Francine Shore, Laughter Yoga Teacher and Coach, New York: Just recently, this month, I was en route to Chile at JFK airport for a 9pm flight. The plane was delayed for 4hrs and passengers (including myself) were exhausted and frustrated. The airline staff at LAN Airlines was also exasperated as we were heading towards midnight and they were awaiting information on when the plane would be cleared for takeoff.
I thought that as a Laughter Yoga Teacher, if I can engage the passengers in some laughter exercises with a seated Laughter Meditation, I would have a chance to offer them (and myself) some much needed stress reduction.
I walked over to the LAN staff and asked them if I can do a type of standing up Yoga exercise called “Laughter Yoga.” I explained to them that these exercises would calm the passengers and offer some stress relief. They giggled and in unison, cried” Yes, ANYTHING!!”
Well, there I was- I prefaced my announcement with “We don’t know when we will be taking off. We’re exhausted, frustrated, and angry and stressed out, I rallied. Aren’t we?” “YES”, they all chimed in.
“So, I am a Laughter Yoga Teacher and with permission from the LAN staff - I would like to try some stress reducing exercises with you. Are you all game?”
” YES”...Again in unison, they cried out!
I started with a brief background on Dr. Kataria’s Laughter Yoga followed by some laughter exercises. It was the most exhilarating experience to see these passengers in a public place exhausted, stressed out and yet willing to participate! As we say in Laughter Yoga, “just go with the flow”. There they were. Laughing with gusto, stretching their arms, deep breath inhalations and exhalations and moving about as they chanted the “ho ho ha ha’s”.
I looked back at the LAN staff, as I watched their quizzical smiles, as if in disbelief.They couldn’t believe what type of MAGIC was actually taking place.
I concluded the 20 minute laughter session with a seated Laughter Meditation! I asked them for a show of hands of how many of them felt better. And, as in any Post -Laughter Yoga session- the reply was positively unanimous! The participants gave me a round of applause! And I also heard some “ ho ho ha ha” chants from the passengers. It was music to my ears!
I want to thank the LAN staff for theirsupport, permission and willingnessto satisfy their stressed out passengers, who were experiencing lengthy delays. Through these Laughter Yogic exercises, there was a possibility that something magical would occur for those that participated. I feel Laughter Yoga should be implemented at all the airlines as it makes good business sense and is a transforming life experience.