I finally got my finger cymbals sewn to fit my fingers (thanks mom). It’s not as easy as it seems. I got this cool skirt and snake bracelet from my friend Jane who is a professional belly dancer. I think it has good mojo and came from India. So this is my first video where I use the finger cymbals.
The song is Dorset Perception (Total Eclipse Remix) by Shpongle. It’s a cool jam. They are out of the United Kingdom and I found their music on Pandora.
Check out the black unitard I am wearing you can find it at the Yoga Outlet. It’s really comfortable and you don’t have to find a top and pants anymore and don’t worry about a bra either because it has really good support.
I am a Lindsey Stirling Fanatic. I love her music. So here I am tapping improvisational to this song. I hope you can check it out. I am not perfect. I am a human. We really need to get over perfection because nobody is perfect anyway. I do pretty good on some balance poses here but more than anything I am having A BLAST. You can see my joy at the end when I just start laughing uncontrollably. When was the last time you laughed? Well here goes me being a goof ball. Try it, you might like it.
Nowadays is it just me or does everyone want to get paid? Uncle Sam, grocery stores, water bills, car payments etc. Come the first of the month everyone has their hands out and we pay these bills because we are responsible adults. That’s just what we do.
What about your dreams?
After you’ve paid all of your bills and if there is anything left over, it’s time to think about investing in yourself. Now you can buy a book to learn about your passions. However whatever that is, you must begin to practice it at some point. And that’s what this article is really about.
What about Video’s for learning?
Let’s say you want to learn pilates reformer, video’s are great for learning for observation, theory and just to watch how the professionals do it. But once it comes down to implementing what you’ve learned, you really want to have professional training. Why? Because you can learn bad habits which are difficult to break, you can injure yourself because maybe you aren’t set up in the correct alignment, and over time doing it incorrectly can cause serious injury. Also you can do things maybe you’re not really ready for but you force it and get hurt. You need the immediate feed back to know what you are doing correctly and what you aren’t doing correctly.
Why would a yoga teacher take classes?
I do understand that monthly hand out syndrome I described at the beginning. Although I have had numerous hours of training, teachers still need training. Recently I made the investment in a Stott’s V2 Max Pilates Reformer Bundle and let me tell you it is a beast. I am not certified in reformer training but somewhere in my mind I thought, I’ve taken enough classes, I don’t think I need to keep taking classes. I’ll just watch some videos and do it that way.
“Warning danger Bill Robinson,” don’t do it. Keep taking the classes until you are really confident that you know what you are doing. Plus watching videos to learn can be quite literally a pain in the ass!! You just want to know a simple answer to a simple question, with a teacher, you can just ask the question. If not, you are literally on your own. Google this, google that and maybe you’ll get the right answer. Many just give up in frustration or maybe they get injured. Also the teacher will be able to look at her students and know what their bodies actually need. She will say, my students need to focus on chest openers and make sure to target that. A video just does whatever it does and you end up frustrated.
Did I want to go the cheap route and quit paying a professional for training? Hell yeah!! Did I do it? Hell no!!! I’ve decided that I am worth the investment to make sure I stay safe and can continue to learn. Plus let’s keep it real, we all need the motivation and teachers motivate us and so do the students. So do yourself a big favor and get professional training. I promise you won’t regret it. Plus baby, you are WORTH it!!!
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach. She lives in Northern California and encourages people to follow their dreams and passions. She’s passionate about dancing and fitness and is evolving in her knowledge and training. She encourages everyone to follow their passions.
As humans we are creatures of habit. There are many professionals who have a practice. A lawyer practices law, a Dr. practices medicine, a musician practices their instrument, a dancer practices dance.
So in life pretty much everything we do everyday becomes our practice. If we walk daily, we are practicing walking. If we play tennis, we are practicing tennis, if we watch TV, we are practicing watching TV. If we drink alcohol daily, we are practicing alcoholism, if we eat junk food, we are practicing being a junk food junkie (not that there’s anything wrong with it.)
