Mona Warner: Recently, a lot of people suggested that I post something about my experience with Laughter Yoga... well, here's what I came up with:
Back in early 2007, a friend of mine told me she did Laughter Yoga training. I thought it sounded odd, not very yogic… too irreverent perhaps? Anyhow, as she was telling me how great it was, I tuned out. Apparently I was not ready yet. Then in 2009 I had the great privilege of taking the iRest Level 1 training with Richard Miller (he's amazing!!!). One of the many elements Richard discussed during the training was the importance of laughter. He told us that it was really important that we laugh every day, even if there was no reason to laugh. Maybe there’s something to this laughter stuff after all?
In 2012, I finally tried it and did my Laughter Yoga Leader Certification! And am I ever glad I did! It was a very enjoyable training. We spent two days laughing, and it felt great. Laughter Yoga is a blend of laughter exercises (which encourage a child like playfulness and movement), breathing exercises, eye contact (which cultivates community) and finally laughter meditation. We can practice laughter on our own, or in a group. There are thousands of Laughter Clubs all over the world. It’s a very adaptable practice that can be done sitting in chairs or moving about a room, beach or park.
What I’ve personally noticed is the following:
I laugh more readily – life is funnier and as a result, more enjoyable. My laughter friend Tanya always talks about how life is basically one big Laughter Yoga exercise!
I laugh more fully - which gives me some abdominal toning and cardio ;)
I can laugh at stress and frustration - which helps to relieve stress and frustration.
It embodies me – nothing brings you back to earth and your body like a good belly laugh!
It puts energy in motion (e-motions) – if you have any blocks, as soon as you start the practice you’ll know. It is a means to discover where you are blocked, and the means to move that energy because Laughter is a wonderful energy release!
You can shift the energy of a room in less than 10 min - Since taking the training I use Laughter Yoga in the 200-Hr Yoga Teacher Trainings I facilitate and it’s been amazing – brings the group closer together (shared experience) and shifts the energy (ex: from after-lunch-food-coma to alert and ready to learn!).
For more information on the benefits of the practice, you can check out the website at: http://www.laughteryoga.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=182:concept-and-philosophy&catid=85:about-laughter-yoga&Itemid=265
It lists things such as stress relief, increased oxygenation, healthy emotional expression and increased well-being. I can say more, however I believe the best thing I can do is recommend you go try a Laughter Yoga class at your local club. It’s like trying to describe chocolate; the best way to understand its awesomeness is by trying it... HA HA HO HO HO!