by: Linda Bartosik
Yeah. I know. I asked the same thing. What on earth is Laughter Yoga? My Bikram yoga buddies shanghaied me into going so...
...here it is, the skinny on Laughter Yoga. Last night I attended my first Laughter Yoga class in West Barnstable, taught by
Bobbi. First let me start off by saying that if there's ever a person that should be teaching Laughter Yoga, it's Bobbi. Bobbi is a fun loving, jovial person with an infectious laugh.
The class started by learning a rhythmic clapping chant that would be used to move us from one laughing activity to another. Then Bobbi proceeded to tell us the rules - no talking - everything is done by eye contact. For instance, one exercise was to hold your hand up to your ear listening to a funny phone call. Then walk up to someone in the group laughing and put it to their ear. They would pretend to listen and start laughing, too. You would proceed from person to person until Bobbi started the clapping chant, then she would explain the next exercise, and so on, for about an hour. That's the general idea of how the class works. Now, what did I think of my experience?
Uh...first of all, if you were with the group of women I was with last night, you wouldn't really need a laughing class. They are warm, kind, and hilarious all at once and have been dear friends of mine from Bikram yoga for three years now. We were the right group for Bobbi to share her first class as an instructor with. Now let's cut to the chase - what did I get out of the class?
The first thing Bobbi did was hold her hands in a circle and go around and have each of us deposit our ego in her basket. I just thought, okay...we need to be uninhibited to do this. I could do that.
Then we began learning the chant. I felt silly.
Then we did the first laughing exercise. I was hot.
Then we did the second exercise. My ears were hurting due to the loud laughter. (We were in a small dining room in a house - not acoustic friendly)
Then we did the third exercise. The glands behind my ears were hurting really bad.
Then we did the fourth exercise.
My jaws were killing me from holding them in a laughing position for so long.
By the fifth exercise I was tired, sore, and my head was splitting. At the end we sat in a circle and talked about our experience during the class. Of course, I had nothing to say because I was 'Miss Crabby Pants" throughout the whole thing. But my dear friend, Lisa, of whom I don't get to see near enough of, says, "You know, we don't take time during the day to make eye contact with the people we meet and we miss learning so much about them."
Wham! I bit my lip and just hung my head. Guess who didn't put her ego in the basket? I once again made the whole class about me and how I was feeling, completely disregarding making any connections with the people I was with. It was hard to keep laughing for so long. I hurt. It was hot. My head was spitting. But
there were lessons to be learned.
Does this sound familiar? It sounds like so many Bikram yoga posts I've written about putting the physical irritants aside and push through to find the wisdom to be gained by the experience. Just like after even the roughest Bikram classes, when we were done last night I felt really good, relaxed, and so glad I came, despite a long work day.
Even though my ego didn't make the basket, I was proud of myself for pushing through the tiredness, not making an excuse, and actually going. If I didn't, I would've missed not only a great time afterward visiting with my friends, but another chance to learn more about myself. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I'll have a different frame of mind going into it, just like ...Bikram. This is a huge gain for me because three years ago I definitely would've given the tired excuse and not gone at all.
And so, as another day goes by, finally I'm able to put my fear and insecurity regarding trying new things aside and just go for it and see where I land, I always discover I'm capable of more than I think I am, and...I have written.
What about you? Are you willing to try? If so, there is going to be another Laughter Yoga class in West Barnstable soon. When I get the info I will pass it along to you. In the meantime - try something new that crosses YOUR path. Push the envelope. Experience the exhilaration of stepping out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised at your reaction.
* This post first appeared in the blog Another Day Goes By where the purpose is to not let another day go by without writing.
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