In all my years of teaching yoga and working with health education there is one thing that I felt needed to be tackled before eating well and exercising and that is … drum roll please…. STRESS! It’s not rocket science but it does take a certain level of awareness to recognize our state of stress. If you live and work in America then you probably have chronic stress and are most likely accustomed to it. Can you run your stress away? Perhaps. But when you finish your run the stress comes back. Can you eat your stress away? Hmm… a whole chocolate cake or tub of ice cream might provide short term satisfaction but eventually leave you overweight and more stressed. Stress is a state of the mind… we are stressed because our minds are constantly analyzing, craving, judging, expecting, deciding, and so on. One way to make it shut up is through the age old technique of meditation. Alright, ready… set…meditate! Did it work? Unless you are a practiced mediator this technique probably doesn’t work too well and it takes a lot of time! Trust me… I spent 10 days in silence and still can’t tell my mind to shut up on demand. Alright now imagine some tickling you or listening to your favorite comedian… what happens? Within seconds you are on the floor rolling with laughter… AND you have forgotten whatever was on your mind. Even when you are done laughing and your mind kicks in again it is much calmer and clearer. This is the miracle technology of laughter yoga. Yes, I am calling it a technology- the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose.
The concept of laughter for well-being is not new. We have all heard the expression “laughter is the best medicine” it is unknown who first said this but the underlying message is weaved throughout many cultures, traditions, philosophies, and books. Researchers have been exploring this concept for decades and have proven that laughter can reduce the risk of depression, heart disease, obesity, and other mind/body illnesses. Why? Well, the exact methodology is unknown. One theory is that ineffective breathing leads to illness. From a yogic perspective, breath and more importantly oxygen is the vital and life giving force within us. Due to stress and fast paced environments we have programmed our bodies to breathe shallow and irregular. This leads to lack of oxygen and accumulation of carbon dioxide in our blood which further causes anxiety, more stress, and emotional reactions. The good news is its reversible. Deep breathing with awareness can bring more oxygen to the brain and blood cells alleviating the symptoms of stress. A daily dose of laughter is one well proven technique to promote deep breathing and bring oxygen to the blood.
Motion creates emotion. What the mind thinks the body will manifest. So if the mind is stressed and depressed the body will respond by moving slow and hunched over since the lungs are not fully active opening the chest. However, if the mind is awake and in a state of joy, the body too will be energetic and open. Which would you rather be? The nice thing is the choice is truly YOURS. This is the one time pretending and lying is warranted. According to laughter experts- even when unhappy, behaving or acting happy will bring the mind to a state of happiness. Bring laughter to your Body and your Mind will soon follow. Basically, fake it till you make it!
As always don’t take my word for it, try it out and report back. There are laughter clubs everywhere to find one near you click here. If you are in the bay area then you’re in luck. Join me this Saturday for a laughter yoga workshop. Details below.
What makes you laugh? Post to comments…
Laugh-J-lution Laughter Yoga
Saturday @ 10:30am
115 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, Ca 95112
For more information email email@example.com
What is a Laughter Club?
A group of people who gather together to laugh, have fun, and experience the health benefits of laughter. The club is completely free and open to all ages. No experience necessary, no jokes needed, just bring an open and playful mind.