Laughter yoga is one of the strangest things I have ever done.
…It is also one of the best.
What is it?
Laughter yoga was created in Mumbai by Dr. Kataria in 1995. It started with a small group who told jokes to each other. Then Dr Kataria learned that we do not need jokes to feel good. He found that it doesn’t matter if you are really laughing or if you act it out: the benefits are the same for the body. So he developed some exercises… and Laughter Yoga was born.
I first went to a laughter yoga class a year and a half ago. I decided to go because I had forgotten how to laugh and this made me sad. So, because I believe you can learn everything, I decided to learn it. I saw an advert for Laughter Yoga in a centre near me, and after five weeks, I finally went to my first session.
It was uncomfortable and strange… and it was also the best time I had in a long time.
It has also helped me to build my confidence.
1. Laughter yoga asks you to do new things:
The hardest thing I found was to make eye contact with complete strangers. I have always felt awkward looking at people in the eyes, but eye contact in LY is very important because it helps you to laugh more. It took me about 6 months to learn that it was safe to look people in the eye. And I found it wasn’t as scary as I thought.
We also do a lot of role play at LY. For example in one game we have to mime a word and others have to guess what we are doing. Our confidence increases when we do something new because we see that it is safe. We also learn that we can do things differently and that it can be fun. Both help us grow and feel more comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
2. It teaches you to relax.
LY is not hatha yoga – there are no poses or chanting. The only yogic part of the class is deep breathing and the final meditation, where we lie on the floor.
I love the final meditation because this is when I feel all the benefits of the laughter. I feel soft and energetic inside. I feel SUPER relaxed and happy and friendly. I also feel like everything is super easy and wonder why I worry so much. Why worry when everything is so funny? Which brings me to my next point…
3. I don’t take things seriously
Now when I get annoyed at something, I laugh about it. When I make a mistake, I laugh about it. Or if I am scared about the future and dream of the worst possible thing that could happen… I laugh about it! Of course this is not always easy, but I still have this tool that I can use whenever I want.
I also laugh at myself when I am being serious, which means I’m not so sensitive to people’s opinion. This means I can hear criticism and not take it personally.
It’s really healthy!
There are so many health benefits to laughter. In fact, it has the opposite effect of stress. Your cortisol (stress hormone) goes down, you release endorphins (feel good hormone) and breathe more deeply. This is great for your mood and your health.
So why not find a class near you and see for yourself? Maybe you could even take a class in English and practice two skills at the same time. (TIP: learning English is easier when you are having fun!).
Whatever you do, take a chance to do something new and learn to laugh at the same time.
Enjoy, grow your confidence, laugh, have fun!
If you want to learn other ways to have fun while learning a language, contact me and let’s arrange a free trial lesson.