Tag Archives: laughter yoga

Why make laughter yoga joyous?

Here is a case for making laughter yoga joyous.

As we probably all know and remember, the benefits of laughter come from the act of laughter itself.

However, according to the 2013 report from the European Pain Federation Congress, increased pain tolerance is experienced through ‘real’ (Duchenne) delight when the laughter ‘comes from the heart’ (the link is ‘additional resources’ below).

The Norman Cousins ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ experience is based on the genuine hearty laughter he practised and experienced during his recovery.

In my own experience people get more out of their laughter yoga when it is authentic and heart-felt because this makes their laughter real and funny.

In my own life I find my laughter yoga effective because at some point it becomes joyous and genuinely funny. (Nowadays and as a result of practice I find ‘at some point’ can be instant.)

My approach (MBS – Move, Breathe, Smile) is based on feeling the experience. This sounds simple but like all simple practices (for example, sitting and breathing) it has depth and when we explore deeply we find our edges. This is inherently challenging and uncomfortable and is why we shy away from our inner awareness.

However, ‘the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek’ (Joseph Campbell).

When we become aware of inner stirrings, the messages from our inner being, we have choices. We can either ignore them or listen to them or listen to them and take action. When we decide to take action we need resources and if we are smart, we use all the resources available to us. We might increase them and practise using them until we reach the point when we are ready to enter the cave and find the treasure.

For some of us the treasure in the cave is joy.

When we find it, the alchemy starts. Our life becomes richer, deeper and fuller. We become more skilled at transforming experiences into joy. As it transforms us it affects those around us.

The transformation will include our work. It becomes more joyous. For we laughter practitioners, our teaching becomes lighter, more heartfelt and authentic. As it does so, the benefits people take away will increase and be more practical and useful.

Are these good reasons for more joy in your life?

Additional resources:

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Joy in laughter yoga

Laughter yoga is a path to joy.

Laughter yoga doesn’t create joy because joy already exists. What laughter yoga can do is help us discover, notice and experience it.

The most enlivening aspect of laughter yoga for some of us is the stillness after the laughter. This is similar to savasana in yoga, the state of total relaxation. When we notice and start paying attention to this space we realise that it underlies life. It is space of being and becoming.

There are many ways of accessing this space and laughter yoga in an excellent one. The energy and vitality of laughter yoga can combine with present-moment awareness to engage us with the experience of being alive. The more we engage, the more we experience being alive, the ‘Now.’ The ‘Now’ is not inert and static, it is dynamic and creative. It is like a prism with many facets, one of which is joy.

This joy exists and is waiting to be experienced.

When we ‘start with the end in mind’ (to Quote Steven Covey’s 7 Habits) and have joy as the end in mind, our laughter yoga transforms. It ceases to be about exercises and instead becomes the practice of joyfulness. This approach in laughter yoga is sometimes referred to as the ‘Inner Spirit of Laughter’. The archetype of this approach is of course the Laughing Buddha who represents joyful healthy abundance.

This joyful approach to laughter yoga is accessible to both new and experienced laughers. It is being-based not learning-based. It is easily accessible if we are so inclined. It is like a riddle – learning to be, without learning.

There is a new online ‘Inner Spirit of Laughter’ course starting soon. Contact me for details – joe at joehoare.co.uk / www.bristollaughterclub.com

The physical course will run as soon as groups are allowed to congregate again.

Background to this approach is available in the book ‘Awakening the Laughing Buddha within’. You can read the free introduction here, and listen to an excerpt here.

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The most important role of laughter yoga?

An essential part of laughter yoga is sharing joy and kindness. This might be its most important aspect?

Joy – the inner spirit of laughter

I love laughter yoga exercises and use them every day for my own physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health. I have been using these intentional activities for 3 decades and they now combine in my own personal blend (‘laughterjoega’? ‘laughterjoyga’?). They are an integral part of my life because they work.

However, my own laughter yoga uses fewer and fewer exercises.

In my current life I am doing a lot of voluntary work and meeting people in varying degrees of distress. This is where I use my laughter yoga most. We always have a warm chuckle, even in the direst circumstances. This is intentional on my part. I don’t set out to make them laugh but I do set out to find a moment of joy with them and this always results in a good-natured chuckle.
In fact, I find less is more. The less I ‘do’ and the more I allow, the more easily we connect and find our moment of joy.

