Real laughter is easier to ‘go with’ than simulated laughter, and takes less effort to maintain. So laughter yoga was structured with warm-ups like clapping with aligned palms to stimulate acupressure points and simple chanting and exhalations to get the session going and help release tensions. There’s also some really simple stretching, but not much of it, and it is all very, very easy. This is not some high-powered hatha-yoga class which is impossibly difficult and takes years to actually attain enough flexibility to be any good at.
Most of the class though is just plain, simple laughter. There’s a variety of exercises and group scenarios to encourage laughter and get it going, and for variety. The aim is to get people laughing out loud and heartily, from the belly. The exercises are interspersed with deep breathing. It’s all actually quite fun. And very easy too, that can’t be mentioned enough really.
For example you have the Metre-Long Laugh: you measure out a metre with your hands, and burst out laughing when you get to the end of it. The centimetre laugh is similar, but gets to the result quicker! The Happy Pills – which you walk around the class sharing with people – are another favourite exercise, as is laughing at time (even if you’re not wearing a watch).
Eye contact is encouraged most of the time, as is a certain playfulness. These things help to get the real laughter moving and everyone relaxed and enjoying themselves. At the start, nothing is expected of anybody. Later on, deeper and more advanced laughter exercises are accessed.
In this achievement-driven society, laughter yoga flies against the trend! You can’t really compete in it. You just turn-up, get started, and laugh…
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