If you love, you are practicing being a lover, if you hate, you are practicing being a hater and so forth.
What we do daily or weekly are the things we practice in our lives and it becomes who we are. Now maybe you might realize that you have some things you know are no longer serving you and you may choose to change something. You don’t have to change anything but add in that thing you want to become.
Let’s just say you really enjoy bird watching but you spend much of your time watching TV. Well one day plan on going out to watch birds. I bet you will enjoy it so much that you decide to do it again. Say to yourself, I AM a Bird WATCHER. And as you watch birds you are now officially a bird watcher and then you practice watching birds whenever you can.
Whatever you want to do, JUST DO IT and then as my very smart music teacher says, KEEP CALM AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Next thing you know you can say, I AM a tennis player, I AM a YOGINI, I AM a SWIMMER, the mere fact that you are doing something makes you that thing. Now it’s a whole other level to be professional. But even someone that takes photographs is a PHOTOGRAPHER. Being PROFESSIONAL has nothing to do with practice. There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH PRACTICING YOUR JOY AND LOVE. Just think about practicing WHAT YOU ENJOY AND LOVE.
Also if you are grouchy and mean guess what you are practicing? It’s OK. You can change it anytime you want. Perhaps you have a good reason to be grouchy and mean, it’s understandable but unless that’s what you want from your life to be GROUCHY AND MEAN, then maybe you might need more sleep and or think about being nice. You’re just stuck in a negative pattern but you can change it just like changing a channel. It’s all up to you.
Many think that whenever it comes to being healthier than it must involve food. While food is definitely important, it’s usually a process to make changes regarding food. So here are some things to consider that do not involve food.
Take a breath to the count of 3,4 or 5. That’s it. Exhale and just feel your body relaxing with each exhale. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you don’t even have to tell anyone your doing it but while your at it, give a little thanks for clean air.
Walk tall: Do you realize how many people only dream about being able to walk? Give thanks to your body for giving you the strength and privilege to be able to walk. A 10 minute walk can do wonders for depression, mental health. Just breathe and walk… Hey do 1 and 2 together. Now we’re multi tasking. If you have pain while walking, maybe a good time to visit the doctor to find out what’s the problem.
Think for one minute about what your favorite song is. This is the song (old or new) that you know the words to the song and you hear it and it just makes you happy. For me it would be Dance Sister Dance by Santana but what’s your favorite song? All you have to do is listen to that song and breathe. Hey if you want you can do 1, 2 and 3 together and you will be a triple threat… But you can listen in the car or shower or wherever you feel like listening to it is cool!! But a triple threat will be cool!!
Feel grateful for whatever you want to acknowledge. If you can walk and talk and breathe, be grateful. How about being grateful for this life that you have been given. Life can be hard but believe it or not, you are a miracle and there is nobody else exactly like you. The mold was broken and you are a beautiful soul. Even if you have done terrible things, your soul is still good. Your body just did some stuff but your soul is pure light.
Have you ever day dreamed? You know just think about whatever wonderful little thing you love or a fantasy that you would love to have come true. Spend a little time dreaming about anything you want but if you want to integrate all 5 concepts. Breathing, walking, listening to your favorite song and while you are at it be grateful that you can day dream. Pretend you are a super hero and everywhere you go it’s just easy breezy and you have cool super powers. What would that feel like for you? If you want to write about it, do it but not any pressure. This is fun stuff. But writing it down would be super cool!!
In the spirit of not giving you more than you can chew, we’re going to end this so you can go on and practice. In the words of my music teacher, Keep Calm and Practice, Practice, Practice.
Valerie Estrella was raised in Stockton, California but her parents called her by her middle name which is Georgianna. They called her Georgi for short. She was born in 1967 in the Summer of Love or actually Fall of Love. Her first-generation Mexican American Father was a musician and her Mother was a nurse. The Apple didn’t fall far from the tree because Valerie definitely has a passion for music and as a health coach for healing.