Sharing joy is at the heart of laughter yoga. Sharing joy invisibly is the inner spirit of laughter .

We develop this when we stop focusing on laughter yoga exercises and start feeling the energy inside them. Physical laughter yoga exercises whether movement, breath or laughter-based become a platform and a path into the inner spirit of laughter. The benefits include more impact, greater spontaneity and the ability to radiate laughter yoga effortlessly and invisibly. We can do this anytime and anywhere.

Do you?
I’d love to hear your experiences? Please share them?

www.joehoare.co.uk

www.bristollaughterclub.com

(If you want to develop this yourself, you might be interested in this pioneering workshop, ‘The Inner Spirit of Laughter’.)

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Laughter yoga, joy and laughies

Making a laughie

At the recent Joy Conference in Bristol Dr Gulcan Garip introduced us to the #laughie created by Freda Gonot-Schoupinsky. As she explained, it is a new mental wellness technique – ‘a one-minute recording of your laughter on a smartphone that you simultaneously laugh along to.’

The studies involved participants laughing along with their laughies 3-times day for 7 days, and using the World Health Organisation 5-item Well-Being Index.
The results are encouraging. Average absolute wellbeing scores increased by 16% from baseline to post-intervention

The connection and overlap with laughter yoga comes because self-initiatied laughter or ‘laughing – just because’ is a core laughter yoga practice (‘laugh for no reason’ in traditional laughter yoga parlance) . We train ourselves to laugh more – more easily, more naturally, more joyfully.

This conference was an excellent testing-ground because there were many laughter yoga practitioners in the room, so we were all ready to explore this new approach.

Gr Garip showed us the way …..the results were hilarity!

One of the takeaways from this lovely presentation was our own laughie. The feedback I have had is that without exception, everyone feels better when they use it.

One of the general takeaways from the conference is if you want more joy in your life, laugh more. One way to laugh more is to make a laughie – and use it. Visit this web page for a brief photo record of the day, and the presentations.

Make yours now?

Want help making yours? Get in touch today

www.joehoare.co.uk

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Joy Conference: “things that sustain your desire to be alive”. Bristol 26th October 2019.

Joy energises life. It sustains your desire to be alive.

According to the Glasgow University study of 2014, joy (‘happiness’) is one of our 4 basic facial expressions and primary emotions. It is no surprise, therefore, that it is such an effective approach to mental health, even when life its at its darkest..

Kate Hull Rodgers talks about her own journey from a mental hospital to award-winning comedienne in her presentation at the Joy Conference in Bristol on 26th October 2019.

In her own words: ‘Award winning comedienne, Kate Hull Rodgers, first became mentally ill 30 years ago. She was given a multitude of diagnosis, a cocktail of medication and was even chained to a bed, spread-eagle, as part of her treatment. Eventually she was institutionalized and sent to the notorious long term mental hospital. Her prognosis to get out was “hopefully”. Until one day the occupational therapist suggest Kate write a list of things that brought her Joy. Kate scoffed at the ridiculous idea…. But then she tried it. It was transformational, a turning point and the beginning of Kate’s long road to Recovery. Come and hear Kate’s astounding story of how she has lived with being Bipolar. You will laugh and cry and you will be inspired.’
Not to be missed.

Read her latest blog here. It is one of the most lovely pieces of writing I have ever read:
Joy List: “things that sustain your desire to be alive.”

Joy is also fundamental in laughter yoga. It is one of the 4 key steps, along with simple breathing & stretching exercise, playfulness and connection. When approached like this, it is easy to activate and benefits everyone. Let’s all be more joyful?

Do you prioritise joy in your own life?

If not, is it time to start now?

Joy Conference

Laughter yoga

‘Awakening the Laughing Buddha within’

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7 days of Laughter Yoga – day 2: Don’t worry – laugh

We all worry?

The homilies like ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ are great aspirations but don’t tell us how.

One simple tip is to laugh.

