They say laughter is the best medicine. Can that be true? Last week I successfully completed a laughter yoga leader training (I'm not joking here) and I must say, I probably laughed more in those two days that any other time in my entire life. And I laugh quite a lot!
The concept of laughter yoga is to laugh for no reason. It was discovered by a medical doctor and now there's 16,000 laughter clubs in over 70 countries. No need for jokes or comedy. Just fake it till you make it. And your body benefits from the laughter as if it was real. A great boost for your immune system and lots of extra oxygen for your brain - yummy!
So I've come up with the idea of 'Mindful Laughter Yoga'. Why not give it a try right now?
1. Start with a few minutes of mindfulness of breath. Or just three deep breaths if you want. With a smile.
2. Do some laughter warm up exercises by clapping your hands and saying 'ho ho ha ha ha, ho ho ha ha ha'. Walk around as you do this to help energise you.
3. Now do a laughter exercise. For example, pretend you're opening up your credit card bill and instead of worrying, make the sound of laughter for about 10-20 seconds. Or pretend you're talking to your friend on the phone and start doing a fake laugh as if you heard the world's best joke. Or pretend you're a witch stirring her cauldron and do a witch like laugh as you stir your frogs legs and spider potion.
Try and let go of your inhibitions and discover your inner child. And let go of those self-judgmental thoughts.
4. Finish by lying down and practising a mindful body scan, as described in most of my books.
Laughter yoga is similar to mindfulness in the following ways:
- You disocver how to be non-judgmental of yourself and others
- You let go
- You discover your inner joy
- You accept yourself just as you are
- You learn not to take life so seriously
You can do it! Here's a TED talk on it.
Image by Marc Kjerland