A Gift

Fran J Joseph, USA
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Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:43:05

I want to tell you about a gift I was given. The story begins several weeks ago when I arrived to facilitate my weekly Laughter Yoga class and discovered a family of three waiting for me. One of the girls looked to be on the verge of becoming a teenager. A good guess at her sister’s age is fourteen or fifteen. Mom was also present. The three of them and I constituted the whole class that day. They came knowing only that this was a free class in some kind of yoga. And as we began, I wondered how they would respond and if our session would evolve into a playful and fun experience.

The tween of the group seemed very connected to her sister and mom and related to them with far more consistency and ease than with me during our laughter exercises. Not unexpected. She was a bit chatty and at times distracted but participated appropriately for the most part. Older sister was more open to engaging in play with me as well as with her family. At times, she joined her sister in their own creation of playful pushing, giggling and making faces. But it didn’t last long before she reconnected with the class’s flow, bringing her sister along with her. Mom was right there playing along with me throughout.

So we played and at the end each told me that she enjoyed the class. And with that we parted ways. This is how it is with teaching Laughter Yoga. People come, some return. Most tell me that they enjoyed the class. Some express great enthusiasm and gratitude for Laughter Yoga. I love receiving the feedback. Mostly, though, what sustains me and my commitment to offering my free class for three years now is my belief that I am offering something of value, tools for participants to take home to incorporate into all the spaces in their lives that can benefit from the joy, peace, and transformative possibilities.

We didn’t have class the following week and they did not return the week after. Sometime during the next week, while I was walking Bancha, my Schipperke, my attention was drawn to three women, in the distance, who were walking towards me on the other side of the road. They appeared to be coming from the beach as they had towels wrapped around them. What captivated my attention was the playful way they were interacting with each other. They were giggling and then, intermittently, stopping, pointing at each other and laughing out loud. Their laughter was light and contagious and it looked like they were having so much fun. This cycle of walking, giggling, stopping and pointing, with peals of laughter erupting occurred once more before I was overcome with the feeling that I was watching Laughter Yoga and that I must invite them to my class.  I have never before stopped strangers on the street to talk about Laughter Yoga but, with them, I felt compelled. I still hadn’t recognized them as the family who had attended my class a few weeks before. As soon as I engaged with them their laughter exploded and I realized who they were. They told me that they were, indeed, reenacting with each other the laughter exercises we shared. We talked for a moment and they went on their way.

I continued my walk buoyed by the experience. In a fleeting moment and through a small window into this family’s life, I felt like my heart had received an answer to my wonderings about what, if any, impact my offering of Laughter Yoga has on participants’ lives. I walked the rest of my way home feeling energized and inspired.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:43:05 )
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