‘The Best Medicine is an award-winning short documentary – link below

As ever, there is a knack to this but, put simply, just laugh! ‘Just laugh’ means to laugh intentionally. Do this, willingly, on each outbreath for at least 3 consecutive outbreaths. Follow this with another 3.
Various things follow from this:
1. you will immediately start to feel better because you are making a positive choice in your life.
2. you will start to oxygenate your system and so feel more energised
3. the endorphin effect means you will start to change the hormone levels in your blood from ‘stress’ to ‘relaxation’

The Dalai Lama said: “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

I use this technique today. I woke in the morning and my brain started to go into worrydrive. After letting ideas & thoughts roll around for a bit too long, I realised I was entering my ‘worry’ zone. I had crossed the threshold between fixing the situation and worrying about ‘what if?’, so I started to laugh intentionally. I immediately started to feel better. I felt calmer and better able to prioritise my next steps. This also meant I felt more optimistic about my intended actions, approached them in better heart, and noticed subsequently that they were well focused and effective.

All this came about simply by ‘just laughing’ / laughing intentionally.

This technique is an easily learnable one and one of the simplest and fastest ways of reducing stress.
With more practice, it will even help you access your own joy.

So, breathe in, and as you breathe out, have good-natured chuckle.

#laughteryogawithjoe

Bristol Laughter Club

Joy Conference

‘The Best Medicine’

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7 days of laughter yoga – day 1: SMILE MORE

 

What did I learn from laughter yoga today?
1) That the importance of connection is becoming better appreciated.
2) that I wasn’t smiling enough while washing my dishes this morning

SMILE MORE!

The surprising benefits of talking to strangers  – this article in the BBC is a reminder of the power of the smile. The whole article is excellent, reminding us we are social beings, and in particualr it reminded me to encourage more smiling.

There is something joyful in a warm, genuine smile, and we usually appreciate receiving one. So why not give yours away as often as possible.
(These photos come from a #laughteryogawithjoe workshop: practicing smiling)

 

 

 

Another reminder in the BBC article is ‘…… most seem happy to talk if you reach out with good intentions.’ A smile can be an excellent way of reaching out with good intentions.

So my reminder/learning for the day: keep smiling.

#laughteryogawithjoe

Bristol Laughter Club

Joy Conference, Bristol, 26th October

 

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What’s Joy got to do with it?

 

Joy: a sense of elation and ‘deep abiding’, a much deeper experience than happiness.
Is this important to you?
How can you activate yours?
How can you maintain it?

Joy energises our life and gives us a sense of purpose. It is important for its own sake but also because it activates qualities like acceptance, peace and connection, as well as resilience and presence of mind.
It has the potential to give us ‘lasting happiness in a changing world’.

In Integrative Medicine, joy is a recognised promoter of health and wellbeing.
Psychology shows how it contributes to our mental health.
In cancer care it is recognised as life-affirming.
In business, it is valued for its resilience and mindfulness qualities.

In brief, joy is recognised as an important contributor to a healthy, happy and fufilled life.
(‘The Joy Conference‘, Bristol 26th October, combines all these threads, and more.)

Laughter yoga can activate joy. It can be used to focus on joyfulness, and an excellent way to achieve this is to practice celebrating, especially celebrating being alive. The sense of elation and aliveness that accompanies this celebration automatically activates our sense of joy.

Simple celebration steps include smiling and laughter.
The practice of smiling is now a well recognised method of improving our mood. There have been many studies that demonstrate this beyond all doubt, including those done by Professor Frach and associates in 1988 with the pencil in the teeth study.
So, step 1 is to practice smiling more.

Self-initiated laughter is another good step. Children constantly laugh like this, just because. Adults can learn how to to do this again, particularly when using laughter as yoga. Although laughter yoga can be a group activity (which taps into the contagiousness of laughter), it is also a solo activity – laughing, just because. When we use this yogic approach, we learn to experience all the benefits of laughter whenever we choose.

A third step is to experience how we embody this.
The studies into body-mind communication show how we can alter our mood and mindset through embodiment and posture. We can celebrate more by adopting a celebrating posture.

The combined effect of these simple steps includes activating our joyfulness and bringing all its benefits into our life.

Further information

The Joy Conference 26th October, Bristol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is more information about Laughter yoga 

 

 

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Does joy have practical benefits? Is laughter yoga relevant?

 

The short answer to both questions is, of course: yes.

