Jessica Van Valkenburgh
I invite you to read my story and understand how I continue to heal the relationship with my body, by living in the moment, inhabiting my body and being my authentic BRAZENLY BEAUTIFUL self.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
I have been a dancer since the time I could walk. I learned at a very early age to rely on my mirror to tell me the way things should be. It told me about my body and my talent. It showed me what looked good and was pleasing, along with what was out of place and needing correction.
I was a natural when it came to dancing. There was no higher satisfaction for me than the praise and admiration of an audience, even at three years old. This was probably the beginning of my torrid love affair with the praise and criticism of external validation.
When I was doing everything right; I was on top of the world, but if I received a correction from my instructor, I was devastated, especially when it related to my body. I felt like I should have anticipated their criticism and tried to control and prevent future corrections by creating a hyper-vigilant operating system of unattainable standards and measures.
If Only I…
As I got a little older, I used to watch myself in class. In my mind I would think, “everything is perfect, except my tummy. If only I could suck it in harder…do a few more sit-ups…skip dinner…” I thought if I just lost a little more weight, I would be truly happy. I thought my body was the thing holding me back. I was afraid if I let my stomach go, everyone might figure out I’m not perfect, might see where I hid my deepest pain. My fear, my doubts about myself and self-hatred were all right there, living just south of my belly button.
Too Fat and Not Good Enough?
As time went on, I went to great lengths to achieve the perfect physique. I continued my education in dance through college and after I graduated, I was cast in a Las Vegas production. It was a classic Vegas show with feathers, rhinestones, and scantily-clad goddesses parading around under bright lights.
At the peak of my career I was 30 pounds underweight, yet despite all my best efforts to fit in, I was often told I was too fat, I wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t have the right shape. I realized I could no longer be in control (or the illusion of control) of outside criticism.
It became exhausting hiding from the world. I blamed all of my problems in my life on my body image. When there was feedback from others that endorsed my negative self-talk, I dove deeper into my self-hatred. I went to any length possible to keep myself striving for perfection.
Eventually, I realized I had to leave the intense pressure of being a professional dancer behind. No longer having the identity and validation of being a Showgirl, I leaned into addiction, binge and purging, and depression. Not to mention allowing my relationship with dance and movement to be a broken one. The idea of dancing felt like an impossible chore, an unattainable quest and I began to believe I was never meant to be a dancer after all.
I quit dancing. I tried to navigate the new waters, but my intuition had been stuffed down for a long time. I didn’t know how to trust myself. In trying to make my “gut” disappear, I forgot how to listen to it. I swirled for years in confusion about my body and my worth; a chaotic tornado of my own making. Every aspect of my life was out of control, from my relationships to my finances, it was all a direct mirror of the way I felt about myself.
Healing and Body Positivity – Self-Love and Self-Respect
It took many years for the relationship with my body to begin to change and to start to heal my trauma. I had to learn how to trust, forgive and befriend myself again. I had spent so much time postponing my joy and waiting around to be someone else’s idea of beautiful before I could allow myself to be loved or happy, that I literally believed I wasn’t even worthy or deserving of those good things.
I began my journey of healing and body positivity and focused on my recovery. I re-wrote the stories in my head. I learned how to accept and have an appreciation for the amazing gift of my body. I found ways to grow in self-worth, which included body confidence and most of all radical acceptance. I found my way back home to dance in my body. Now when I move, it’s because I am connected to the sensation, not the performance. I want to help others because I have been through this myself. The loneliness of being dis-embodied, was never how we were intended to live.
- Through reconnecting to movement, I found the Divine within myself and the answers to all of my questions about who I am and what I am called to be on this planet.
- I have developed a mind-body connection that not only enforces my new beliefs, but also continues to transform me as a person from the inside out.
- I have let go of the shame, the guilt, and other people’s expectations about the way I should look, feel, act and think.
- I’m healing my relationship with dance and movement, encouraging my soul to move the way it wants to, rather than relying on others opinions of my art.
- I discovered parts of my soul that had been buried for a long time. I spend everyday remembering my Divine feminine nature.
- Most importantly, I have learned to respect and have grace for myself, just as I am, through every chapter of my journey.
