I've wanted to try Laughter Yoga for years. I was working next to someone in the corporate world of London way back when in the mid 2000s and she kept talking about this "Laughter yoga". I managed to not raise my eyebrow the first time she told me about it (what? people lying on mats just laughing in the park?) but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a good idea that sounded and probably something I should do frequently.One of the drawbacks of the great city of London is its immense size and I never made it to the sessions because it would have meant traversing that great capital and I always found a reason not to go. Well, here we are in 2013 in Toronto and I had the opportunity for my first Laughter Yoga class the other night. Did I go? You bet. Did I laugh? Actually, I did. A lot.
When Laughter Yoga was born (in 1995 in India) it started out with the telling of jokes to make people laugh but then after a few weeks they ran out of clean jokes and started telling dirty ones. The laughter stopped as the majority of participants were women who didn't appreciate the smut and so the founder had to rack his brains and beg them all to come back promising something better. He then came up with the idea which pretty much follows the line "fake it til you make it". Open your mouth and laugh and see what happens.I have to say it was pretty exhausting at first but then it didn't take long to hear myself laugh for real (or someone else) and then I was off. As an actress I was famous for corpsing (laughing on stage when you are not supposed to) and in some ways this was no different.
Our teacher was great. High energy and kept us up, brought us down, cooled us off and then took us back into laughter. We jumped around, did silly games, sang songs, short role playing kind of stuff (nothing too dissimilar to improv warm-up stuff) but I liked it. Everyone there put their heart into it and at the very end I felt very tender. Lying on the mat after an hour of listening and laughing was sheer joy. I had the best giggly laugh I've had in a long time. Belly aching laughter with tears streaming down my face.The teacher suggested I take a course and run my own Laughter Yoga workshops? I'm thinking I've done enough courses for now and I already have one lined up for the summer.
Maybe one day. Maybe. More info:The Laughter InstituteFree List of 47 Laughter Yoga Exercises - Sebastien Gendry-American School of LaughterCBC News: Laughter work on the body like exercise