Within These Walls

In My Story by Lori Bulloch, RDH

Yes, I’m a dental hygienist, yoga instructor, and business owner, but my wholehearted life revolves around my faith in God and my family. My husband and I met in college. Our first date was a Valentine’s dance and, after a roller coaster 6 months of courtship, he asked me to progress with him FOREVER – an invitation I gladly accepted. We’ve been through periods of mental health crisis, the joy and pain of raising three sons, several periods of underemployment and unemployment. Through it all, we have not faltered in our commitment to keep progressing and I feel grateful to experience this life by his side.

When our sons were busy little boys, each of them two years apart, I often felt “home-bound.” I had chosen to be a mother and I worked as a very part-time hygienist by choice, so I could be home with them, yet I really struggled if I didn’t get out of the house every day. Back then, I chalked it up to being an extravert who needed to get out and socialize, but now I can see more clearly. The most challenging questions I was facing were within those four walls: ‘How do I set healthy boundaries? How do I control myself as I discipline children who are out of control? How do I take care of me while being responsible for little people 24/7?’ Naturally, I felt compelled to run away from it all. I remember telling my patients, “Working as a hygienist is like a paid vacation.”

Then I discovered yoga. It was my healthy escape, my saving grace. As soon as I stepped into the quiet studio, my entire body felt like it could breathe deeply. No kids to care for. Nobody needed me to meet their needs. It was just me and my yoga mat!! Though I didn’t understand why, that 60-minute class each week was transformational.

Through the years, I began to daydream about certifying as a yoga instructor. When all three boys were in school, the urge grew stronger so I reached out to Anna, my high school friend who ran an RYT-200 certification course. At the time, she lived several states away (and Zoom wasn’t a thing), so certifying with her was not a viable option. As we discussed yoga styles and training options one day, her wise words were, “When the teacher and the timing are right, you’ll know.”

Fast forward to the COVID-19 shutdown. My dental office closed its doors for 3 months, every event on my calendar was canceled, and, to be honest, the prospect of being home for the foreseeable future threw me into full panic mode. Once again, I felt trapped.

Miraculously, Anna called to tell me she’d been granted permission from Yoga Alliance to offer her yoga teacher training program online under one condition. We had to finish the 200-hour course in 3 months – the exact amount of time our office would be closed – and I knew the teacher and the timing were right!!

Since then, my ability to slow down, stay present, and regulate my energy even when I’m at home all day has grown exponentially. I’ve learned to LOVE being inside the four walls I’ve been given. In fact, I’ve had several epiphanies while painting them!

After certifying as a yoga instructor, I took a $500 leap of faith and started my own business (Let’s Breathe Yoga, LLC). I ordered a webcam and my family helped me convert our living room into a yoga studio. To be a successful entrepreneur, I have had to be a bit scrappy (synonyms: determined, feisty) at times. I fought frequent temptations to quit when building a website was frustrating, putting myself out there on social media depleted my energy reserve, when classes didn’t fill up, and when I was told, “your studio is too dark and the walls are the wrong color.” Instead, I learned to do what I could and invested in hiring people to do what I couldn’t … including an interior designer to help with a studio renovation.

One gray, wintry day, I was painting the studio and a steady stream of self-doubt thoughts grew louder and louder in my mind: ‘Who are you to think you can teach 7 yoga classes every week? You’ll never be able to plan them out. People don’t want to do yoga on Zoom. Only one or two students are signing up. You’re pouring money into a business you can’t manage. Just stick to what you’re already good at (dental hygiene).’

My belief system includes daily prayer and, gratefully, those doubts were answered with a quiet whisper from God saying, “Pray for students! Pray to know what to teach! I will guide you and provide a theme for each class. Keep painting.” Tears filled my eyes and I finished painting the room and setting up the studio with new energy and confidence. That sweet assurance came to me over a year ago and He’s still holding true to His promises.

Time marches on. Our three sons are now growing into amazing men and pursuing their own dreams. One day, while my husband and I sat on the front porch talking about the impending “empty nest” stage, we settled on a new daydream – owning a Yoga Retreat Center. We decided the first baby step would be to convert our son’s empty bedroom into a cozy Airbnb. Soon my interior designer and I were at it again … happily picking out curtains, doing DIY projects, gathering comfy bedding and a cozy weighted blanket. When we found the perfect paint color, the calm vibe really started coming together.

Unlike painting the yoga studio, painting the Airbnb room was a peaceful, meditative process. I began holding space in my heart for the guests who would stay in our home – family, friends, dental professionals, perfect strangers – hoping each one would find love and light, hope and healing. As I knelt to paint the final wall of the window nook, a quote I’d known since childhood came to me, “You will do no greater work than within the walls of your own home.” Again, tears filled my eyes as God’s assurance filled my heart.

My life’s work, my calling, has become more clear to me recently. It’s super simple, nothing grandiose or complicated. In the Bible, Paul says, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11). My passion and purpose are to stay in a heartspace and headspace of true contentedness. From there, I can mentor and guide others into their own contented space using my strengths of: Empathy, Connectedness, Communication, Responsibility, and Positivity.

This year, I’ll be certified as a Natural Health Educator. I have “felt experience” with processing food and emotions in healthy ways and I love the energy I feel when my mind is learning and my body is moving! I’m committed to creating experiences for my friends in the dental world that incorporate elements of journaling, music, dancing, art, and yoga. I like to leave the location and timing of these experiences up to God and keep a prayer in my heart that those who need what I have to offer will find me.

Ultimately, I am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned in my home. Now, rather than running away or seeking distraction when I feel stuck in uncomfortable situations or overwhelmed, I’m able to slow my roll, take a few deep breaths, and reconnect with my true home – my own body, mind, and spirit – and continue to DeW small things with great love.

Bio: Lori Bulloch RDH, RYT-200 is the founder of Let’s Breathe Yoga LLC (www.letsbreatheyoga.com). Lori has been in the dental world her whole life, working in her father’s dental practice beginning in 7th grade, and serving as a hygienist for 23 years while raising three sons. Now, as a certified yoga instructor, she enjoys teaching virtual and in-person yoga classes each week and strives for a healthy work/life balance. Lori and her husband live in the woods in New England along with their sons who move out (and move back in then out again).