I returned to Gould Farm today for a laughter yoga session with residents and staff. The session was marked by hilarity, real and intentional. All but one of today’s group had laughed with me before last month. The group remembered some of the exercises and seemed to like the familiarity with what was coming.
The new person noticed that during some of the laughter, he felt close to tears. That can be a byproduct of laughter yoga: by “un-numbing” ourselves and getting close to our feelings, we open ourselves up to other feelings inside of us. Deep breathing (pranyana) helps us calm ourselves. When we realize we can live with all of these feelings, there is an ownership, joy and new feelings of presence that arise.
There is a standard exercise in our Wednesday night group: “milking the cow.” We started to do it. The Gould Farm has actual cows, and members of the group were experienced milkers! I learned that nowadays, people put a contraption onto the cow that milks it for you! I don’t know if we can continue to do our Wednesday night milking the cow as we’ve been doing it.
The last time we were together, the group was more than twice as large as today. Some participants felt freer to laugh today in the more intimate group, while others thought the larger group was more conducive to laughing. We set another tentative date for Sunday May 28th, during the Memorial Day weekend.
There was a vase with beautiful forsythias and pink blossoms of some kind. I admired their beauty. As a gift, one of the residents brought me a vase from her room, so i could collect some forsythia and bring them home with me. I felt honored and touched by her generosity.
There has been a lot of focus on mindfulness, meditation and neuroplasticity. We are going to be at Lululemon on June 4th for a workshop on just how these things interact and how laughter holds a key to all these junctures. We will look at how to use laughter yoga to unlock old patterns of doing and being and move forward in our lives!
Lululemon Flatiron Hub Seventeen
June 4th, 2017 5:30pm-6:30pm
5th Avenue and 17th Street, NYC Lower Level
No tickets neccessary.
You know, yoga takes many, many forms. Poses on yoga mats, Laughter Yoga, hot yoga, Yoga for Yankees, power yoga…..
Wait! Yoga for Yankees? Ayup.
Once you are done giggling, and are the curious type wanting to know more about some of the more obscure types of yoga, click here. While I respect all of them, there are a couple whose philosophies or approaches mirror what I strive for in my Laughter Yoga sessions.
Gilda’s Club was founded in memory of the talented Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner, It provides a place where men, women and children living with cancer – and their family and friends – can join together to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Gilda’s Club offers support and networking groups, workshops, lectures, and social events in a beautiful, homelike setting all free of charge.
Last night I had the honor of leading a laughter yoga session for stress relief at Gilda’s. As someone who for years avoided feelings, I was slightly apprehensive at the potential riptide of emotion, As it turned out, the opportunity to share with this group was incredible. Laughter yoga allows people to connect intimately. The eye contact and playfulness opens us up to ourselves and each other and allows a remarkable vulnerability. Being together with each other after laughing and in all our humanity was a gift from each of us to each of us.
There are Wednesday night laughter club sessions every week. There were started by Vishwa Prakash many years ago and continued by Jonathan Applefield when Vishwa got sick. Now as Jonathan prepares to move to Massachusetts, I am happy to ensure that the weekly club continues with gusto! Laughter Yoga leaders are invited to step in and take on sessions when they feel like it.
The club meets every Wednesday from 6 -7 pm at the Better Health Chiropractic Clinic at 825 Seventh Avenue (53rd Street), Lower level.
On Sunday, March 26, I am conducting a laughter yoga session at Gould Farm in Monterey, Massachusetts.
Gould Farm is the first residential therapeutic community in the nation dedicated to helping adults with mental health and related challenges move toward recovery, health and greater independence through community living, meaningful work, and clinical care.
In a supportive community environment made up of residents, staff and their families, they help adults with depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and other challenges begin to rebuild and regain their lives. Gould Farm offers a full continuum of care, with programs in both Boston and the Berkshires for those ready for new challenges and structured transition.
Laughter yoga emphasizes play. One hallmark of play is an absence of a self-critical mind. The play in laughter yoga provides social engagement, eye contact and a soothing sense of touch. It provides a glimpse at feeling open, vulnerable and safe simultaneously. This is a revolutionary feeling to own!
Laughter yoga helps soften the amygdala’s hold on an individual and anxiety is reduced. Maybe Gould Farm would like to do some ongoing work to see if there are discernible identifiable outcomes.
I am happy to add more dates at the bright and airy space at The Art Annex, 2666 Route 23 in Hillsdale, NY.
The sessions are free, but I do ask for pre-registration. Give a call to 518-325-4000 or write to me at Lisa@laughteryoganyc.org to hold your spot.
More info at IMBY: Laughter Yoga is taking off in hillsdale