Some friends and I tried out a Lafter Yoga class last night. It was advertised "for stress reduction, shedding inhibitions, increasing your sense of humor, better physical and mental health and energizing your life". Laughter among friends, gentle breathing and stretching sounded like a winning combination. So we gave it a whirl.
The concept is based on the idea that your body doesn't recognize the difference between a fake smile and a real smile; fake laughter or real laughter. "Laughing for no reason" is the name of the game in this club. It does not rely on humor, jokes or comedy. You laugh with people; not at them.
We learned fake laughing techniques for the better part of an hour and there were moments when it became real. We laughed for (almost) two minutes straight. Try it. It's hard work. It was the best core work out that I've had in months.
Maybe it is because I was a novice and very self conscious, but I didn't come out of the session feeling much different than when I walked in. 'Relieved' would possibly be the best description of how I felt at the end of the hour. Relieved that it was over and I could go out for coffee and real laughter with my friends!
As we sat at the table and enjoyed our coffee/tea afterwards, our 21 year old friendship generated true laughter. We laughed with each other. Nothing beats a genuine, from the heart belly laugh among friends. There were serious moments, thoughtfulness and encouragement was volleyed back and forth across the table. But each time we burst into gales of laughter, I realized how blessed I was. To share friendship, laughter, tears, good and bad times with a group of friends that I would trust with my life.
There were many nuggets of positive information that I took home with my from our Lafter Yoga class. I have been craving laughter these past months. I'm glad I tried it.
What I learned, I have known all along. I am blessed to have a life that is generously seasoned with laughter and tears, enough challenges to appreciate what I have and good friends to share it with.