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?