Monthly Archives: July 2018

Why does laughter yoga matter?

 

Laughter yoga – laughter as yoga – what’s the big deal?

Possibly it is the biggest deal.

So much human life is characterised by over-seriousness and over-thinking. We have probably all experienced both, regularly. Possibly we still do?

Does it serve us? What goes better in our life when we are over-serious and/or over-think? If it doesn’t serve us, and we recognise it doesn’t serve us, how can we stop? How can we learn not to be over-serious and not to over-think?

 

The answer is practice – practicing not being over-serious and not over-thinking. It is only a question of practicing enough so we learn new reflexes.

Only.

Psychology, medicine, science all show how our quality of life improves when we reverse this trend.

Our own personal experience affirms this. We know this. Every time I ask people how they feel after smiling and laughing, the answer is always: ‘better’.

(…… and I’ve been using my smiling techniques – so on way to (the railway station on Sun evening to get train, the road was closed just outside the station – no idea how to get round to station. But did I fret? No, I smiled (well to be absolutely honest I did fret first, until I remembered to smile!…..)

I experience this myself. I am aware how the practice of self-initiated smiling and/or laughing (ie without jokes, humour or any external stimulus) calms me down and also has the immediate effect of reversing over-seriousness and over-thinking. It helps me deal better (ie more effectively) with stresses, anxieties, irritations. It helps me communicate better (more effectively, peacefully, with greater compassion and understanding) both in person and through social media.

It helps me connect better with myself and with others.

Self-initiated smiling and laughing are core practices in laughter yoga.

We smile – just because.

We laugh – just because.

(Photo with Dr Madan Kataria, founder of laughter yoga, and Madhuri Kataria)

When we do these as a yoga, ie to energise our life on every level, they reframe our life. When we do these as a conscious choice – ‘In this moment I consciously choose to improve my life experience’ – it is empowering and life-affirming in ways that can surprise us. This act of choosing takes us to the core human experience: ‘the freedom to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances’ (Victor Frankl)

When we use laughter yoga self-initiated smiling and laughing, we get multiple benefits. Our decision/choice to do these is instantly life-affirming in this Victor Frankl way. This in itself makes us feel better. Additionally, there are the many measured biological and biochemical and neurological benefits. These can make us feel better. Additionally, we immeditately start to connect better. We can create a virtuous circle of choosing to feel better, which makes us feel better, which helps us connect better, which then makes us feel better because we are feeling better and starting to get better feedback from others, and so on.

All this can be triggered by simple laughter yoga smiling and laughing exercises which are fun to do, easy to learn, and can be done on your own. They are at the heart of  the #laughteryogawithJoe experience.

Just keep practicing.

How can you to learn to? Get the free 2-minute video (email me joe @ joehoare.co.uk)
(Do share this blog if you find it helpful.)

Additionally, you can:

Learn online

Learn in person.

Learn at a conference

For more general information, visit www.joehoare.co.uk

 

 

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Social media driving you mad? How laughter yoga helps.

 

Do you sometimes find social media is a chaos-theory series of infinite rabbit holes? With distractions that spin off from distractions? Full of people being ‘wrong’?

Do you find sometimes you get sucked in?

Write hasty and ill-advised comments?

Lose your focus?

Do you want to change all this?

I have learnt to use my laughter yoga (almost!) all the time on social media and email.

Here’s how.

While laughter yoga is often viewed as a ‘Marigold Hotel’ slightly zany group activity – not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course – it can also be adapted into individual, pragmatic day-to-day working practices.

The key is figuring out how to turn group ‘laughter exercise’ activities into personal practices for computer work.

  • First, laughter does not have to be out loud. We can laugh silently, on the inside.
    With practice, it becomes something we feel. It has the capacity to lighten our mood. When we develop our awareness sufficiently that we realise we are getting distracted, losing our focus, getting fired up, we can use silent, internalised, invisible laughter to help us refocus and calm down.
    Why not do it now?
    Do a silent, invisible laugh now and see how you feel? Does it change your mood at all? Do you feel more present? Notice whatever you’re feeling.
    The more often we take the time to notice being present, the easier it becomes – even and especially on social media.
  • Smile.
    With practice, smiling triggers this same change in mindset.
    Smiling while writing helps prevent over-seriousness and over-thinking. Smiling exercises are core laughter yoga exercises and over time, help us re-wire our brains so we naturally and genuinely smile more.

    The relevance here is to remember to do this when at your computer. The smile can be gentle and almost imperceptible, a slight upward-turn at the corners of your mouth, a slight crinkling around your eyes, a slight lifting of your eyebrows. Fortunately, your brain recognises all these signals and responds accordingly, with among other things, a lifting of your mood.
    As before, why not do it now and observe any differences you experience?
  • Embodiment.
    Remember to be embodied. Moving deliberately and consciously aids embodiment, and transforms social media and computer time.
    How can we feel our embodiment while at our computer?
    Stretch. Any stretch will do. Just do it.
    Feel. Feel your feet, feel your ‘seat’. The practice is to be aware of these areas while on your computer. Wriggle your toes, move slightly on your chair, enough to be aware of sensations here – and notice any change in mindset.
  • Breathe.
    Remember to breathe. We are all likely to have heard this adage many times before.
    It is easy and sadly common for our breathing to become shallow, especially when at the computer. Remembering to take deep breaths, and from the belly, helps us refocus, break free from distraction and alleviate any over-thinking tendencies.
    It can also help calm us which is sometimes important?
    ‘Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition’
    We all need to remember this sometimes?

The goal is to embed these practices into out psyche so that we start to use them unconsciously.

Here are some suggestions from my own practice:

  • Practice smiling continuously when composing an email.
  • Make a point of smiling and being aware of the soles of your feet while scrolling through your newsfeed.
  • Remember to smile and breathe deeply when receiving notifications.
  • Practice silent invisible laughter when replying to comments.
  • Mix and match these.

Contact me if you’d like a one-to-one to embed these techniques yourself if you want to use social media more effectively and productively.

[ As a core present-moment practice, I have a 2-minute Move / Breathe / Smile video.
Email me ( joe @ joehoare . co . uk) if you’d like a copy? ]

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[Learn more at www.joehoare.co.uk  ]

 

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