Stepping into a class for the first time can be embarrassingly awkward. The first class that I attended was an impromptu one in a small town that I had been living in. I didn’t know all but one person and of course, it was the instructor. I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but after realizing that we were all there for the same experience, it was easy to let go and just be in the moment. As a newbie, I first needed to ditch everything I was taught in my yoga certification studies. For the student, I would say forget wearing your cutie yoga clothes, jeans will work, just wear something comfortable and forget downward dog, tree and warrior poses. All you need is a bottle of water, maybe a tissue in case you cry when you laugh and some strong pelvic muscles. And remember, everyone else is doing this with you.
The philosophy behind this yoga is pretty simple, whether you force it or it is a true laugh…something triggers the physiological responses and while pretending to do it, you’ll almost always end up actually doing it! And so, as you are standing as a group the instructor will begin to use prompts, in turn these prompts will start making others laugh…including yourself!
There are different kinds of techniques that bring out the laughter in people. It depends on your instructor. Some may have you chant words that make no real sense, others will have you clapping and skipping around the room. Other’s may have you partner up and watch each other doing certain dance moves while singing and starting to laugh. Getting your blood pumping is key. This helps your endorphins to release and boosts your immune system, there is something to be said about laughter being the best medicine for you.
With all the stress that we have experienced with the Covid-19 Pandemic, many of us have had our lives void of laugher. And as we get older, it’s common that we tend to shy away from the childlike play and laughter we once had. And so, in a safe and non-judgemental space these yoga classes offer a great way to regain the lightheartedness and euphoria feelings.
Just think about when you have a really good, shameless belly laugh. What muscles do you use? Facial, heart and core, among others. It only makes sense to realize it is great exercise. While working on a medical journal article in the 1990s, a Mumbai doctor came up with the idea that there are health benefits of laughter. There are now clubs in 70 countries around the world, ranging from schools to corporations. And so, people are really seeing the benefits within their own communities.
It’s not just a childlike playfulness and carefree hour that is great about these classes, it’s that these are and can be readily accessible to anyone anywhere. You just need to be brave enough to try it once. After that, you will know that you feel great all day afterward and may even become addicted!
Look for my upcoming Giggle Laughing Yoga classes offered in the Be Brave Wanderlust Network, coming in December 2020.