Queen of Sleep goes on a Laughing Yoga Workshop
Yesterday, I attended a laughing yoga workshop organised and offered for free to people who have chronic/longterm illnesses or disabilities and have completed the Expert Patients Program, NHS. Today, there are over 500 laughing yoga clubs all over the world. They must know something I don’t (have to admit that I am slightly cynical but keen to try!)
As you probably already know, I put an image of a woman doing yoga on my vision board a few weeks back so I could not resist going to this workshop. I love to try new things especially things that I don’t understand. I wanted to see how a laughing workshop potentially could work for me. I have seen clips of workshops from the US. I also saw that the Narcolepsy Network offered classes in laughing yoga at one of their conferences that was televised in the U.K.. I did really feel for the participants who couldn’t help having severe cataplexy and sleep attacks during the workshop. In the happy spectrum, I am lucky, in the sense that I only get cataplexy attack when I happen to be quick and witty. It’s easier to control than general laughter so I knew that I would be fine participating in this workshop.
Laugh leader Spike Warwick ran the class. She is very natural, gentle and very sweet. She started the workshop by informing us about the history of laughing yoga as a form of exercise to increase wellbeing. The benefits of laughter have always been well know but 15 years ago Dr. Madan Kataria started a small group. The purpose of the group was to laugh as much as possible. In a couple of weeks the group has increased dramatically to 50 participants but after a while they started to run out of jokes to tell. They said – we don’t want be part of this anymore, it’s getting boring.
Dr. Katarian said to the group: – Give me 24hrs to resolve this situation!
He thought about the situation and came to the brilliant insight that you don’t need anything to laugh at or with so he went back to the group and said: – We will laugh for no reason! Fake it until you make it!
We are going to use icebreaker exercises and laugh. Laughing yoga exercises also work because “motion creates emotion”. I don’t know if you have tried reaching your arms up to the sky in a winning gesture trying to say “I am miserable!” Or if you have tried doing the opposite, crouching, looking down saying “I am really happy”. Now, do it again reaching towards the sky and say “I am really happy”. Can you feel how the first time it felt odd and how good it made you feel the second time? Motion Creates Emotion!
The health benefits of practising laughing yoga is that it creates endorphins in the body, and if you suffer from a longterm illness that is causing you pain – laughing yoga could work as a happy painkiller. It also boosts your immune system and combats cortisol, increases circulation and massages your internal organs. It’s not a cure for a chronic disease and it takes practise. Incorporate it into you life as a habit. Try not to think or talk while you exercise laughing. If you don’t see many people thoughout the day – make a laughing date over the phone with a friend. 3 minutes a day of laughing on the phone would make anyone delirious – it’s a bit bizarre but why not? We did several laughing exercises. Then Spike introduced various arm movements in combination with positive affirmations. I was impressed by that section as you know that I believe in reprogramming of bad habits and thought patterns. Affirmations can be incredibly powerful and they are so easy to use. Will I start to practise laughing for 10 minutes a day?
If you would like to book a certified laughing yoga workshop with Spike Warwick email her on: Spikewarwick@supanet.com
Another resource is: http://www.laughteryoga.co.uk/