Thursday, January 2, 2014

Laughter Yoga

Did you know there is something called Laughter Yoga? I didn’t until today, but just the thought of it made me laugh!  I guess I just was trying to visualize…somehow yoga and laughing doesn’t seem to go together…I think of meditation and yoga…deep breathing and yoga…or maybe the game Twister...that is a form of yoga many of us are familiar twist and contort in all kinds of strange and unusual positions...trying not to get too don't want to end up with your face too close to someone else's booty...then you fall on each other and laugh your heads off!  Ummm...I don't think that is what they had in mind at Laughter Yoga International!

I have discovered that laughter really can help to heal a wounded soul.  I am not sure why Laughter Yoga would be necessary or is actually more beneficial than just laughing on your own. The reason it might be beneficial is because you create laughter with others and you are allowing yourself time to be silly.  Sadly enough, we don’t take time to do things if we don’t make time for it…that could even include laughter. My vote is to forgo the the Laughter Yoga and play Twister instead! 

Brad Wilcox said, “Humor helps. Humor heals. In fact, many medical studies have linked laughter with better physical and mental health.  Such studies confirm the scripture that states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22). Humor allows us to view our lives in a more positive light, deal with personal conflicts and intolerance, and cope with trials and frustrations that might otherwise seem overwhelming. As we are told in Ecclesiastes, there is “a time to laugh” (Eccl. 3:4 ).” 

We all encounter things that seem ugly, inconvenient, even unbearable. We change what we can, but sometimes we simply have to accept and cope with unpleasant circumstances. Humor can be a helpful coping tool.

After Art E. Berg was thrown from an automobile during a rollover just five weeks before his wedding date, his neck was broken, and at the age of 21 he was left a quadriplegic. Although his body no longer serves him as it once did and he is confined to a wheelchair, Brother Berg is far from being helpless and depressed. He has learned to depend upon the Spirit of the Lord and draw upon his own incredible will to overcome. He now lives a life full of service, activity, and accomplishment. What got him through? Among other things, Brother Berg says peace came from learning to laugh again, particularly with his family. He writes, “I am not sure I would have survived the emotional trauma of my injuries and the complications of my new life if it hadn’t been for the wit, chuckles, laughs, and good-natured humor of my wife and family.”
Abraham Lincoln struggled with bouts of depression and used humor as therapy. His ability to laugh at himself was revealed during a political debate in which his opponent called him “two-faced.” Lincoln replied, “I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?”–If We Can Laugh at It, We Can Live with It, Ensign, Mar 2000.    
Gary K. Palmer said, “I have learned that the ability to laugh at everyday family difficulties helps keep life in perspective. If we will learn to laugh and play more with our families, not only will we feel better but so will they. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” says Proverbs 17:22.  Studies show that humor and laughter help people live longer, happier lives; be more creative and productive; and have more energy with less physical discomfort.   Humor reduces stress, fear, intimidation, embarrassment, and anger.  Laughter also has extraordinary healing power.  When a person laughs, blood pressure decreases, heart rate and respiration increase, the body releases endorphins, and depression declines.  After the laughter subsides and you relax again, that good feeling has a lasting effect, even until the next day.   Not many medicines will do that.

On average, children laugh 400 times a day, while adults laugh about 15 times. Why the gap? Did we lose something? Have we forgotten the way we used to be? Why is it that children seem to cope with life’s oddities better than adults? Perhaps it’s because they do not fully understand. But I think it’s simpler than that—they laugh. As we grow older, we get far too serious. Watch children play. They don’t need expensive toys to entertain them. Everything is fun. They are spontaneous. Only when we become adults do we start to get boring. Do we need to cultivate a different attitude? Humor is in the way we see things, the way we think. It’s an attitude, not an event. Perhaps the key lies in becoming more childlike.

I think laughter is more important than a family vacation because it’s always available and it’s free. Vacations are not. Big family events and vacations are wonderful, but these will not replace the daily humor and laughter in a home. Laughter is like getting away without going away. It gives you a break.

Laughter improves communication and builds relationships because everyone laughs in the same language. Your children will remember your humor much longer than they will the things you buy them. Children are more receptive when they are having fun. Laughter helps us remember. And we remember what we feel”-The Power of Laughter, Ensign, Sept. 2007.

Paul knew how to laugh…I can hear his laugh now.  He was always trying to make others smile.  Laughter was something that helped us through some really tough times.  

Have you ever noticed laughter is like yawning--it is contagious!  Sometimes you start to laugh because you hear someone else laugh.  You may not even be sure why you are laughing.  

This blog post was prompted by a quote a friend sent to me, “Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of your heart. Seven days without laughter makes one weak.” Mort Walker 

Cobwebs are threads of spider webs covered with accumulated dirt and dust.  In essence, a cobweb is a snare--something that traps or entangles.  If the prey that has become entangled in the cobweb doesn’t get free, it will eventually die, because either the spider will come and get it (don’t need gory details here) or it will die because of starvation.  

If we allow cobwebs to entangle our heart, it will eventually destroy us.  The cobwebs can be sorrow, anger, hate, self-pity, holding grudges, selfishness, etc.  

In addition to laughter as one of the bristles, I also see that prayer, scripture study, service, and gratitude are bristles on the brush that helps to sweep away the cobwebs from our hearts.  These are the key things that have helped and are continuing to help me survive.  They are keeping the cobwebs away! 

Brushes only work well if all the bristles are in place.  If you have bristles that are missing in sections on the brush, it is not as effective while using it.  While you may remove some of the cobweb, some may be left behind.  The part that is left behind can keep you entangled to a degree.  I can feel when some of the bristles on my brush are missing…then I know it is time to replace the bristles…make sure they are all there! 

I say it’s time for a good laugh!   

A song to make you smile! 

1 comment:

  1. Love this! My son laughs at just about everything and it's hilarious how just looking at a blank screen can set him off into a fit of giggles. Thanks for this post. It was something I really needed today :)