The effects of joy and joyfulness include helping us live a healthier, happier, more engaged and more productive life. They are an antidote to the modern epidemics of anxiety, depression, isolation or disconnection.

The science behind this gets stronger every day. “Humans do seem to be genuinely unified by laughter.” says Professor Sophie Scott of University College London.

We probably need no other reason for laughter yoga than this sense of connecting with fellow humans in a warm, peace-inducing, good-natured way.

However, the benefits continue.

“Laughter……. spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.”says Harvard Business School professor Alison Wood Brooks. These psychological benefits have been documented in positive psychology studies for some time (in ‘Authentic Happiness’, by Dr Martin Seligman, for instance), so the factual basis for more laughter in our life is solid.

How can we achieve this?

As part of the wellness and mindfulness waves that are, happily, spreading inexorably through modern life, there is a special role for laughter yoga.
Laughter yoga treats laughter as a yoga because, as is increasingly well known, the benefits come from the act of laughter itself, not through jokes or humour or funny. A happy spin-off happens to be that life becomes funnier and more humourous but the intention is to access all the benefits from the act of laughter itself – for the reasons covered in the articles below.

Laughter yoga is an adaptable activity. It works as effectively in teams & conferences as in classes, or on your own. It works seated or standing, for all ages and cultures. It can be used in any and all circumstances.

As there are so many benefits from laughter yoga, isn’t it time to explore its potential in your own life?
Learn more here:

Courses

Conferences / teams

Online

CNN – The science behind laughter yoga

The benefits of laughter in the office

Do you want the free 7-minute Relax/Breathe/Smile/Feel meditation?
Contact me joe @ joehoare.co.uk with ‘Meditation please’ in the subject line

 

 

 

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‘Feeling alive’ with laughter yoga and moving mindfulness

 

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. … I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive…….so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell.

How do laughter yoga and moving mindfulness help us feel alive?

One of the many effects of laughter yoga is to alter time, to expand the ‘Now’.

When we laugh heartily, time disintegrates and the present moment expands. We become wholly involved in the moment, in the act of laughter itself. All our attention is engaged in this almost overwhelming activity and we enter an altered state of consciousness – the ‘Now’.

When we live in the ‘Now’ as opposed to in the past or the future, we enter a state that is timeless and inherently joyful.
When our attention and awareness are focused in the current moment rather than in our thoughts, memories and anxieties, we find the ‘Now’ is expansive and liberating state of being, and this can affect us profoundly.

‘I must agree that the session for the “Wild And Well” weekend was one of the best out of the whole course.
It made myself and my colleague so very happy for the whole day, and a for quite while afterwards…….Who would have thought such love, energy and happiness could come from one hour.’

Over the years I have found that mindful movement and embodiment can rapidly precipitate this.

I have found the simple formula of moving, breathing and smiling, when adjusted appropriately, works with every group in every situation. It has worked with ‘grieving’ groups, with special needs children, and with hospice volunteers. When this approach is suitably framed, it allows and encourages effortless, good-natured, appropriate light-heartedness & playfulness. This always manifests as joyful, natural, genuine, spontaneous laughter.

When this form of laughter yoga is combined with mindful movement and aware, conscious embodiment, our ‘Now’ expands in what is sometimes an intensely ‘alive’ experience.

‘That hour session was honestly one of the most uplifting things i have ever experienced.’

This hybrid approach uses the best of mindfulness and the best of laughter yoga. It works because they reinforce each other. It is the combination of the ‘lightness’ of laughter yoga with the ‘awareness’ of mindfulness that produces this experience of being intensely and joyfully alive.

One quality about this practice is its simplicity. Jon Kabat-Zinn described mindfulness as ‘simple but not easy’.
This combination of laughter yoga and mindful movement is simple. It is best done in the easiest and simplest way you can. There is nothing to learn.

You simply start consciously moving, breathing and smiling, and feeling how this affects you.

The benefits start immediately.

The more you do this, the more you build muscle memory and, through neuro-plasticity, wire this into your consciousness.

The more you practice, the longer the benefits last.

I hope you develop and enjoy your own practice.

Upcoming course, 1st December, Bristol (UK)

Online course

General information

 

 

 

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