The Yoga Of Laughter: From Stressed Out To Blissed Out!
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Has life become too serious for you? Do you find yourself going days or weeks without laughing?
I certainly used to. I was in a job I hated and that filled my head with negativity and my body with rigidity.
In 1998 while in Mumbai, India, I read a newspaper article about a group of people that gathered every day in a nearby public park to laugh. It piqued my interest because they shared no jokes and didn't use any form of comedy. Instead they laughed purely for the sake of feeling good, just because.
I was puzzled but chose not to go and investigate. It would have taken a full one hour, and I was too busy complaining I was too busy. I mean, why would sane adults do this anyway? What was the point? This was ridiculous and they had to be crazy. Anybody can laugh like that. Ha ha ha. Done.
I quickly forgot about it all, and was so convinced I could laugh anytime anywhere that it took me 6 years to realize that I never did.
Eventually my heart took me back to Mumbai and its laughter clubs. I learned to laugh every day as a yogic practice using an exercise regime created by a medical doctor in 1995 called Laughter Yoga. This was a big turning point for me. I discovered how good laughing could make me feel and how easy it was to laugh, even when everything in my life seemed to be going astray. It was so profound that it triggered a cataclysmic reaction in my brain. The mask fell. I stopped being who I thought I should be and started being who I really wanted to be. I learned to always take full responsibility for my actions and how they made me feel. This did not change my life. It still is much better than that. It changed me.
The more I practiced and taught this exercise regime, the more I discovered complementary techniques that help to bring joy into everyday life. I also started to understand the underlying wisdom from both the East and the West that all these techniques pointed to. In time I combined this knowledge into a method that I call Laughter Wellness. It includes the Laughter Yoga approach of simulated laughter exercises, and expands its approach by offering a clear process that is easy to follow, and adding a greater variety of techniques and activities, insights, games, dances, songs and more – all glued together with lots of laughter.
This introductory course will introduce to you the founding principles and key techniques of Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness method, and how they can help you as an individual laugh more (we won't go into how to teach group sessions).
No particular equipment, clothing, or physical abilities are required.
What your personal history is doesn't matter. Who you are now is perfect and most appropriate.
All can practice and benefit, with or without limbs, because this method revolves primarily around the breath and attitude (it's of course going to be more fun if you have limbs because these allow for more movements.)
All you need is a big smile and the willingness to try something new that only adds and doesn't take anything away. This is a "yes, and" approach to life, not "yes, but."
My goal is not to persuade you of anything, but rather to make you conscious of what is available to you. As Zig Ziglar once said, "no man is clever enough to remember everything he knows." There is always value in being reminded of what's important.
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|Section 1: Introduction|
|Although the laughter program presented to you in this course has proven itself to be safe in most instances, individuals with physical or psychological medical histories should definitely consult the appropriate medical health professional for specific guidance prior to using these or any exercise…|
|This introductory course will introduce to you the founding principles and key techniques of Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness method , and how they can help you as an individual laugh more (we won't go into how to teach group sessions). It will remind you of the scientifically proven benefits…|
|This course has 14 chapters. Each chapter is a combination of inspiration and food for thoughts, joyful exercises for your body, and suggested next steps to help you maximize the personal value of what you are learning. Chapter 1: Introduction This tells you what to expect from this course. Chapter…|
|Drop your misconception that fun is frivolous We are all born to be pleasure-seekers. We gotta have fun - or else we rust. Laughter is not an "extra" nor a reward; it's a necessity. Play and laughter are the gateways to health and happiness. The opposite of play is not work, it's depression. Playing…|
|Please make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and try not to think at all for 60 seconds. Now.|
|Remaining silent for just 60 seconds may appear to be simple, yet it is an extremely difficult exercise. It is very hard to control the chatter in your head. Here is what the Indian philosopher and Hindu saint Thayumanavar had to say in the 18th century about controlling the mind: " You may control…|
There are several thousands of Laughter Clubs around the world. Each is independent. They do not report to nor receive orders from anybody. Most are free and public. Each class leader has his or her own style and set of techniques, but the core activity is always the same: people get together just to laugh as a form of exercise.