Valerie was the youngest of four children. She has three older brothers. When Valerie was born, the Dr. lifted her by her legs to show Leonora her baby girl. That’s when Leonora exclaimed, “Look at those legs, she’s going to be a dancer.”
When Valerie celebrated her 8th birthday, her mother gave her a black leotard with pink tights and Georgi just died. Her gut instinct was “NO I DON’T WANT TO DO IT.” Leonora was gentle and said let’s just try it and see how you like it. She didn’t have a choice so she went. Turns out she had a blast and fell in love with dancing. She studied with Judy Ratto at Judy’s Dance Studio in Stockton, CA. She progressed to point shoes within a year as she had very strong ankles and feet. After a little while she started to take tap and jazz. She enjoyed it and danced consistently for 5 years.
When she was 13 she decided she was too cool to dance. So she did what parents dread and she quit. Although she took a break from dancing in a dance studio, in high school she was a Song Leader at Del Mar High School in San Jose. Valerie transferred schools her Junior year and decided to go by her first name which was Valerie because Georgi was too much of a nickname. When you transfer schools your Junior year of high school you kind of want to blend in. She got tired of having to explain why she had a boys name. Valerie, as she was now known, was able to choreograph some of their dances at Del Mar High School in San Jose and had fun. She was able to dance at the 49ers HalfTime show with about 500 other teenagers who went to the United Spirit Association Camp. It was a routine to Footloose by Kenny Loggins in 1984. Joe Montana was the best!!
In college Valerie studied ballet at San Joaquin Delta College with Dorothy Percival. Dorothy was really good with technique as she carried a little stick and wasn’t afraid to use it. Just that little extra bit to get you set up correctly. This is where Valerie became really flexible. She graduated with her Associate of Arts Degree in General Education in 1988. She finally decided she needed to pick a career. She really wanted to be independent so she ended up majoring in Criminal Justice at California State University Sacramento. She graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.
After she had been working for about 10 years for the State of California she really was experiencing pain through her back, severe insomnia, depression, and anxiety. She had just gone through a stressful divorce and had relocated from Southern Central California to Northern California. Valerie knew that yoga would be her cure for back pain.
She started taking yoga at her local gym and one day she heard an ad on the radio about becoming a Yoga Instructor. Her eldest brother, Christopher had recently passed away. He was very much into Eastern philosophy and studied meditation and energy. She decided to become a yoga teacher in honor of her brother. In 2008 she completed her Ashtanga yoga 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification with Michelle Paisley Reed. Michelle went on to become a best selling author. This is where Valerie first heard the concept of being able to manifest. Valerie was really happy that she had learned so many different ways to stretch. And in 2009 she started teaching at Millennium Sports Club in the North SF Bay of California.
Valerie became absorbed in the gym culture which involved maintaining certifications, getting new training and continuing to get stronger and develop herself. The Millennium provided her with opportunities to get excellent training in Les Mills Body Flow, Les Mills CX Worx, Zumba and U-Jam Fitness.
Zumba is where Valerie really got the confidence to dance in front of people. She also participated in many Zumbathons for Party in Pink, ToyAthons and many other fund raisers. Valerie was having so much fun because she was dancing and helping the community.
In 2012 Valerie was still experiencing quite a bit of stress from work and was exhausted, moody and just feeling overall no good. So she went to a work shop called Growing Wild in Santa Cruz with Joy Smith who was also a Zumba Trainer and a health Coach. Joy encouraged participants to become a health Coach. It was dancing and juicing and clean eating for 3 days and after doing that Valerie began to feel better and decided that she needed to learn as much as she could about healthy eating. So she decided to become a health Coach in 2013 through Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
In 2015 Valerie began to study voice with Alina Adams. It was divine intervention that Valerie began to study voice. It is because Valerie had paid for her daughter to have voice lessons who did not want to do it anymore. So Valerie started to take lessons and she really started to enjoy it. Alina really worked with Valerie. Zumba gave her the courage to get in front of the crowd. She decided to Sing Like Nobody is Watching You can watch her sing here.
