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Across the United States, teachers and studios are recognizing that funny business can help yoga businesses thrive. “Humor can help a studio attract and retain students,” says Julie Margolis, an instructor at New Jersey’s Yoga Montclair. “They love it because it helps them relax their muscles, surrender to their practice, and take themselves—and yoga—less seriously.”
Scientific studies show laughter has the same effects as asana practice: It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, boost immunity, and minimize pain. And the physical act of laughter can be considered a form of spontaneous pranayama (breathwork).
How can humor improve your students’ yoga practice? “When we enjoy leela, Sanskrit for ‘play,’ we get more creative and widen our possibilities,” says Erin Maile O’Keefe, cofounder of New York City’s CircusYoga. Humor can help us laugh off poses we get “wrong,” revel in ones we get “right”—and brave ones that we’ve never broached before.
Click here to read top tips from yoga’s reigning funny people on how to “enlighten up.”
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.
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.”
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.
The following videos hopefully will at least make you smile. They may even (hopefully) get a few chuckles out of you. I post these type of videos here (many more are coming!) because they have either made me laugh or inspired me. If you enjoy laughing, the humor path is great, and it requires constant feeding (the same thing won’t make you laugh every day). This is why I like Laughter Yoga so much better. To me humor is a snack, and Laughter Yoga is the main dish. They’re both food, and one has much more substance than the other. Click here for exercises you can try right now.
Those who believe that laughter is the best medicine may want to give this a try: Laughter yoga blends attempts to provoke laughter via eye contact and childlike playfulness with breathing exercises. “The idea is that if you’re laughing on the outside—even if, initially, you’re faking it—it will create an effect on the inside that brings joy and releases endorphins,” says Mary-Laurence Bevington, director of Movement Climbing & Fitness in Boulder, Colo.
Sydney, Australia: I walked into my first laughter yoga class expecting to see a hippie in a tie dyed shirt and leggings. I did not expect my yoga teacher to be a lawyer. And I certainly didn’t expect to be rolling around on the floor laughing with a bunch of people I’d never met before. But that’s exactly what happened.
The difference between fun and laughter? You can have fun without laughing. Some people, sadly, can even laugh without having fun. To my knowledge, there are vast collections of studies about the healing powers of laughter and humor (read this), or participate in the Laugh Lab (http://www.laughlab.co.uk/) study about what’s funny. But I still haven’t found anyone researching the physiological, psychological or sociological benefits of fun.
Just like there are many different forms of humor, there are also many different understandings of Laughter Yoga and ways to practice it. Some you may relate to, and others you may not.
A fairly common discussion in the well-thinking circles of the world Laughter Yoga community is to try to (if need be forcefully) formalize what Laughter Yoga is and what it is not, how it can and how it can’t be practiced for the sake of “the movement” (allow me to remind you that the core concept of Laughter Yoga is to laugh for no reason.)