By Paula McCoy
February 29, 2009
We have all been told that laughter is the best medicine and I agree. Laughter helps to release endorphins in our body which in turn makes us feel good and it helps ease our pain and give us more energy when we feel tired.
I have found that one of the best ways to ensure that I have enough laughter to help me to heal, is to participate in a laughter yoga course, often held in places such as the Y or in the case of Montreal, it is held in the Wellness Center run by the Hope and cope organization. The particular course that I am referring to is the one given by Tracy Shafter once a week every Wednesday for 45 minutes. [For more information on Tracy’s class please click here].
I find that when I am feeling stressed, laughter yoga helps me to feel relaxed. I feel much better after a class than when I first arrive there.
There are also many benefits to laughter yoga. It teaches you how to breathe properly. Most of us don’t breathe properly, we tend to take deep shallow breaths and we breathe from our chest and not our stomach. The laughter also gives your body an “internal jog” making you feel more energized.
This class also gives you permission to laugh and be silly. As adults, we don’t laugh as much as we did as children. We are told from a young age to “wipe that silly grin of our faces and to stop acting so silly.” As we get older, we tend to forget how to laugh and just be silly. This class gives you permission to do both things, forgetting all your cares and worries. We only laugh about 10 times a day whereas children laugh about 200 hundred times a day.
I have to admit when I first started taking the course, I was a bit skeptical that the laughter would really help me to heal but after attending for the last couple months, my perception has been changed for the better and I would recommend it to everyone that wants to relax and feel better.
There are many relaxation methods available but I have found that this one has been by far the best one for me. It has been well documented that laughter is the best medicine and this is the easiest way to make sure that you have your daily dose of laughter.
Some things that you could try on your own when you are not in the class are:
- Sit down and close your eyes and think of something that happened in your life that is funny. Usually, you will start laughing in no time. Try doing this for about a minute or two and get a full belly laugh going.
- Try greeting someone in a silly way that you would not usually do. It’s fun to see the other person’s reaction when you do this.
- Talk gibberish, which means to talk nonsense that no one understands. It is one of the best things to do to help relax your mind. It usually results in laughter when you try this with someone else.
All in all, laughter yoga is something that I would tell other people to try; with no doubt in my mind they will enjoy it as much as I do. If you are ever in the Montreal area, come and give Tracy’s class a try and if you are not, then look up laughter yoga on the Internet and see if you can find any class in your area. You won’t be disappointed!