Laughter Yoga

In Hatha Yoga, we got into the butterfly pose and the instructor stood behind each of us and then gently stepped on our thigh and pushed our backs so that our heads touched the floor. Very nice. Also tried something not so nice. To clear the sinuses, you are supposed to stick a rubber gizmo up your nose and it comes out the back of your mouth. Then you stick two fingers in the back of the mouth, catch hold it with two fingers, and pull it through.

I did not successfully complete the assignment.

Later in the morning, I went to Laughter Yoga up the street. About 14 in attendance. Bearded man in white robe taught the class, but that’s about as descriptive as saying the restaurant overlooking the Ganges (because most of them do overlook the Ganges, that’s their appeal). Some of the laughter-punctuated activities included:

  • Two lines of people facing each and running up to each other and growling
  • On hands and knees doing cat stretch and loudly meowing
  • Sticking tongues at each other
  • Getting in a circle and grabbing hold of each other’s shoulders and swaying from side to side (both sitting and standing)
  • Sitting, we first leaned forward on the back of the person in front of us and fell backward into the lap of the person behind us.
  • We lay our backs and laughi on the completion of a sit-up
  • Ending with a Hare Krishna dance

Of course, I had to get the class with jerk in it. He was a tall dude wearing a shirt with some kind of bird of prey on it and had a nose from here to almost eternity. He refused to get into the circle and lay down on the side. He just wouldn’t stop laughing, even as the instructor explained the next routine. He was mocking the idea of laughter yoga, which I don’t think completely goes against the laughter program, but the instructor was cool with it so whatever.

At the end I pretty much stopped laughing. One woman just couldn’t stop cackling. What is it about people who have that much laughter? I certainly don’t have it. Where the laughter ends, the sadness begins. I should learn to laugh more.

The instructor said laughing is good for your health. It gives people a chance to bring out their inner child and delight in laughter. It also helps people to meet each other in a completely different way than stiffly and formally but casually and congenially. Laughter is liberates us from the seriousness that makes us heavy and inflexible. We laugh at what is ridiculous and there isn’t anything more ridiculous than the arbitrary conventions that we allow to rule our lives.

It’s something I’m definitely going to incorporate into my classes and my life.

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