My friend Joyce is in town (the last week - darn!) from Hawaii, & today I rode my bike over to the Senior Center for her Laughter Yoga class. Now we 'all know' that Laughter's a great medicine, how de-light-ful to spend an hour with a group of kids & adults, laughing away!
Some of the health benefits of laugher: happy hormones, it's a physical workout, helps with weight loss, makes us smarter, distracts us from negative emotions, alter how we respond to stress & is contagious. Even 'fake' laughter perks us up, & makes us feel better.
Ask yourself - who's in charge of my emotions? Who decides how I feel?
Try this, bend over & say "I'm so depressed! I feel awful" . . . then sit up straight, throw your arms in the air, smile & say the same thing? Does it feel true? Try again - bend over, hang your head & arms down low, say "I feel GREAT! I'm so happy!" now throw your arms above your head, smile, & say "I feel FABULOUS!' . . .. tee hee!
Laughter Yoga is laughter for 'no reason!' No jokes are told, tho there are exercizes to prompt laughter - being handed an invisible Visa bill, say; pretending to open it - make an awful face as you 'read' it, then show it to your neighbor (the kids each got 3 or more invisible bills!) point, moan, laugh . . . think of how you might feel if you smiled while you paid your bills.
Begun in India in March of 1995 by Dr Madan Kataria, who was writing an article 'Laughter - the Best Medicine' for a health journal, laughter yoga has spread around the world. Begining with about a dozen students, for the first few weeks, the group told jokes or 'funny' stories to stimulate laughter (more than 50 folks had joined them in the park) . . . but some of the jokes were hurtful - what to do?
In reviewing his notes, Dr Kataria realized that 'fake' laughter produced the same positive benefits & 'happy chemistry' as the 'real' thing - what if they began just laughing? With a background in amature theatre, Dr Kataria used role-playing & other games to stimulate childlike playfulness & produce laugher. With his wife Madhuri, he practiced Yoga, & saw similarities between Pranayama exercises, so laughter Yoga incorporates elements of deep breathing, stretching, clapping (full hands, fingers to fingers, to stimulate the meridians) & the 'mantra' "Ha ha ha! Ho Ho!"
There's 'official' training (what a hoot!); there areapproved blogs, there are short vids to watch . . . .
So, stop what you're doing, find something to laugh at & do it!! After a bit, clap your hands, say the mantra (clap with each word: Ha Ha Ha! Ho Ho!) put your hands on your belly & feel them warm up
Smile, you'll feel better!