Category Archives: Sebastien Gendry’s Laughter Yoga Blog

Alzheimer and Dementia patients from Taiwan take part in a laughter competition and love it!

This is a Laughter yoga competition at the Veteran Home of Taoyuan, in Taiwan. Members of this team all suffer from either Alzheimer or Dementia. They practice laughter yoga exercises every day and like it very much.

Laughter did not change this man’s life. It made it worse. Here is why.

This is the story of a man who laughed lots, made others laugh, and still felt like dying.
Frank used humor, and lots of it. The jokes were on him, all self-deprecating.
Truth is, Frank hated himself. This story has a happy ending though. Watch this:

Before

After


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New insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences

Here are the notes I took watching the following presentation from www.ted.com:

  • People learn from people they love.
  • We’re really good at talking about skills, but very bad at talking about emotions.
  • Emotions are at the center of our thinking. They are the foundation of reasons because they tell us what to value.
  • We’re social animals and we emerge out of relationships.
  • What’s really important is not intelligence but the ability to work within groups.

Tapping into the findings of his latest book, NYTimes columnist David Brooks unpacks new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences — insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can’t hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness.

Down history lane: history of the New Games Foundation: Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt.

“New Games” was a movement which began in the late 1960s. New Games encompasses a number of diverse philosophies that once challenged many old traditions about games. Some of these philosophies include:

  • Play and physicality were as important to adults as they were to children
  • Competition and cooperation should co-exist; but while competition can be important, winning and losing is not
  • No one should be left out, eliminated, or unable to play
  • Games are living culture, adapted and changed as required
  • Play should require no or little equipment
  • The rules should be dirt simple and fun

The guiding philosophy infusing all of these was: Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt.

The New Games Foundation was founded to promote these philosophies after several New Games events were held in California in the early 1970s. It prospered for a while, producing two successful books: The New Games Book and More New Games.

Read more.

Laughter can make you a better [Christian/Muslim/Jew/Buddhist/etc.]. Here is why.

How can a mind that is gloomy and dull, love? And isn’t God all about Love?
As surprising as it may seem, there is both a need and a demand for Laughter Yoga in places of worship throughout America (they just don’t know it yet). In the words of American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” St. Thomas Aquinas himself said “It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”
[Read more]

Also of interest in the context of this discussion is what a group of German Christians recently did in Berlin: they challenged the notion that religion is no laughing matter by replacing their church’s bell chimes with peals of laughter, just in time for Easter.
Read the full article here.

Good reasons to take play seriously

According to Newsweek, the United States is in a creativity crisis. TIME reports that today’s students are less tolerant of ambiguity and have an aversion to complexity. And The Futurist suggests that the biggest challenge facing our children is their inability to think realistically, creatively, and optimistically about the future.
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Is Laughter Yoga a form of non-religious spirituality? (the answer is no)

The regular practice of Laughter Yoga helps affirm and manifest what is best in mankind: love, peace, goodwill, trust, joy and much more. It is the purest form of laughter there is because there is no reason for it.

Does this make it a spiritual practice? Furthermore, since there is no organized social structure behind it, can it be labelled as a form of non-religious spirituality?

I would personally argue that this is a wrong debate to have. First because the expression “non-religious spirituality” would be best avoided altogether as it is technically incorrect. Next because while you can call an apple a divine creation, it’s still just an apple. The distinction does not exist in the apple itself but in the viewer’s ability to see it in a different light.

In short: if you are religious you will see Laughter Yoga as a religious activity, and if you are not, you won’t, and in both cases you will be absolutely correct.

It is popular, especially in America, to distinguish between spirituality and religion. It’s true that there are valid distinctions between the two, but there are also a number of problematic distinctions which people try to make. In particular, supporters of spirituality tend to try to argue that everything bad lies with religion while everything good can be found in spirituality. This is a self-serving distinction which only masks the nature of religion and spirituality.

Religion is spiritual and spirituality is religious. One tends to be more personal and private while the other tends to incorporate public rituals and organized doctrines. The lines between one and the other are not clear and distinct — they are all points on the spectrum of belief systems known as religion. Neither religion nor spirituality is better or worse than the other; people who try to pretend that such a difference does exist are only fooling themselves.

For the record, courts in USA have refused to acknowledge any substantive difference between “religion” and “spirituality,” concluding that “spiritual” programs are so much like religions that it would violate the separation of church and state to force people to attend them (as with Alcoholics Anonymous, for example). The religious beliefs of these “spiritual” groups do not necessarily lead people to the same conclusions as organized religions, but that doesn’t make them less religious.