Ever since I was a grade-school kid in glasses, I have longed
for 20/20 vision. So when I heard about a Big Island offering
called Vision Fitness, I signed up in the blink of an eye.
It’s one of several unique Fairmont Orchid Hawaii classes
developed and taught by Calley O’Neill, who started at the hotel in
It’s easy to love O’Neill: With her long, blond hair and broad
smile, she captivates clients like a sunset draws dreamy-eyed
But during her Vision Fitness classes, O’Neill wants
participants to channel love inward and, in particular, toward
On a quiet oceanfront lawn, seven of us sat in a circle of beach
chairs as O’Neill outlined the philosophy behind Vision
“The eyes are always telling us the truth, but we are often too
busy to hear it,” she said. “When your eyes say you’re tired, you
get a cup of coffee and go back to work instead of relaxing
Memory loss and eyesight reduction are largely caused by stress,
she said, and no one knows that better than O’Neill.
As a young activist working round-the-clock to better the world,
O’Neill said she took little care of herself.
“I wanted to heal the whole planet, but I wasn’t healing
myself,” she recalled. “I became incredibly stressed.”
Through yoga and other fundamental wellness practices, she
gradually learned how to relax and increase her awareness.
Unlike more mainstream fitness classes, Vision Fitness examines
a client’s psychology, history, nutrition and emotions.
O’Neill listened intently as we discussed not only our own eye
and memory history, but that of our family members.
Using reference materials, she discussed the eye’s anatomy and
explained how vision is linked to memory.
She discussed nutrition, encouraging us to eat carotene-rich
foods like spinach, carrots, cantaloupe and dried apricots.
From there, O’Neill taught techniques to improve our visual well
being, including how to move our eyes to strengthen muscles.
We focused on a far away spot and gradually brought our point of
view closer. Then we massaged our brows and meditated a bit.
During the class, she encouraged us to continue the exercises at
Later, O’Neill told me that offering Vision Fitness at a Hawaii
resort makes perfect sense.
“Clients come to this incredible place to relax, so they’re ripe
for this sort of class,” she said. “Hopefully they will go home to
a less stressful life.”
O’Neill said her class is also designed to awaken the
“I am much more of an alarm clock than a teacher,” she said. “I
want to slow people down so Hawaii can touch them.”
Back home, in front of my computer, I try to remember what
O’Neill taught me.
I take time to relax, drink more water and move my eyes
While I can’t claim that my sight and memory have vastly
improved, I do know I’m better off for having spent some time with
Calley O’Neill, one of the Big Island’s true visionaries.
Vision Fitness, a 75-minute class designed to
teach the basics of maintaining and improving eyesight and memory,
is offered to clients ages 10 and older, Saturdays at 10 a.m. at
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii. The cost is $15 per person, and it’s open
to guests and non-guests of the resort. When clients stay at the
Fairmont Orchid and purchase the hotel’s Activity Pass ($30 per
adult, $20 per child ages 5-12), they can participate in Vision
Fitness and other wellness classes for free.