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

JOURNEY FROM COP TO YOGINI

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Journey From Cop to Yoga Instructor
My journey from law enforcement officer to yoga instructor was many years in the making. It all started in 1999 when I was extremely stressed out, depressed and experiencing insomnia and back and neck pain. I had been in a car accident and was also a newlywed on the brink of divorce. At the time I was living in Bakersfield, CA and there was not any yoga classes in the area that I knew about. I knew in my heart that yoga would help me if I could only find a class.
I purchased a few yoga DVD’s and did those but it did not seem to have much effect on my stress. Fast forward to 2004, I was not as stressed out as I was before but I still did experience back and shoulder pain. Finally I found a gym that offered yoga classes. This was after I had moved to the North Bay Area. So I took my yoga classes every Saturday and realized how inflexible I really was. The poses all seemed so foreign to me. As a former dancer, I couldn’t believe how tight I was and I kept doing it and noticed how after class I started to experience post yoga bliss. I would feel really relaxed and peaceful. I noticed things were not bothering me as much and I was sleeping better.

In 2006 I heard an ad on the radio about becoming a Yoga Instructor. So I decided to inquire about the training. They had a class starting in July 2006 but there were some issues with child care and the Yoga Instructor providing the training, Michelle Paisley who is now an internationally best selling author of a few books. Michelle said she was going to do it again in November 2006 as well

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Later in July 2006, my dear brother, Christopher died. It was then that I knew I was definitely going to become a yoga instructor in honor of him as he was into the Eastern philosophy in many ways.
In November 2006, I started my Yoga Alliance Certification at Yoga Junction in Suisun City, CA. It was a year long program and it required hours of teaching and co-teaching and I learned quite a bit. I also met some really amazing people. I met Jeff Bridges daughter, Isabelle who took the training with me. She was really down to earth and sweet. It wasn’t until months into the training that I found out who her dad was. I was introduced to meditation and chanting although I didn’t really get into that at that time.
Michelle Paisley Reed was wonderful to work with as well. She was in the process of writing her first book, Yoga For a Broken Heart. It was interesting hearing about her process of writing the book. I think it was a great experience for me to be around such a strong intelligent woman. I realized that there was a possibility that if she could write a book then I guess if I wanted to, I could write one too. Although I had no idea at the time that I would ever want to write. It’s just interesting to note that by her living her dreams, she was inspiring me to live mine too.
After I received my Certification as a Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher, I was still working full time. Now what was my thought. So I went to the gym where I originally took yoga and talked to the Group Fitness Manager. She said I needed another Certification as a Group Exercise Instructor through AFAA. So now I started my journey to get my certification in that. It was more studying anatomy with a practical exam and an all day seminar in San Diego with a test and then I had my certification as a Group Exercise Instructor.
Now I was ready to teach yoga to the masses. So I did apply for a position as a yoga instructor and soon I was teaching yoga weekly.