested in improving or maintaining their balance
FACILITATOR: Vanessa Kettler is an acclaimed expert in the field of fall prevention and balance improvement.  She is an experienced balance instructor, privately, and since 1999 as a member of the faculty of the Older Adults Program of Santa Rosa Junior College.  She is also a professional dancer at the age of 70 with 40 years of physical training.  She is devoted to helping people realize that we can all get stronger, more flexible and with better balance as we age instead of the reverse. Building Better Balance is held on Tuesdays from 1:00 – 2:15 pm.

Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement

A science-based neuro-muscular retraining, which uses the plasticity of the human brain to offer natural healing from stress, injury, or inefficient body use. Feldenkrais retrains the nervous system through gentle movement exploration, creating new physical and mental habits.

Students increase coordination, range of motion, mental function, and lengthen the spine. They reduce stress and pain, recover from injury and refine their sport or art, often realizing changes they had not imagined. These low-impact movements are done sitting and lying down. There are no prerequisites, it requires simply that you be curious and willing to listen to yourself. No special clothing and no experience required. It is fun to learn new ways to move and attend to yourself that helps you feel good in your body. Bring one or more blankets to lie on. For more information visit

FACILITATOR: Margot Schaal is a certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. Margot’s clients have learned new ways of moving to address stroke, accidents, chronic pain, anxiety, Central Nervous System disorders, injuries, and trauma. She also works with people to increase flexibility, balance and physical performance. She teaches classes throughout Marin and Sonoma County and gives private Feldenkrais sessions. Visit

Flu Shot Clinic

In conjunction with Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, Vintage House hosts one or more flu shots clinics on a donation basis each autumn. No one is turned away due to lack of funds.

HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program)

For information on Medicare, Medigap plans, managed care plans (HMO), Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards, other prescription drug discount and free medicines, understanding Medicare part D drug benefit and other health insurance related topics, HICAP counselors are available by appointment on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 10 am – 1 pm. Call 800.434.0222 for an appointment. A HICAP certified counselor also provides an annual presentation that is a great resource for new Medicare enrollees. HICAP is a program of Senior Advocacy Services. For more information visit their website at

Hypnosis for Relaxation

This class is offered as a one day workshop for those interested in participating in their own well-being. Sally will teach students how to use hypnosis to help themselves relax and better handle the stresses of everyday life. Check the newsletter for the next class being offered.

INSTRUCTOR:  Sally Smith, former French teacher at Vintage House, was in private practice for ten years as a hypnotherapist. She received her training at the Hypnosis Clearing House in Berkeley and is a state-certified licensed hypnotherapist.


iWalk is an initiative of Health Action – A 2020 Vision for Sonoma County designed to support a culture of active and healthy living. The initiative aims to 1) inspire people to begin walking regularly; 2) inspire people to join existing walking groups or form new ones with friends, neighbors or co-workers; 3) increase the number of walking groups in Sonoma County; 4) make Sonoma County communities more “walkable.” The Vintage House iWalk program has been active for over six years, with groups of walkers meeting in our parking lot two mornings each week. The walks vary based on the participant’s needs and the array of walking paths available just outside our doors. Meets 8am Tuesdays and Fridays in our parking lot.

Jin Shin Jyutsu

According to Eastern medical wisdom, the flow of energy within the body determines the quality of our health and happiness. This energy flow is affected by the stresses of everyday life or hereditary tendencies that can lead to disease or less than optimum health. Using your hands and fingers on 26 specific areas on each side of your body,

Jin Shin Jyutsu is a Japanese method of acupressure that can release blockages, allowing the body to initiate its own healing process. You will learn simple hand and finger techniques to use on yourself which support the immune system, stimulate circulation, release pain and tension and bring peace of mind. See for more information.

INSTRUCTOR: Sophie Acheson is a certified Jin Shin Jyutsu (acupressure) therapist practicing since 1998. She has conducted regular self-help classes and workshops for more than 15 years in Connecticut and has been sharing her skills in Sonoma for the past 2+ years. She has taught yoga for 20+ years, emphasizing alignment and influenced by many traditions that incorporate listening to the inner body. Sophie is a certified reflexologist, and has been a professional artist 40+ years.

