Tag Archives: creativity

Laughter Yoga: time to start laughing with, not at?

 

There was a time not long ago when a client of mine was appalled at the possibility of yoga being taught as a stress management technique.

How times have changed.

Nowadays everyone knows about it, lots of us have tried it, and some of us use it regularly. The benefits from its breathing and stretching are so well established that it has moved from being sneered at to being welcomed.

Is this now the case with laughter yoga / yogic laughter?

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As we move into an era where personal, professional and environmental wellbeing are recognized as both essential & intertwined, the answer looks increasingly ‘yes’.

As with mindfulness, the benefits of yogic laughter include enhanced wellbeing (‘happiness’), reduction in stress, anxiety and depression, and improved resilience.
These benefits are also attainable through positive psychology and the likes of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and as research is starting to show, through yogic laughter practices as well.

Even the Pentagon has had happiness seminars.

These benefits impact our professional life as well as our personal life. Evidence is accumulating fast to show how we think more clearly, more creatively and for longer when we are in a positive mood.
Yogic laughter practices create this positive mood instantaneously.

The environmental aspect is becoming appreciated because in this arena too, health-inducing inner practices contribute to practical effectiveness. Leading figures and pioneers like Satish Kumar of Resurgence and Sir Julian Rose of the Soil Association use these practices.

What does yogic laughter offer?

Key yogic laughter practices include:

  • Willingness: being prepared to explore a practice for its benefits, even if the practice initially feels unusual
  • The smile: both smiling and laughing change brain chemistry and improve mood & effectiveness
  • The power of the mind: using the power of memory and anticipation for these same benefits
  • Movement and posture: we change our mind by changing our posture and how we move.

As with mindfulness, yogic laughter practices can require only a little time, they are simple if not easy, and are learnable.

If happiness and good mood are recognized as valuable across a spectrum as wide as Oprah, Google and the Pentagon, I’d say we’re getting there.

Time to laugh with, not at?

Resources include:
Learning yogic laughter practices

Wake Up Laughing’ in Resurgence & Ecologist magazine

Happiness at work – Shawn Achor

General information

Yogic laughter in action (video)

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Say hello to your creative muses – do something different.

I was reminded by a friend fresh off his NLP course recently about the value of doing things differently.
Magic happens when we break out of routine – our minds freshen up, we get fresh insights, our creative muses often visit. On a course a while back one participant told of a company department where for a month everyone had to take a different route to work. The expected result was their creative output increased. The unexpected result was weight loss. What’s the moral here? – the unexpected brings unexpected results.
I decided last night to take up a practice I used to do regularly when I was a countryside dweller, which is walking at night, midnight rambles. I set off round the park and the more I walked, the more my creative muses visited. They’ve even encouraged me to blog more.
Night is a magic time to walk. All our senses are sharper because we’re in the unknown, we can’t mooch along in a usual daytime semi-unconscious reverie because we need to be alert. This alertness opens our consciousness, and I found my muses pouring in idea after idea. Even better, they linked up all kinds of ‘dots’, showing me how to connect up different threads I’ve been pursuing this past year. I’ve had a busy year running nls: natural laughter skills courses, and my muses showed me how to develop these further make the experiences even more accessible and valuable to participants.
In fact, next time, I’ll have to take a notebook because so many came through that I forgot some of them.
I’ve come to realise that my muses want to visit, they want to implant their ideas, and although they come on their own timetable (which is sometimes 4am, that magic time when our conscious brain is most switched off – be prepared for disturbed night’s sleep, folks), they will visit at more social times too – provided we’re ready and open to them. However, you do need to be prepared to stop what you were doing and receive their inspiration otherwise they might move on and it’ll be lost.
The magic is that by setting up a receptive lifestyle and mindset, muses will visit you more often too, which is an uplifting and joyful experience. My inner Laughing Buddha smiled.
I’d love to hear your experiences.

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