I have committed to this ongoing work within myself. I recognize that there is no quick fix to developing Body Confidence, but that I AM deserving and worthy of this growthful evolution, and am incredibly grateful for it.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance- Western Michigan University
- 200 Yoga Teacher Training- Yoga and Ayurveda Center
- Sweet Momma Yoga Prenatal and Postnatal Teacher Training
- Body Confidence and Wellness Coaching Certification- The Institute for Body Confidence Coaching
- Bhakti Yoga of the Heart Teacher Training with Janet Stone
- Yoga for All Teacher Training with Dianne Bondy and Amber Karnes
- Digital Camera, Exposure and Photography- Michigan State University
- YPS-300 Yoga Psychology Teacher Training with Ashley Turner- In Progress
- Non-Linear Movement Method Facilitator Teacher Training with Michaela Boehm- In Progress
- The Wild Women’s Circle Facilitator Training with Michaela Boehm- In Progress
- Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy Teacher Training with The Embody Lab- In Progress
- Healing Trauma with Dr. Peter Levine- In Progress
- Body Confidence and Wellbeing Coach
- Prenatal Yoga Specialist
- Ayurveda Specialist
- Chair Yoga Specialist
- Yoga For All Instructor
- Licensed Cosmetologist in the State of Michigan
- Make-Up for Film and TV- 40 Hours
- Camera, Exposure and Photography Certification
Besides being a Dance, Yoga and Movement Specialist and Coach. Jessica is a mother to one little goddess and married to the love of her life. She lives in Michigan and enjoys reading, cooking while dancing in the kitchen, doing hair and makeup for weddings, camping with her family, spending time in spas and every, and any kind of tacos.
Unfortunately, at this point, your insurance does not cover unlicensed providers of yoga, dance or somatic healing practices.
If you contribute to a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), check with your employer’s FSA administrator to see if yoga, dance or movement is covered as a medical expense.
If you are in financial need, and are committed to completing a program of holistic healing, you may be eligible for a reduced rate from what is listed here. I never want to turn away people in need of my services, simply because they can’t afford it! Please reach out to me personally to discuss payment plan options.
The Building Body Confidence Program offers two fully paid scholarship opportunities each year. Please contact me for more information on the application process.
Somatic Movement Healing
One-on-One Body Confidence Coaching, Embodiment or Movement Healing Sessions
In person: Standard rate $100 (sliding scale $80-120)
Remote (zoom/phone): Standard rate $80 (sliding scale $70-110)
Private Yoga or Dance Instruction
In person: $40/ hour
Remote: $30/ hour
Somatic Movement Coaching
In person: $50/ hour
Remote: $50/ hour
All classes are sold in an multiple week series package.
Drop in movement classes are $18/ session in person and virtual.
Access to the recordings of all virtual classes are included in series purchases only.
Virtual Chair Yoga
12 week session- $150
5 week session- $75
4 week session-$60
Yoga For Self- Care In-Person
5 week session-$75
The Wild Women’s Healing Circles - Coming Soon!
Coming March 2022
Building Body Confidence
Movement and Coaching Program- $797
or $160/ month for 5 months.
The Self Love Club
$17/ month or included with all digital programs
The Soulful Self Love Project
Digital Program- Coming Soon!
My movement practice is not licensed or regulated by any state boards or agencies. As a holistic healing facilitator, I am not qualified to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any mental or physical health conditions. I encourage all of my clients to seek treatment from a licensed professional in addition to our work together. If at any point a client would be better served by a different modality or provider, I am happy to refer to the right practitioner.
Personal and Professional Guidelines
My services are intended to complement regular medical and psychological care, not as a replacement for these. Under no circumstance shall Brazenly Beautiful LLC be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions on this website or in class; or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of the Site and/or as a result of failing to seek competent advice from a medical professional.
I am committed to the utmost ethical conduct. I follow these professional and personal guidelines:
- The purpose of the work I offer is to create safety, bring balance to the nervous system and help improve my client’s relationship with their bodies through coaching and movement healing.
- Any touch I offer will always happen only with the client’s consent in the moment. I am not a massage therapist or chiropractor; I do not manipulate muscles or bones. The touch I offer is light pressure, non-invasive, over the clothing, and non-sexual in nature.
- My goal is for my clients to use movement as means of becoming more self-regulated over time and less dependent on my care.
- I hold any and all information shared with me in the strictest and highest confidentiality. However, this information is not protected under the law as it would be in a licensed psychotherapy practice. Disclosure to appropriate persons or entities may be required by law in some cases.
- Clients are free to terminate their professional relationship with me at any time and I reserve the right to terminate a client relationship at any time as well.
This disclosure policy is subject to change. Any updates will be posted on this page.
Book A Clarity Call With Me
Do you think you might be a candidate for one-on-one Body Confidence or Somatic Movement Coaching?
Schedule a 20 Minute Clarity Call.
Together we will identify your unique needs, create a framework for your journey, and get you started on the path to feeling safe and comfortable in your own skin.