I have been racking my brains today for the name or author of a book I read several years ago about a man who was maybe an entertainer who maybe went to a children's home where there were children with maybe cancer living together? That doesn't seem quite right, but I can't quite get the details back, so I am unable to find and refer back to the book.
The only laughter exercise I remember was the intentional belly laugh. To lie down on the floor and just let loose with a belly laugh. Laugh even if there is nothing funny. Laugh and let your body experience the joy that comes from laughter. I've done that several different times, but not very often. It is most fun to do with Kepler. He laughs easily anyway, and his laugh is totally contagious.
When I first heard of laughter yoga, it sounded intriguing. The opportunities I knew of were infrequent and usually not compatible with my schedule. Finally, the stars aligned and we decided to try out the laughter yoga session being held at the library. Whatever I was imagining, laughter yoga as practiced at my local library branch was not it.
I think the most difficult part of the class was the expectation that we were going to look deep into the eyes of the other participants, in order to make a connection with them. This was supposed to happen without any introduction to each other, or icebreaker, or anything that might have put us at ease with one another. Not everyone was able to do this. As a matter of fact, the person I was with pretty much shot out the door as soon as the intros were over and the exercises began. Others who were there clearly had a hard time looking me in the eye.
The other difficulty was that the exercises were quite brief, so the leader's admonition that we fake it till we make it was impossible for me because there wasn't a relaxed sense of time, a place being created where we could each find our center, find our own genuine laughter. I guess maybe the principle in play there was that your body doesn't know whether you are laughing for real or not (said the leader), so if you do 60 minutes of fake laughing, good enough for who it's for!
Maybe something like that needs a few tries before one decides whether one likes it or not.
"Why do I have to be so negative about everything?" I whined to my husband the next morning (since I didn't like the laughter yoga class). He reminded me that I'm not negative about everything, that I had been willing to respond to the email and had made and followed through on plans to try something new.
It's a delicate balance, isn't it. Trying new things, being unattached to the outcome, staying long enough to get a good feel for something, recognizing that time is precious and being willing to shift gears and do something else when necessary.
Laughter yoga might not be for me, at least not taught like that. But I was reminded that I DO love the laughter exercise I learned about in that man's book. And that is a positive outcome. I can do that anytime, anywhere, and with anyone who is willing. Ha ha ha ha ha!