After a few years the Millennium, it was bought out by In Shape SportsClub. Well, it was beneficial because the Millennium was suffering from the 2008 recession and was getting ready to shut their doors, it started to feel like it was work. Logging into websites for training, too many small changes pushed her over the edge and she decided she didn’t want to deal with all of these changes. She was working a stressful job and she was at the end of her career. She had to work until October 2017 and it was just getting to be too much. So she decided to resign from teaching.
After she resigned from teaching she created EnlightenYourLives.Com as she knew that she had so much information to share with the world and felt that a Blog would be the best way to share it with the world. She could influence more people on a global basis than taking a few clients here or there. She also wanted to focus on her own dancing and began to study with Angeline Lucia of Dio Amore Dance and Fitness. Angeline has a large background in dance. Not only is she a fantastic dancer but she’s an excellent instructor. Valerie studied, Ballet, Tap, Salsa, Hustle and too many to list. (All you have to do is go to one of her dance socials and you are doing Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Salsa, Bachata and so on and so on and so on. Angeline was instrumental in getting Valerie prepared for a performance at her retirement party in October 2017.
Valerie definitely decided that she was going to continue to dance and that’s what she has done. She stopped taking dance lessons because it was time for her to dance to her own beat. To take everything she has learned through dance, yoga and fitness and begin to integrate it into what works for her. She really started to have fun with improvisational dance. You can catch up with her on her Youtube channel.
She’s having fun dancing to whatever her heart desires. Ballet, tap belly dancing. She’s exploring and enjoying her freedom and Belly Dancing is in the air for 2019. In March 2019, Valerie will perform at a restaurant in the SF Bay Area. Here’s wishing her much success in 2019 and beyond.
About almost 300 years ago in 1721 Bach wrote the Concerto #3in G major. It’s such an amazing composure. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! This piece of music is about 6 minutes and it was written for the Catholic Church. I think it would be have been pretty amazing to hear this in Church.
So here I am dancing improvisational to Bach and I hope you enjoy it. The music is just AMAZING and it’s so good to listen to music. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share this beautiful music with the world.
Better yet what’s your favorite song or type of music? Feel free to share below. We may not know everything in life. But one thing I know for sure is Bach was a genius. XOXO VALERIE
You know I like to have fun. So here I am dancing with a scarf. I also discuss what’s up with wearing scarves over your head and face. It’s only a scarf but it does bring up a lot of emotions.
Please subscribe to my youtube channel. Thank you so much!! I encourage you all to have a beautiful and peaceful weekend. Remember you are loved. In case you forgot. All of your ancestors love you. Don’t forget that.EVER!!
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor. As you Heal yourself, you heal the planet. Thanks for caring.
It’s Christmas Time and I’m thinking about some vegan tamales and how good they will be. I had it all figured out with a recipe I found in Decolonize Your Diet. I was ready to make these heavenly treats. So I did the normal thing most people do is go to the store and get the ingredients. No problem or so I thought.
I live in Northern California close to Napa in Solano County. I went to Nugget market to get some of the ingredients. I wanted Organic as a Study shows that Organic food has more antioxidants and less pesticides. I also went to see what kind of corn flour was available. Of course they had the evil Maseca which has tested positive for glycophosphate. The same ingredient as in Round Up Pesticides. The only organic corn I can find was organic polenta. So I thought OK I can get that and then grind it down into a flour with a grinder. So I bought a grinder. Cool I’m one step closer to making them.
Es Navidad y estoy pensando en algunos tamales veganos y en lo buenos que serán. Lo tenía todo resuelto con una receta que encontré en Decolonize Your Diet. Estaba listo para hacer estas delicias celestiales. Así que hice lo normal que la mayoría de la gente hace es ir a la tienda y obtener los ingredientes. No hay problema o eso pensé.
