Mental Health

I tried laughing yoga and this is what I thought…

I recently took part in a ‘Laughing Yoga’ session and wanted to share my experiences of it.

When I first heard this term, I wasn’t sure what to think. I thought it would be mostly similar to standard yoga but with laughter involved. In fact, the class I attended was not really like yoga at all. We had an instructor come along to teach us. He was lovely – a very smiley and kind person – which helped to put everyone at ease. None of us had ever experienced laughing yoga at all so we were all curious, open-minded yet a little nervous.

Apparently our bodies can’t tell the difference between actual laughter and forced laughter. As in, we receive the same health benefits such as lowered stress, greater wellbeing, and increased immunity.

So, laughing yoga is a ‘safe space’ to get these benefits whilst connecting with other people. My understanding is it’s usually different exercises involving laughter. Although the laughter is generally forced, often it results in more spontaneous laughter. You may have experienced this in everyday life, pretending to laugh as a joke with a friend and this turning into real laughter. I am not sure why that happens but it’s always a nice feeling experiencing actual laughter. If we have to force some of it along the way, I can’t see any harm in that.

The instructor led us through various activities and encouraged us to laugh throughout. For example, we ‘made a milkshake’, an exercise which consisted of miming pouring ingredients from one hand to the other, and then after the milkshake is made, miming drinking it whilst laughing. Another example was laughing chickens – a group of fully grown adults mimicking chicken movements and laughing whilst walking around the room. It was a slightly bizarre and surreal experience.

I will admit I felt quite self-conscious at times, and I am sure I’m not the only one. It’s not often as adults we are truly silly and lose our inhibitions. This alone felt quite freeing – to be playful and child-like around other people. I found myself wondering if this is similar to how actors feel – doing and saying certain things that may feel embarrassing in everyday life, losing the social stigma around behaving in certain ways. If anyone reading this happens to act, please let me know if any of this resonates with your experiences!

After we had gone through a number of exercises, we all lay down and were encouraged to laugh. This actually felt to me to be the most freeing aspect of the whole session, as you couldn’t see each other so some of that self-consciousness was gone (this has just made me thought – wouldn’t it be cool if a bit odd to experience laughing yoga whilst blindfolded?). This was ten minutes of different people in the room laughing. Some of it sounded forced but quite a lot of it sounded like actual laughter, which then made other people laugh. It was a lovely experience. We then did a body scan breathing exercise to relax and unwind at the end.

Generally, I did enjoy laughing yoga. It was something completely different to anything else I’ve done and I love having new experiences. It was playful, freeing and just quite silly and I left feeling happy and relaxed. It was quite good exercise as many of the exercises involved walking, jogging around the room doing various silly actions and laughing.

As I have only experienced a one-off laughing yoga class, I am by no means experienced in this field. I have found some other blog posts that explain about laughing yoga better than I could:

However I think having the one experience, with very little preconceptions, gives me a more unique outlook on how I experienced laughing yoga. I thought it was fun, silly and I enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s something I would like to do regularly but I would definitely go again if the opportunity arose.

I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have ever been to laughing yoga and how you found it! Or if you would like to give it a go after reading this blog post.

2 thoughts on “I tried laughing yoga and this is what I thought…

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