Datura Bellydance Workshop in Portland

I had the great honor and privilege to attend a Datura bellydance workshop in Portland, Oregon last week. It was such an amazing adventure. It really took me outside of my comfort zone on so many levels.

What was it that took you out of your comfort zone?

Well first of all I had to get myself packed, get my dog packed and get to the airport on time. If you have ever had the pleasure of missing a flight, then you know, that you don’t want to experience that again. So I started out my trip with a ticket from California Highway Patrol. I stayed cool despite this ticket. But it was a little irritating to say the least.

Then I got to the airport past security. My boarding pass was B14. But I got the gate mixed up and was sitting in Gate B14 for at least an hour. Then someone paged Valerie and they said your supposed to be at gate 20!! How the hell that happened I don’t know but I ran down there and made it to the plane.

Sitting at wrong gate

I made it to my hotel and then realized I had left a very critical bag. My bag that had my toothbrush. Luckily my hotel gave me one and I had toothpaste. I remembered my make up so, all in all, it wasn’t bad.

What was the deal with the Datura Workshop?

Datura is a style of bellydance created by Rachel Brice. She has classes online at Datura online and she teaches workshops in Portland at a cool dance studio called Nia. She has her own Datura studio as well but to accommodate more people she had the training at Nia.

The Datura Phase I Initiation of the 8 elements brought together 40 students from all over the world. Represented countries included: Japan, Australia, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States. There were professional dancers as well as students. But everyone was a student this week to learn and absorb as much as they could from Rachel Brice

Rachel shared part of her dance journey as well as the reason for putting together the course so that this dance form can be shared with the world. She had told us at the beginning of the week that we were going to feel like, “She was filling up our mouths with a fire hose.” At first it made me laugh but by the 3rd day, I completed understood the concept. I felt like my brain was being stretched out really far. I didn’t want to stretch it but then she stretched it for me and I was so glad she did.

What was the most awesome experience?

We would learn these dance sequences. First we would learn the feet, then she would add isolations, then Zils and then finally arms. It doesn’t sound that difficult and even when you see it, it doesn’t look terribly difficult. But playing the Zils while dancing and keeping rhythem while your arms, legs and body are doing something different was mind blowing. And then we did it in perfect unison at full speed. It was like, “Hell Yeah!!!” I couldn’t believe we were able to do it all together. If you’ve ever been around dancers there are usually varying levels of dance experience. But in 3 days she had as doing it. I felt like a complete badass!!!

Just for the record, I felt like such a beginner. There were definitely dancers who had such cool moves. Some were awesome with Zils and everyone just brought their own gifts and talents. Truly an amazing group of people.

She shared her costumes in Costume Cafe which was just amazing. In the video above I was able to see her headdress in person. She shared her inspiration for costumes and also so many things. She is a complete badass. Bruce Lee’s baby sister. I bow down to her.

What was the take away from the training?

Whatever it is you do everyday becomes your practice. You simply have to find the time to do whatever it is you love to do. Sometimes we get stuck in bad habits, or get caught in the responsibilities of life. But no matter, practice is the most important. In talking to Rachel, she explained some of the ways she practices and how she just goes over it over and over again until she gets it down to how she likes it. I was also super happy to know that her absolutely favorite type of dance is improvisational dance which is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING TO DO!!. So it gave me support to know that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IMPROVISATION!! And she does such an amazing job with it.

You’re Not Music’s Bitch

What does that mean? It means as dancer that you control your movement. YOu can pause and stretch and pose and dance how you want. Music is there to help you express yourself but you and music work together and you do whatever you want. It’s you dancing after all.

What are my plans going forward?

I realized that more than anything I need a good teacher. I plan to continue to study dance. A good teacher will mold me to their vision. I will be like a child coming to my teacher. I will allow them to teach me and that is the best I can do for right now. There’s nothing wrong with being a student. It’s like letting someone else drive you around for a while and I get to just enjoy the ride. I will continue to pursue my dream of dance. As long as I am dancing, EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

Valeria is a Health and wellness coach who lives in Northern California. She is sharing her passion and journey with the world and encourages everyone to follow their dreams at all costs. This guy was cool. He didn’t talk much and never moved. XOXO

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Fight For your Right to Dream

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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?

newton's law

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

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.

splits

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 estrella.valerie@yahoo.com.

PS.  Please follow my Blog and thanks for reading.  XOXO

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Merry Christmas Darling

Merry Christmas Darling

Can you believe it’s Christmas again?  Isn’t that what everyone always says.  There are two types of people around Christmas time.  Those that get all into the Christmas spirit with the decorations, presents, holiday parties etc and there are the other folks who bide their time until December 26.  I’ll let you guess what type of category I fit into.

This year is my first Christmas with my puppy, Amber.  So needless to say I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with her house training and getting her on a schedule.  It’s really like having a baby all over again.  I think I could have new parents hire Amber to puppy proof their house.  She will find every piece of plastic, glass, rock or choking hazard.  So needless to say, I am constantly catching her with stuff in her mouth.

So long story short is, I didn’t decorate a whole lot this year.  I wasn’t sure where I was going to put the tree and so I just got a really small tree and didn’t do a whole lot of shopping either (except for Amber).  I made quite a few gifts: bath bombs, granola and actually one of my gifts is the song: Merry Christmas Darling.perfect-beautiful-christmas-decorations-on-decoration-with-make-a-decor-pretty-tree-and-lights-idea-of_how-to-decorate-house-for-christmas_design-your-apartment-interior-decor-ideas

This is my fantasy Christmas decorations.  It’s nice to Dream


I sang this song at Merriment on Main.   I started working on this in October (you have to prepare way in advance).  Christmas songs in October just isn’t my favorite thing.  I mean that’s even way before Thanksgiving.  But I have always loved Karen Carpenter from the Carpenter’s and I really enjoyed rehearsing this song.

When you sing live, you just never know how it’s going to turn out.  Maybe you’ll forget the words or won’t hit the right notes.  But it’s always a thrill.

So here’s my rendition of Merry Christmas Darling.  Wishing you all a Merry Christmas Darling

Valerie is a Yoga Instructor, Health and wellness Coach.  Her hobbies include singing and dancing.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy. You can contact her at enlightenyourlives.com/contact.