A Dancer’s Journey

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. 


John, Valerie’s father in 1968. He was a music teacher for Stockton Unified for over 30 years and a local musician. Valerie credits her father for having music in the house. Everything from classical, jazz, disco, funk and Mariachi. Thanks for loving music.

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.”

Valerie’s mom Leonora was the first in her family to graduate from College. She went to school while working full time. She was a nurse over 40 plus years. Leonora supported all of her children in their pursuit of music and art. She’s a talented artist too.

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.

Valerie at 9 years old on Point.

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.

John Christopher, Valerie’s eldest brother was instrumental in Valerie becoming a Yoga Instructor. Chris, as he was known, as a drummer and had very strong arms. You might not be able to tell but he had a super strong grip strength and was into advanced meditations when it wasn’t cool in the ’70s. Chris is so loved and will be forever honored as a true Earth Angel.

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.

Valerie in 2012 with Solano County Zumba Instructors. Look for the Legs and you’ll find Val

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.

Look at the lovelies from Solano County Viva Zumba

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.

Organic Greens are great just wash them really good.

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.

Valerie performs Shatter Me at a local recital

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.

Mother and daughter in 2017 at Valerie’s Birthday Party. Special thanks to the mom who inspired dance in her child even when the child didn’t want it. XOXO

Puppy Gets Excited by Dancing

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I am a dancer.  I dance at home with my puppy, Amber.  It has happened more than once.  The first time I wasn’t paying attention because I was doing a video dancing.  Amber wanted to dance too.  I do have it on video and I think it is pretty funny.

Today I was dancing in my room and just getting into it and not paying attention to my puppy, Amber.  Previously she was just laying there.  As soon as I started doing some fast hip shimmy’s, she went insane.  She started jumping up and then I realized she could feel my vibration.

So dogs feel energy and people feel your energy too (more on that later).    It was just amazing to discover this and I just had to share my new discovery.


Also remember that people can feel your energy too.  So it’s best to just try to wish the best for every person you see.  But if you have low energy, it’s difficult to do that because you are not feeling the best.  You are most likely in survival mode.

Anyway dear ones if you have low energy and you want to feel better, the easiest quickest way is just to focus on gratitude.  It really works but it’s a habit like anything else.pexels-photo-424517.jpeg

Diet is also very important but people don’t know what to eat and what not to eat.  It’s very confusing.  But many people are just stuck on their diet treadmill and can’t see any other possibilities.  But you can change your diet.  Just make sure you are hydrated.  And remember there are many people that would love to help you.  You just have to reach out to them.

OK dear one’s, that’s it for now.  Have a blessed day and know that you are so loved.  More than you realize.  XOXO

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy Amber.  You can learn more about Valerie here.

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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Retirement Performance

VAL DANCING STAGE

Retirement Performance

When I first decided that I wanted to dance at my retirement party, my main motivation was because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to do it because I wanted to see exactly what my capabilities were at age 50. I felt that since I was a yoga instructor and a health coach that I should have the ability to perform and with the proper instruction, anything is possible.

So the dance training began and I found it to be very difficult. I had an injury at the same time I started training so I had to be very careful not to hurt myself. But I knew that I loved dancing and I just wanted to put on this epic performance at my party. I had an interest in belly dancing for years and I had done some training starting in 2008. I took a few classes with a local dance instructor and watched some videos but I hadn’t found a dance instructor in my area that I really was compatible with.
Then in 2015, I had surgery and the Dr. gave me the usual recommendation which was not to exercise for 6 weeks. I really despise that recommendation but of course I followed the Dr’s orders. They told me walking was fine.  Yoga was still not an option but the one thing I was able to do was belly dancing. And it just felt amazing on my spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Thus a belly dancer was born.
I soon realized that yoga and belly dancing were very much intertwined with one another.

VAL SPINNING
I kept up the belly dancing and I even taught a workshop at Angeline’s dance studio in 2016. I had previously been a Zumba and U-Jam Fitness Instructor and I felt comfortable dancing in front of people and I knew I wanted to perform at my retirement party in front of my loved ones, but I felt belly dancing alone would just feel completely inappropriate and I knew if I wanted it to turn out good, then I needed professional training and choreography.

I picked the song which was Transcendence by Lindsey Stirling and it had a classical feel to it. Although I used to belly dance at home to that song, I knew that ballet would go nicely with it as well.

At first I wanted to do a partner dance. But it’s difficult to find a partner and I decided to just do private instruction.
So it was going to be a belly dance/ballet fusion dance.
So ballet is very challenging. It’s pilates on steroids as I like to call it. And I was still working at the time and my work was not helping the situation at all. Because all of the sitting was counter productive. But I kept up with the training and the video is the final result.
When I watch the video, I feel happy with certain parts and other parts, I wish were better. But overall, I feel grateful that I had the ability and opportunity to dance and perform especially at the age of 50.

Sometimes when the fear strikes me when I think about releasing a video, I just think well if someone wants to criticize me that’s fine. They can go ahead and do a performance and then we can discuss my performance afterwards.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She recently retired from a Career in Law Enforcement after 26 years. Email her at:estrella.valerie@yahoo.com