Laughter Yoga: Releasing the inner child

How much do you laugh?
Whatever you may think, the answer is most probably NOT ENOUGH! I would certainly say this for myself, especially when I look at my mom who is probably the most positive person I know (and who looks like my sister)!

So after my first Happy Yoga class which embeds elements of laughter yoga, I went for the full-blown laughter yoga workshop organized by Yogagold in the spacious and minimalistic Yoga Tribe studio in Kreis 6.

We were 9 yogis at this 2-hour Sunday afternoon event, which we kicked off with a round of introductions while nicely seated in a circle. Susen highlighted the background and benefits of laughter yoga – really impressive facts by the way! – and told us to keep an open mind about what was to come. That comment only very slightly freaked me out 🙂 We were about to step out of our comfort zones, or at least tread very closely to its edges…

Sounds pretty scary, and in hindsight I agree it was at the edge of my comfort zone, but it was SO.WORTH.IT.

I can’t fully explain the set of exercises we did, as it would A). make us all look pretty crazy, and B). it would spoil it for the next workshop participants. But trust me, it’s as childish as you may imagine it. Childish because kids laugh much more than adults, and are pretty happy, joyful and carefree most of the time.

We pulled faces, laughed at good and bad things, hopped around and laughed almost constantly for about an hour! My belly was hurting, my face was aching, and my whole body was sweating – all of joy! Be it real or fake, laughter creates physiological reactions that lift our mood, relax our brain, and improve our mental and physical well-being.

One of the most fun and photogenic part of the workshop was the “pile of laughter” we created on the floor (see pic) – officially called “the snake”. Our heads and bellies rose and shook with waves of joy – our own as well as our fellow yogi’s, so we all felt part of a big loud happy group. Speaking of loud, I am quite amazed that the neighbours didn’t call the police on us, we were certainly VERY loud… on a Sunday… in a residential area of Zurich – oops 🙂

With our last laughs and giggles we did a sitting “laughter meditation”. By that time, we really didn’t need any exercises, props or funny thoughts to get us going. It came natural, and we all went with the flow. As we closed off the workshop with guided meditation, I realized how extremely relaxed my body was. I believe this was my most satisfying shavasana ever! Any muscle tension was gone, my mind was clear… I felt tired but SO HAPPY! It really worked: “fake it till you become it” is what Amy Cuddy famously preached, and even if her theories recently got disproved, I trust in this type of conscious autosuggestion.

Laughter yoga famously gives you a longer-lasting “high” than other physical activities. Some previous workshop participants even mentioned many weeks of ongoing good mood. As I am writing this article on a Monday evening, I do admit I started the week in a much better mood than usually!

Looking forward to holding on to this happy feeling… and planning to laugh more every single day!!! ♥

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