Laughter Yoga

Not a traditional exercise class, Laughter Yoga is focused on the health benefits of laughter and improved breathing. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on the scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter; we get the same physiological and psychological benefits from both. Clinical research done in India and the U.S. has proved that laughter lowers the level of stress hormones in the blood. For more information please see

Line Dance

A line dance is a choreographed dance with a repeated sequence of steps in which a group of people dance in one or more lines or rows without regard for the gender of the individuals, all facing either each other or in the same direction, and executing the steps at the same time. Line dances have accompanied many popular music styles since the early 1970s including pop, swing, rock and roll, disco, Latin, rhythm and blues, and jazz. If you’re looking for a low impact way to keep moving, maintain balance and social interactions, Line Dancing may be just what you’re looking for.

INSTRUCTOR:  Helen Herbaugh received her AA degree from Yuba College in Marysville, CA and a BA degree from the University of California Berkeley in Recreation.   Helen started line dancing in 1991 at Seven Flags Mobile Home Park where a group of women danced and performed for several nursing homes. Later she took line dancing at the Vintage House which evolved into teaching the group. 

Mindfulness Meditation

At the core of the mindfulness meditation practice is the development of your skills of observation, concentration and mindfulness. Your meditation is structured around them. Mindfulness involves both concentration (a form of meditation) and acceptance. Deliberately pay attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. It takes practice to become comfortable with mindfulness techniques. Benefits of practicing Mindfulness Meditation include:

  • Improved mental health – eating disorders, anxiety, and depression
  • Improved physical health – lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce chronic pain, and relieve stress
  • Improved feelings of well-being


Literally translated means life energy cultivation, is a type of physical/spiritual practice intended to align body, breath, and mind for improved physical, mental, and spiritual health. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi(chi), translated as life energy. Qigong practice typically involves moving meditation, coordinating slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and calm meditative state of mind. The practices in this class are easy to learn and are designed primarily for improved health, energy level, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

INSTRUCTOR – Mindfulness Meditation and Qigong. Robert Young is a long time Sonoma resident. He has studied and practiced meditation for 40 years and Qigong for 10 years. He began teaching after retiring from SDC. He brings to his classes a passion for awakening students’ natural capacity to create healthy and happy lives by engaging in daily practices that are easy and enjoyable to perform. 

Tai Chi

Tai Chi at Vintage House is offered by the Taoist Tai Chi Society. The health benefits of the practice of Tai Chi include increased energy and focus; improved strength, flexibility, balance, reduced degeneration of the spine and joints, and relaxation as a moving meditation. For more information send an email to The Society brings together people of different languages and cultures in a world-wide community.


The word yoga comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. It is a derivation of the word yuj, which means yoking, as in a team of oxen. In contemporary practice, this is often interpreted as meaning union. Yoga is said to be for the purpose of uniting the mind, body, and spirit. How can this union be achieved? Meditation is one way, but sometimes it is necessary to prepare the body for meditation by stretching and building strength. This is the physical practice of yoga, also known as asana.

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Allison has taught yoga at Vintage House since March 2003. She began teaching yoga in 1996 while working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in La Jolla, CA. Carol has also practiced martial arts and Tai Chi, earning her black belt in Kenpo Jujitsu. She is a Holistic Health Practitioner as well.

Yoga Poses

Many people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility.

This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. The poses are a constant, but the approach to them varies depending on the yoga tradition in which the teacher has trained.

Yoga Practice

Yoga teachers will often refer to “your practice,” which means your individual experience with yoga as it develops over time. The amazing thing about yoga is that your practice is always evolving and changing, so it never gets boring. Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will. Anyone can start a yoga practice, even if you don’t feel like you are very flexible or very strong. These things will improve the longer you practice. Another great thing about thinking about “your practice” is that it encourages the noncompetitive spirit of yoga. One of the most difficult, but ultimately most liberating things about yoga is letting go of the ego and accepting that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is just doing their best on any given day.

Yoga at Vintage House is geared towards maintaining and improving strength, balance and flexibility as we age. Some students have been practicing yoga for years and many are trying yoga for the first time in their lives. They are amazed that they are able to do the poses and see improvements as their practice progresses. This can be very encouraging, and provides a new sense of peace of mind.

Zumba Gold

The original concept of Zumba combines a dance workout with a party-like atmosphere. Zumba Gold takes the popular Latin-dance inspired workout of Zumba and makes it accessible for seniors, beginners or others needing modifications in their exercise routine. Zumba Gold builds cardiovascular health by challenging the heart and working the muscles of the hips, legs and arms with dance moves.