Laughter Yoga with Linda Leclerc
Linda spreads Laughter Yoga wherever she goes. A few years back, she was in San Diego for a training and we met up for lunch and to pick up a couple of items at the mall. By the time we said goodbye, Linda had brought smiles to the faces of at least a dozen people – overworked waiters, bored shopkeepers and fellow shoppers alike.
It is easy to get everyone to laugh at a Laughter Yoga session. The people there came for that reason, but it is another thing to sprinkle joy everywhere, all the time. Linda does that. And I love her for it.
What is Laughter Yoga?
What is that Laughter Yoga you are talking about, you might ask. Most people think of Yoga as skinny people in tight clothing putting their bodies into pretzel-like positions which seem not to be meant for humans to get into.
So, is Laughter Yoga folding into a pretzel and then laughing? The good news is that Yoga really doesn’t require a person to be super flexible to practice and the even better news is that everybody, no matter what size, or age, or ability can enjoy Laughter Yoga. It is simply intentional laughter or laughter for no reason.
That sounds so simple. Just laughing. But that simple act of intentional laughter has so many benefits for our bodies, our minds and our souls.
What does a typical Laughter Yoga session look like?
Usually people come together in a group to practice Laughter Yoga, but it can also be a solitary activity. In a typical session, the leader first explains the benefits of Laughter Yoga. This engages the intellect of the participants. Getting the mental okay to participate is important for many. Let’s face it, in a Laughter Yoga session we are asking people to engage in pretty silly behaviors. Or so it might seem to the newbie.
In reality, we are creating an environment in which we can let go of everyday worries and fears. But our mind first has to agree to engage in a behavior that many adults perceive as more fitted to children. To do so, we first have to convince the self-critical subconscious that it is okay to engage in this not very adult-like, but very playful behavior.
That done, We stretch a bit and learn about laughter exercises, laughter cheers and the laughter mantra: Hoho hahaha. Imagine the cha cha cha rhythm and clap with your chanting. Hoho hahaha – you got this!!
After a good 20 or 30 minutes of laughter exercises and maybe speaking gibberish, everybody is ready for a good laughter meditation. My favorite way is for everybody to lie down on the floor. If possible, all heads pointing towards a center, but everybody has enough space that nobody is touching anybody else. Seated on chairs or on the floor works as well.
The important part is that everybody closes their eyes and nobody speaks any language they know. Gibberish, animal or other noises are okay. Then, we all start to smile, then chuckle and see what happens. Sometimes, not much. But most of the time, people start laughing and laughing and laughing. One infects the other. The group might become quiet. Then one person breaks out giggling again, and the whole group joins in.
This can go on for minutes. And the beauty of a laughter meditation is that you are not thinking of anything. You are simply laughing.
Some of the Health Benefits of Laughter Yoga
This is a list of some of the health benefits of Laughter Yoga.
- Deeper breath – more oxygen to the body.
- Beneficial to the cardiovascular system – helps regulate both, high and low blood pressure
- Reduces pain
- Aids digestion
- Reduces Stress
- Helps with depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders
- Enhances learning by stimulating both sides of the brain.
Linda Leclerc is Laughter Yoga Master Trainer certified by Dr. Kataria who created this discipline. As a master trainer, Linda can train Laughter Yoga leaders and teachers. A typical leader training is two to 3 days long. The teacher trainings are an intensive 5 or 6 days, packed with information and activities from early morning to late at night.
Here are some quotables from our interview:
We are starting to forget how to laugh because we are taking ourselves so seriously.
We are taking everything so seriously.
Everybody who is making us laugh is a social magnet.
Linda on health benefits:
The social aspect of Laughter Yoga might be the best of all. If you are laughing with somebody, you connect with that person. You are no longer judging or being self-conscious. You look into each other’s eyes and you see the human being and you love that human being.
Linda on Laughter Clubs:
A Laughter Club is a place where everybody goes to laugh. Usually, the meetings are free and everybody is welcome.
Stress, it’s on everybody’s mind and in everybody’s vocabulary. Laughter helps us relieve all the symptoms of stress. We breathe deeper, endorphins are being released and pretty soon we feel better and more relaxed. Laughing every day is a choice we can make for ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we never feel sad or unhappy. Or that our problems magically go away. It just means that after a certain amount of time, we decide that we want to feel differently and we use laughter to change our mood. The more we practice, the easier it gets.
Linda created an App for iPhone and Android to help to practice that laughter muscle. It is called “Let’s laugh, laughter exercises.” The Haha sisterhood page has links for both, Apple and Android users. It is only $ 1.99. The best couple of dollars you spend in a long time!
Linda’s website: https://www.yogadurire.com/
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