Vivo en el norte de California cerca de Napa en el condado de Solano. Fui al mercado de Nugget para obtener algunos de los ingredientes. Quería que lo orgánico, como un estudio, muestra que los alimentos orgánicos tienen más antioxidantes y menos pesticidas. También fui a ver qué tipo de harina de maíz estaba disponible. Por supuesto que tenían la malvada Maseca, que dio positivo por glicofosfato. El mismo ingrediente que en Round Up Pesticides. El único maíz orgánico que pude encontrar fue la polenta orgánica. Así que pensé bien, puedo obtener eso y luego molerlo en una harina con un molinillo. Así que compré un molinillo. Genial, estoy un paso más cerca de hacerlos.
Then the date to make them is tomorrow. So I said hey let’s go get the ingredients. I bought some corn husks and pasilla peppers, I had the corn and everything else. I was ready to roll.
Valerie Estrella and Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan have been friends since 1988 when they met at Una clase de Espanol. This was at Valerie’s Retirement Party in 2017.
So my friend from college, Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan a Information Technology Specialist with the State of California at the Employment Development Department, had made some tamales so I called her up to see how it went. I also wanted to tell Veronica what I had learned about the Maseca brand. I was very upset about the choice of options available. So she asked me the dreaded question. “Did you get organic corn husks?” The answer was a big fat no. How could I have forgotten? Then I remembered the peppers I bought were not organic either. I was getting more disappointed by the second.
Entonces la fecha para hacerlos es mañana. Así que dije hey, vamos a buscar los ingredientes. Compré algunas cáscaras de maíz y pasilla, tuve el maíz y todo lo demás. Estaba listo para rodar.
Así que mi amiga de la universidad, Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan, especialista en tecnología de la información del Estado de California en el
Departamento de Desarrollo de Empleo,hecho algunos tamales, así que la llamé para ver cómo había ido. También quería contarle lo que había aprendido sobre la marca Maseca. Estaba muy molesto por la elección de opciones disponibles. Así que ella me hizo la temida pregunta. "¿Conseguiste cáscaras de maíz orgánico?" La respuesta fue un gran gordo no. ¿Cómo pude haberlo olvidado? Entonces recordé que los pimientos que compré tampoco eran orgánicos. Me estaba decepcionando más por el segundo.
It’s really sad the condition of the food that is available in the richest nation in the world. I guess that’s how they got so rich was by feeding the most basic of food and turned it into frankenfood. So now I had no organic corn husks, no organic peppers therefore no organic tamales. And to top it all off after going over all of this situation, I realized that I have to make the tamales from the actual corn. It’s not corn flour, it’s ground up corn from the inside of the kernels. So I am so far removed from the process that I have no idea where the actual masa actually comes from. I am completely ignorant in making tamales and although I am a little embarrassed, it is what it is. That means I must learn from a master and quit trying to do it myself. But I want organic corn and I do know of a place in Los Angeles that has organic masa. It’s time to plant some corn with the quickness!!
But guess what? Now I am on a mission to make organic vegan tamales.This is for Mis Abuelitas. This is no longer a joke and let me tell you something. Give me organic corn or give me death. That’s how I feel right now about this. It shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s corn not freaking oil. But I guess they don’t care about little Corn Women now do they? Well guess what? I care and this ends now.
Es realmente triste la condición de los alimentos disponibles en la nación más rica del mundo. Supongo que así es como se enriquecieron al alimentar la comida más básica y convertirla en comida franken. Así que ahora no tenía cáscaras de maíz orgánicas, ni pimientos orgánicos, por lo tanto, no tamales orgánicos. Y para colmo, después de repasar toda esta situación, me di cuenta de que tengo que hacer los tamales del maíz real. No es harina de maíz, está molida de maíz desde el interior de los granos. Así que estoy tan alejado del proceso que no tengo idea de dónde proviene realmente la masa real. Soy completamente ignorante en la fabricación de tamales y aunque estoy un poco avergonzado, es lo que es. Eso significa que debo aprender de un maestro y dejar de intentar hacerlo yo mismo. Pero quiero maíz orgánico y sé de un lugar en Los Ángeles que tiene masa orgánica. ¡Es hora de plantar un poco de maíz con la rapidez!
