Tag Archives: laughter yoga

Awesome sessions at Glastonbury Festival 2022

‘The best moment of my festival so far!’ was one comment we received.

Considering the festival had already been going for 3 days, we were chuffed.

What made the sessions so special?

We were very focused. No matter how tired we were, we all held the space individually and collectively. We started each day with an opening ritual which connected us all. The waa-waa woo-woo moments are important.

We all had our own speciality. Each of us flowed comfortably and effortlessly with our own style. The team had Indian, Australian, Portuguese and UK roots so we incorporated Bollywood, yoga, juggling and general high energy. In addition, we kept it real and related the sessions back to experiences we all related to like being tired(!), hot, losing the toilet roll and having jelly legs.

We also had 3 laughter dragons!

Everyone loved the laughter dragons!

Here is a short video of them.

What else did we do? We connected. We had regular moments when we all had the opportunity to connect with one or more of the other participants and as we know, this increases the energy flow immediately, perceptibly and dramatically. Everyone loved these moments.

We also had the time and opportunity for lying down and have a relaxation, laughter meditation and our own settling & grounding experience – which we did in our own way.

And after 5 days of festivalling and 3 days of sessions, we still managed to look like this

One unexpected by-product was how this helped us develop our own style. We all got insights into how to develop further and how to integrate laughter yoga practices deeper into our own style and life.

Roll on 2023?

If you want to develop your own style further with greater freedom, flexibility, creativity and spontaneity, get in touch about the 2 and 4 session ‘Laughter Yoga for JOY’ coaching programme.

For conferences, festivals, training and team sessions, you can find general information HERE and/or email me joe @ joehoare. co .uk

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Laughter yoga: zoom or ‘Live’ – what’s the difference?

After over 2 years of laughter yoga on zoom, IRL (In Real Life) sessions are back.

How have we evolved?

What have we learnt?

What are the differences?

First, the similarities. Loosening up the body works well both on zoom and IRL. It works well because we enjoy it and as we start to feel good, we relax. As we relax we start to smile and with a little bit of encouragement, we start to laugh.

Breathing into our body works well in both scenarios too. It is lovely to follow the invitation to be aware of our breathing and how this induces further relaxation and enjoyment. (The only exception is those for whom the inner exploration is uncomfortable). The deepening relaxation and increased enjoyment create a noticeable energy wave like a sea swell building in strength.

Body and breath become a duet. Sighing and gently swaying like a tree in the breeze become energising, increasingly light, and playful, either with eyes open, half-open or closed.

This is the heart of generating our own sunshine. We relax into the moment and notice how we are enjoying the experience. By this stage in self-selected sessions, anyone who is uncomfortable with present-moment awareness has left, maybe 1%. For the remaining 99%, everyone is starting to surf their own energy wave.

This is where the magic happens – connection.

Connecting with a physical fellow human being is a risk which some cultures find challenging. However, when we choose to do so (especially when encouraged by careful invitation), the outburst of joy is tangible as well as audible. Easy free-flowing natural joyful laughter happens spontaneously as we feel as well as see & hear the laughter.

There is an easy, natural surge in playfulness & creativity as we relax into this connection and when it is carefully managed, it becomes a peak experience.

Zoom has many benefits, as we all know, but the relaxation, joy, interaction and connection we experience in ‘Live’ sessions is irreplaceable.

What’s your experience?

Do you want to train in laughter yoga?
Or have a ‘refresher’ and learn a new and very interactive teaching style?
Details of the 14/15th May course are HERE.

Do you want to join the next ‘Laughter Yoga for Joy’ Masterclass, 28th May? Contact me for details.

Do you want to read the book ‘Laughter Yoga for Joy’? You can preview / order it here.

Stay in touch on facebook: laughteryogaforjoy

www.joehoare.co.uk

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What’s joy got to do with it?

Just over 11 months ago I started interviewing people about joy.

I ask 2 basic questions:

  • what is joy to you? What does it mean to you?
  • How important is it to you?

On facebook (@laughteryogawithjoe) these have been viewed 48,027 times.

They are also on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/joehoare27.

I have asked many people from the laughter yoga community and many other wellbeing and spiritual pioneers including:

‘Extreme Pilgim’ Peter Owen Jones https://youtu.be/u_-5jnTYBFY

‘Peace Pilgrim’ Satish Kumar https://youtu.be/TNiMPnFRhbY

‘Spiritual Whisperer’ William Bloom https://youtu.be/tGUoYEOxTX4

‘Kindness’ author Dr David Hamilton PhD https://youtu.be/j4yMbokLiL4

‘Laughter Yoga Guru’ Dr Madan Kataria https://youtu.be/IpA2MxVvkx4

One answer in common is joy is an inside job.

I hope their experiences inspire you to look inside.

www.joehoare.co.uk

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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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