Jacquie Bullard

Books Bio

Syncopation of movement

As we zone in on one simple thing, we notice how complex the simplest things are. Not only do our lungs breathe, our attention breathes - it expands and contracts between innermost and outermost. If you’re doing a yoga sequence, then there’s also a rhythm and harmony as you move through a sequence: inhale reach up, exhale stretch down; inhale, backbend, exhale forward bend. There’s the sound and the silence: that hushed sound of ujjayi breath, the light sounds of hands and feet moving around the mat, and the unheard sounds of the thoughts in the mind.

It’s crazy to realize that when you slow down and move with attention on your yoga mat, you discover so much going on inside! You begin to notice more around you, as well. You might not sprout eyes on the back of your head or super sonic hearing so that you can catch your kids before they draw on the walls with crayons, but you will slowly feel more present and calm. You’ll notice the little things more, and you know what they say. It’s all little things.

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Yoga Mama turns 1

Yoga Mama is 1 year old!

As I began to plan to launch my Yoga Mama newsletter, this was my vision:

"There is so much information out there for mamas who want to incorporate yoga into their lives. There’s almost too much…so why do I want to add to it? Well, I’m not exactly trying to reinvent the wheel. I just think that every mama’s perspective counts and it’s all about each one of us sharing our stories. So, Yoga Mama is going to be my outlet for sharing my story as it unfolds."

Check out the latest post at: https://yogamama.substack.com/p/black-moon

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Tapas: bites or burning flames?

When I say the word ‘tapas,’ it’s pretty likely that you’ll think of one of two definitions, or maybe you’ll recognize both: 1. Small dishes that are part of Spanish cuisine, and 2. The yogic niyama that usually gets translated as ‘discipline’ or ‘austerity.’

There are all kinds of ways to explain tapas and how it brings life to yoga practice, but before I get into the nitty gritty, I want to bring up the link between tapas and fire. If you live in a place where summers are hot, then the element of fire is strong and you don’t have to do much to generate heat in your body. But what else can we say about fire except that we feel its essence from the sun?

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Tapas part 2: more than just focus and flame

Last week I wrote about tapas as a form of transformative fire, but that ‘fire’ can have different qualities. Tapas doesn’t have to be a raging fire. It can be the fire of concentration, a spark of insight, or the slow burn of steady focus. It can be mental and not just physical heat created by movement. In light of that, here’s one yogic practice I’d like to share with you that involves this gentle/mental form of tapas: trataka. Over the last couple of months, I wrote about dristhi here and here; trataka is similar, but involves a more extended period of time. Think of a sitting meditation, eyes opened, gazing at a candle flame, flower, or some other object that has spiritual significance for you.

During the summer, I prefer to use water as a focus, to balance the fiery heat of the season. Water dances and reflects light in a softer way than fire does. Water transforms, nourishes, and yet holds potential dangers the way fire does. I don’t have the luxury of living close to the ocean or another body of water, like I used to. But water as an object of contemplation can take the form of a bowl of water, a fruit or vegetable from the garden that contains a lot of water, or even a recording of ocean or rain sounds if you want your focus to be auditory.

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Off Track

A couple weeks ago, I published a post about using the wall for a mini practice and I started it with the quote, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” Then last week for the Tuesday mini practice, I entitled the post “Time to lean,” planning to link it to the previous week. A few days later, during a random moment I realized that, in the process of writing that post, I veered from my initial topic and so the title didn’t make much sense any more.

This is what can happen when you finish a post as the baby is screaming and tugging on your pants at the same time the older child is calling out to you to play with them (and also, I’m my own editor!).

When I was out the other day walking with the baby, I thought about how funny it was that I published that post with an irrelevant title. It made me think of what’s in a title, and the titles we all assume. I come across all these instagram bios that proudly state things like, “mother of 2, entrepreneur, and foodie,” “wife, mom, and writer,” or whatever other things we call ourselves. Of course, those are all hats we wear, but our true Selves aren’t those hats — instead, we are the heads wearing the hats. And sometimes those hats can get us off track. We might think, “I’m too busy attending to the kids, shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing activities, fundraisers, working 9-5, working graveyard shift, planning a date with my partner, etc.

That’s when things get mis-titled.

So I didn’t go back and change the title of that post, simply because I wanted it to stay there as an example of how motherhood is full of distractions, including big ones where we forget what’s important to us, and who we are besides somebody’s mommy.

All the items on our to-do lists as well as the distractions from those ‘shoulds’ are just mini stories; but they aren’t the narrator. YOU are the narrator, and you get to tell your story, or stories, as you probably have more than one.

So, you might think, what the heck do stories have to do with yoga?

Everything!

Every time you step onto your yoga mat, or sit on the meditation cushion, you get another chance to look back at all the stories that make up who you say you are, and say, “I am more than that,” or, “That happened then, and now here I am.” Then maybe you breathe and move a little bit and take a vacation from the pull of past events, until you bump up against worries about the future: things like, “Oh no, what if…?” and “I really hope that….”

Those are the stories you tell about the future before they’ve even happened (and they might not!). So I invite you to take a moment, whether it’s a brief pause to breathe and chill out, or a luxurious 20 minutes or an hour to do yoga your way. And by that I mean, do what feels right in your body. Tired? Do some restorative poses. Overstimlated? Burn off your anxiety with a dynamic flow or sun salutation. Take a moment, or many moments, every day to get centered and look back at the ways you’ve mistitled your life: ‘just a stay-at-home mom,’ ‘doctor,’ ‘married to so-and-so,’ or ‘failed artist,’ and know that whatever the chapters that came before, you get to write the ones that follow.

Then the question comes, “Who are you besides all these titles (which are really just subtitles to the True You)?” Then the real yoga comes as you get to know who You are besides a mom, wife, whatever-your-day-job-is, wherever-your-religion (or lack of), and your accomplishments big and small. In our yoga practices, we don’t necessarily have to strive too hard to know that no matter what we do, we are who We are: love, light, peace, human beings.

I know, it’s hard to feel and know that all the time. That’s okay. Just set out to at least remind yourself of it; there will be days when you do feel like love, light, and peace, as well as days where you feel like a hot mess. That’s just being human:)

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I just had to address that misstep because I knew there must be someone out there asking, “Why the heck did she title this post, ‘Time to lean?’”

Now tell me, what’s a title you’ve given yourself, or someone has given you that you got stuck on? What did it take for you to realize you were more than just that one, little title or label?

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