Need a laugh over Christmas? Try Laughter yoga!
OK, I think we’re all in agreement that there hasn’t been much to laugh about this year? For me and many of my friends this has been a tough emotional year, let alone what’s been going on worldwide…
So it’s a Thursday evening and I’m standing in my kitchen frying onions and garlic for a soup for dinner. Nothing unusual there. Except that I’m laughing hysterically…no it’s not the onions forcing me to cry, but the phone call I have on speaker phone.
I’ve dialled into a laughter yoga 10 minute laughter call. What the hell is that? Well the clue’s in the name! 10 minutes of laughter. Last week, I completed my training to be a laughter yoga leader and have committed to laughing for at least 10 minutes a day.
So, You May Ask, What Is Laughter Yoga?
Well in a previous post I shared my experience of attending a laughter yoga meet up. Basically it’s a mix of laughter exercises and yogic breathing, that is, belly breathing, to trick your body into believing you’re laughing. The body doesn’t know the difference between fake or real laughter so you get just as much benefit. It’s a tremendous stress reliever and by releasing our feel good hormones, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, it naturally raises your mood. By reducing stress it also boosts your immune system which we could do with at this time of year. Plus, once you get over the self-consciousness of trying to laugh with strangers, it can be fun. Honestly 🙂
A few weeks ago, I’d realised how little I’d laughed over the past few years what with feeling so crap and I wanted to get back my laughing mojo.
Why do we need laughter yoga?
Have you ever noticed how we react to public laughter and how we ourselves laugh in public? Have you noticed the polite, slightly forced laughter from someone trying to please? Or the repressed sound of ‘I want to laugh but am I meant to’? We suffer from social embarrassment and allow ourselves to laugh for only a short time. We get annoyed with the hysterical caterwauls of young girls and the lairy drunken lads. Do we really need to get drunk to be able to lose inhibitions and have a good laugh? Well a good drink does help to release the sense of humour and it seems it’s not that easy to just laugh freely.
So, I trained to be a Laughter Yoga leader
So I trained to be a leader, with the leading UK trainer Lotte Mikkelsen who has been leading laughter training and workshops for over 15 years and is so inspiring in her determination to bring more happiness to our lives.
During the 2 day course we delved deeper into the history and benefits of laughter yoga and learnt various laughter exercises and how to teach groups. My favourite exercise was speaking gibberish. Simply allowing whatever words or sounds come out, without bothering whether they are meaningful or not, just throwing out anything that comes up. I found out later that this exercise has yogic roots in a Sufi mystic, Jabbar, who had thousands of disciples but never spoke any language. He just uttered nonsense. By this he was saying the mind is nothing but gibberish. By throwing out the entire mind’s rubbish, space is created for deeper connection. It’s quite liberating making sounds just like a child again!
So coming back to Thursday, I’d committed to laughing at least 10 mins a day to keep in the flow, but have found it extremely difficult! 2-3 mins OK, but 10!? Not even a Tim Minchin DVD could keep me on track continuously for that long … though I do love that guy!
So that’s why I decided to try the yoga laughter phone call. And it worked! Just listening to others set me off…as well as the thought of what I was doing; laughing with complete strangers in my kitchen on a phone call!
I think this will have to be a regular weekly pick me up as I prepare to get my group teaching under way!
Do let me know if you’ve experienced laughter yoga… Leave me a message below…