|The method we are going to explore together has played a major role in shaping who I now am. I spent the first decade of my adult years in an inner state of confusion. I conformed with society and what I thought was expected of me: my father had worked hard all his life, so I too worked hard. In my…|
|Section 2: Framework|
|I made the following observation is my years of traveling, teaching hundreds of Laughter Professionals around the world. In the East when you say "laughter is good for you", people usually reply something along the line of " This is great! Show me. " In the West however the same statement usually…|
Here is a joke:
- - -
Two farmers meet. One sells a cow to the other. Money is paid cash. The cow is to be delivered 1 week later. On delivery day however, the cow is brought but it's dead. Upset, the buyer asks for a refund. The seller refuses to give the money back, claiming that he has already spent it. The buyer decides to keep the dead cow. They each go their separate way.
A month later they meet again. The seller is surprised to see that the buyer has a very positive change of fortune. He asks what happened. "It's the cow!" says the man. "It was a true blessing for me."
"What do you mean?" asks the puzzled seller who knows he has been most unethical in this business. A dead cow is worthless.
"I gave it away as first prize in a lottery and sold 10,000 tickets for only $5 each" says the buyer.
"Didn't anybody complain?" wonders the seller.
"Only one person"
"What did you do?"
"That was easy. I gave him his $5 back."
- - -
Did this make you laugh?
At best you have chuckled for a few seconds.
Imagine reading this same story everyday for the next 50 years. At which point do you think it will stop being funny?
This is not a reliable approach if you want to laugh daily for a solid 10 minutes or more for the rest of your life.
Now try this: play the audio file at the top of this page (right below the title "How can we laugh more") and laugh along for as long as you can.
Yes your mind will know that you are faking it, but your body won't because it can't.
Your body can't think. It can only feel.
Fake it with enthusiasm for as long as you want and you will get significantly more happy chemistry than if you were genuinely laughing, for the simple reason that you will be laughing longer.
Humor does make us laugh, but only for seconds at a time.
Choose to laugh and you can keep going for hours on end. The only limit is that of your stamina.
|Feelings and emotions do not exist in thin air. They require a very specific chemistry to exist. You don't "walk" into a cloud of anger, sadness, love, etc. What you feel is tied to specific muscular engagement patterns. Try to truly "feel" happy and relaxed as you tense your body, cross your arms a…|
|Many associate choosing to laugh with acting silly. I could not disagree more. It is important to make the distinction between silly and playful, because the way you understand and perceive your own behaviors has an impact on the energies you place behind them and therefore how they affect your self…|
|Laughter is a form of Pranayahahama (Pranayama with a happy attitude). It is a variation on a key Pranayama exercise called Kapalbhati, a famous yogic exercise that entails rhythmic movements of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts (this is exactly what happens when you laugh). Pranayama…|
|Faking laughter is fine, but not all forms of faking are born equal. You will get out of your practice exactly what you put in. Fake it with sincere enthusiasm and you will get the maximum benefit. Consider the fake smile versus the true smile. It is believed that the Duchenne smile (named after the…|
|Section 3: Happiness is a skillset|
|90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by your external world but by the way your brain processes the world. It is said in India that fate is what happens to you, and destiny is what you do with it. What really matters is the way you respond to what happens to you, because that's the only…|
Important reminders before we laugh together
You can buy the DVD version of this video on amazon.com
|The following video might be disturbing to some of you, yet it shows very well the power laughter can have to diffuse tension. Gita Fendelman is a retired tax lawyer from Tucson, Arizona. Several years ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In this video she talks about the “ha ha” mantra a…|
Using the principles she teaches, Pragito Dove M.A.,C.C.H., transformed her fear and pain into joy and inner peace. Dove is founder of the Laughing Buddhas Network and an internationally recognized author, meditation master and hypnotherapist. Her first book, “Lunchtime Enlightenment” (Penguin Group,2001), was published in five languages. Her new book ”Laughter, Tears, Silence: Expressive Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Open Your Heart” was released in March 2010. http://www.discovermeditation.com
|Section 4: Empower yourself through your thoughts|
|Here is a different take on the question "what you do you really want?" What that is doesn't really matter just now. The pit of human desires is endless. Even if you are unclear about your ultimate life mission, think of something important that you want or would like to have in your life now. Next…|
|It took me several years after I became a Laughter Professional to realize that I was missing something very important in my life and personal practice. I laughed lots, meditated daily, very rarely complained, and overall was a very optimistic person who achieved lots. My life however was filled wit…|
|There are many ways to laugh. How could you do it differently? In the following video we are going to practice simple movements that are associated with laughter. Think about the physical activities that you already have. (How) Could you add laughter to them?|