¿Pero adivina que? Ahora estoy en una misión para hacer tamales veganos orgánicos. Esto es para Mis Abuelitas. Esto ya no es una broma y déjame decirte algo. Dame maíz orgánico o dame muerte. Así es como me siento ahora con respecto a esto. No debería ser tan difícil. Es el maíz no el aceite maldito. Pero supongo que no les importan las pequeñas mujeres de maíz, ¿verdad? ¿Bien adivina que? Me importa y esto termina ahora.
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach trying to make organic Vegan Tamales. It’s not as easy as she thought but she will keep researching to find some organic corn. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.
Valerie es una entrenadora de salud y bienestar que intenta hacer tamales veganos orgánicos. No es tan fácil como pensó, pero seguirá investigando para encontrar algo de maíz orgánico. Ella vive en el norte de California con su hija y su cachorro.
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This time of year it’s very popular to make changes with New Year’s Resolutions and all. We have great expectations but when it comes time to actually implementing those changes or intentions. That’s when the difficulty comes in. I mean you are already super busy with a jam- packed schedule, so how on earth can you find time for one more thing?
This answer is that something has got to leave your schedule or you just have to make that new thing a priority. Meaning that you do it first before you do that other thing. Now maybe you like to get on social media. So make a little agreement with yourself that before you even think about pushing that little Blue square with an f on it that you will do that priority. After you have done you’re “priority”, you can f away. I mean get on the blue f as much as you want.
I think the morning routine is an essential part to having a great day. If you wake up and do some stretches or yoga, breathing, praying or simply have some quiet time for positive affirmations before you start doing all of the stuff to get ready, you can have a much happier day. So that’s where that blue f comes into play. This means don’t f your day away.
Other things may have to give in order for you to make your priority. Maybe you’ll have to take some time off of work in order to give yourself that time. Is that the end of the world? HELL NO. Trust me when you are on your death-bed, you’re not going to think, “I should have worked more.” You might think, I’m glad I followed my heart and my passions. But you have to fight for your dreams and passions. (Think of Twisted Sister here: “You’ve got to fight for your right to dre am”). Yeah that was me singing there. But you have to be fierce with it. You have to just say you know what, I’m going to do this and nothing is going to stop me. Not laundry, not dishes, not TV, not work(don’t get fired though), not your spouse or partner, not your kids. But if you can rearrange things a little bit, I’m sure you can find the time to pursue your dreams.
Twisted Sister i.e. the big hair band of the 80’s that sang Fight For Your Right to Party
This is my quick story with this. So as a Yoga Instructor, you would think I would be doing yoga everyday and just be super flexible and bendy. Well last year, I wasn’t. Life can get in the way. And it can be difficult to just pull out that yoga mat. But when I knew I was going to do a dance performance. I knew that I need to get flexible AF and fast. So what I did was got my phone, put it on stop watch and did 2 full sun salutes. It took 6 minutes. I just decided that every morning before work I was going to give myself 6 minutes for yoga. And it did help me to get flexible. I was able to do the splits, believe it or not. But in any case it all started with me just giving myself 6 minutes in the morning.
2017 not bad for 49 but my daughter snapped this picture fast because I was not enjoying this.
Remember Newton’s first law of motion, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” So you have to be that unbalanced force and mix things up a little bit.
And it can be scary to change things up because you are letting go of the old way of doing things. But in no time, those old habits will just be a thing of the past and you can go on with your life knowing that you were able to make one small change. The next step is to decide what else you would like to change.
Valerie is a Yoga Instructor and a Health and Wellness Coach. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS. Please follow my Blog and thanks for reading. XOXO