Imagine a healing force that is fat free, calorie free, cholesterol free, portable, ageless, timeless, one size fits all. It doesn’t require a prescription, but IS habit forming, even addictive. Would you want it for the rest of your life? I certainly would and it is an experience I engage in multiple times a day. It’s laughter. It is something that children don’t think twice about and is as natural as breathing.
The first Sunday in May is celebrated as World Laughter Day and folks are invited to join with other ha-ha-ing humans in gatherings near and far. According to the official website:
“World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. The celebration of World Laughter Day is a positive manifestation for world peace and is intended to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter. Its popularity has grown exponentially with that of the Laughter Yoga movement now counting over 6000 Laughter Clubs in more than 65 countries.”
I grew up in a goofy family who would make up silly names for things, offering terms of endearment for each other, and other family memebers and friends. Laughter in the Weinstein household flowed as freely as the water through a running river valley. It is part of what sustained us through challenges and is a loving legacy my parents left me. My friends are funny people too; sometimes even punny people whose comments cause groans and eye rolls. I work in an environment in which humor is essential to keep me ‘sane and vertical’. When I teach workshops and classes, I give out purple feathers to remind people to lighten up and “tickle your fancy, or whatever else you have in mind.” I have an alter ego named Feather who is a faerie-clown who was given birth during a particularly challenging time in my life about 15 years ago. Laughter was a healing balm for my emotional wounds.
My initial experience with Laughter Yoga came when I was introduced to Jeffrey Briar who had been practicing and teaching yoga for years and had made his living from acting. Now he makes his life out of laughter. He came to the Delaware Valley to teach a workshop that would train other folks in this mahvelous modality. I was only able to attend the Friday night intro, but my friend Peggy Tileston completed the training and now offers classes in the Philadelphia area for silly souls who want to think and play outside the box. I have attended a few Laughter Yoga sessions and have felt the residual effects for days afterward.
According to The American Journal of Medical Sciences, Alternative Therapies, Psychology Today,The Scientist of the University of Maryland Medical Center (as cited in The Orange County Register)
Enhances the immune system
Reduces blood pressure
Increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
Improves lung capacity and oxygen levels
Provides a massage for internal organs
Is contagious, like yawning
May help prevent heart disease
I can vouch for many of these benefits and I’m sure you can as well. What tickles you? Comedy shows and movies? Comic strips? Humorous books? Jovial jokes? You can tell when you are around people for whom laughter is their life blood. They just glow from the inside out.
Take a look at the websites listed below and find some time on Sunday to join with other merry-making, chuckling, guffawing, mirth-filled, tee-hee-ing, peals of laughter people. Imagine a world in which laughter brought us all together.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOMqqI-kzHY I Love To Laugh from Mary Poppins