You can buy the DVD version of this video on amazon.com
|In 2006, the pastor of a Kansas City church told people in his congregation he wanted them to test their limits. "The one thing we can agree on," said Rev. Will Bowen, "is there's too much complaining." And so he asked the group to give up complaining, criticizing, gossiping or using sarcasm for 21…|
|A big part of what creates challenges in people's interactions and makes many miserable is the power struggle. One believes he knows better than the other and tries to impose his or her opinion. Here is an easy way to change that. Try the "yes, and" method. Here is an example: " You want to smoke? Y…|
The moment you say “yes” to life the power of life goes to you. Discover what can happen when you embrace “yes” and abandon the restrictions of “no”. Through personal stories and laughter coaching tools Dan and Jill share the challenges and the rewards of saying ‘yes’ to your life!
Dan and Jill Johnson believe in the power of unconditional laughter to heal our bodies and our spirits, to de-stress and to create community. Jill is a yoga teacher and a certified cardiac and cancer yoga therapist. And Dan is a Certified Laughter Coach with The Levity Institute’s Certified Laughter Coach Training Program. Jill and Dan live in South Dakota where Jill is co-owner of a yoga studio, and Dan is a life coach and massage therapist. They’re owners of Joyful Living, a business that brings more joy to your personal and business life through laughter! www.joyfullivinglife.com
|Section 5: Empower yourself through your environment|
|Who and what are you allowing into your life today, and do they inspire you or not? If you want to have more laughter and joy in the future, you need to address what's preventing this from happening now. Consider the following: Wean yourself off the daily news juice. Reading / talking / watching ne…|
You can buy the DVD of this video on amazon.com
|Section 6: Practice laughing alone|
How to laugh alone
|This is a more dynamic and physical approach to a solo laughter practice. It has the advantage of being a full body workout as well. Try it out and see if it works for you. The Five Tibetan Rites is a system of exercises reported to be more than 2,500 years old. I have shamelessly added laughter to…|
|I learned this powerful meditation from Oscar Visquert, a Laughter Therapist from Spain. Chakra are commonly described as energy centers in the spine located at major branchings of the human nervous system, beginning at the base of the spinal column and moving upward to the top of the skull. They ar…|
|Gibberish is a language of sounds without meaning and generally involves hand and body movements to try to convey meaning. Children speak gibberish when learning to speak. It is a Sufi healing technique used to help people release tension and negative emotions in a safe and non harmful context. It w…|
|Decide To Laugh Say yes to life and laughter. Actually just say yes to anything and everything all the time, and mean it. As Patricia Ryan Madson puts it "Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say "yes"; "right"; "sure"; "I will"; "okay"; "of course"; "YES!" Cultiv…|
|Section 7: Wisdom of Yoga|
|Yoga teaches that health and happiness require the following five components: Peace of mind : control of your emotions is the key to health and happiness . The WORRY approach to stress management also makes that same point very clear: W hy think of the worst? Focus on the best possible outcome. Be …|
|Section 8: Science of happiness|
|The new field of Positive Psychology has extensively studied what is now knows as the science of happiness. To summarize volumes into few short sentences, we now know that humans can survive but will never truly thrive without each of the following four elements: Belief system : you need to believe…|
|Here are a few scientifically tested ideas that, if done for just 2 minutes a day for 21 days, will rewire your brain to work more optimistically and more successfully: Each day write 3 new things that you are grateful for (Emmons & McCulough, 2003). Your brain will start retaining a pattern of posi…|
|Section 9: Jest for the fun of it|
|Humor is powerful and must not be overlooked. The downside is that it is cultural and short-lived. The upside is that it is all over the internet and a few simple search can keep you laughing for days on end with lots of new material. Try this: Go online Do a search on youtube for Eddie Izzard or …|
|Section 10: Playing|
|During the course of their working lives, most people lose touch with the sources of their personal power. Play and laughter, especially when they are whole-hearted, whole-minded, whole-bodied, lead to an experience and expression of personal power. When people play and laugh, and play and laugh ful…|
In this keynote address funsmith Bernie DeKoven talks about the psychology of fun and journeys on the playful path that enrich people's lives. During the course of their working lives, most people lose touch with the sources of their personal power. Thirty-five years ago, while developing a curriculum in theater for elementary school kids, Bernie made two discoveries that changed his life and some small but significant parts of the world: fun is fundamental to happiness, people can be taught how to have more fun. He eventually discovered that there was a direct connection between the experience of alienation, and the amount of fun people were having – that the more alienated people were, the less fun. Realizing he could help people make anything more fun – their jobs, their relationships, the things they make and do – Bernie set about creating public and private workshops for exploring the Playful Path.
About Bernie DeKoven
Bernie DeKoven is a lifetime member of the association for the study of play and the 2006 winner of the Ifill-Raynolds award from the North American Simulation and Gaming Society. He calls himself a "funsmith" because it's the easiest way to define the last 40-plus years of his career. See www.deepfun.com
|Lecture 40||7 pages|
|If games are of interest to you, here are three resources of value you may want to explore: www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activities/camp-game1s.html www.deepfun.com/playing-for-laughs/ www.laughteryogaamerica.com/4fun/play There are plenty more online, and it all depends on your particular…|
|Section 11: Singing|
|Singing can be much fun! Choose a popular song ( I have posted over 100 here ) and then try some of the following ideas: Sing your song with words and try to mime its story with large movements. Hum your song (mouth stays closed) Sing your song with laughter sounds only (ho, ha, hee) Be a singer / c…|
|Section 12: Dancing|
|If you ever feel down or depressed, ask yourself when you last stopped dancing, and why. Dancing is easy, and any kind of dancing is appropriate. In case you are not familiar with the work of Gabrielle Roth , you may be interested in what she calls "the five rhythms": Have you ever danced in your ca…|
Life is a celebration and laughter is a vital element of celebration. How can we let joy express freely in our life and in our meditations? Unconditional laughter and unconditional celebration are the ways of the mystics. In laughing meditation, we can easily open the doors to the Divine.
Sarito Sun has been leading laughter groups over 30 years. She first learned the Laughing Meditation from Osho. Sarito has inspired thousands of people to open up to the joys of laughter. She has a CD available to help people practice the Laughing Meditation. It is available on her website www.saritosun.com
To sign up to Sarito Sun free newsletter simply send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarito Sun - Laughing as celebration and meditation
|Section 13: What's your plan?|
|What does a life filled with laughter and joy mean to you, and what does it look like? Write it down and be as specific as you can. Everything can be quantified and measured, and therefore managed. Why leave laughter to chance? Know exactly what you want so that you can pro-actively make it happen.…|
|Here is a simple plan to succeed at laughing every day (or any other good habit that you would like to create). Get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. Next you need to get a big red magic marker. Each day that you do the task you have decided to do…|
|Section 14: Next steps|
|I hope this course has provided valuable insights to you on how to add more laughter and joy into your life. Here are a few options to deepen your knowlege. For fee Products : laughter CDs, DVDs, e-books, streaming videos... In-person professional trainings : you'll never be the same after that Onli…|
Sebastien Gendry is a Laughter Wellness Coach and the Founder and Executive Director of the Laughter Online University (a leading provider of online education on the therapeutic uses of laughter) and the American School Of Laughter Yoga, LLC (the oldest and largest provider of Laughter Yoga education in North America).
A professional trainer of global vision and great generosity of spirit he travels over 70,000 miles every year to train several hundred Laughter Yoga Professionals in North America, Europe and Australia.
Emotionally open and intensely thoughtful, he encapsulates and shares the power of positive and playful energy and creativity.
He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and numerous other national mainstream media in the USA.