When – Sunday 1st April 3pm – 5pm
Where -Soul Happy, Keebles Alley, Cowgate, Peterborough
Cost – £7.00 per adult. Children are welcome. 1st child free subsequent children £2 per child. Under 16’s MUST be accompanied by an adult.
What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is a newish form of exercise akin to internal jogging that promotes the use of laughter as a form of physical exercise. It was created in India in the mid- 1990’s by a Doctor and his Yoga teacher wife. There are currently over a 1000 Laughter Clubs in 110 countries and it is growing. Laughter Yoga owes it success to having been greatly simplified and made accessible to everybody. It quickly grew as a grassroots social movement of independent community laughter clubs, promoting the ideal of a non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening, and non-competitive voluntary ( simulated) approach to laughter.
It’s core premise is that your body can and knows how to laugh, regardless of what your mind has to say. Because it follows a body-mind approach to laughter, participants do now need to have a sense of humour, know jokes or even be happy. The invitation is to “laugh for no reason” ( faking it until you make it). Laughter is never forced. Laughing is an easy way to strengthen all immune functions, bring more oxygen to the body and brain, foster positive feelings and improve interpersonal skills.
While Laughter Yoga teaches few pranayama (Yogic breathing) exercises, it does promote the use of breathing activities in-between laughter exercises as a way to relax the body and mind. Yoga teaches that the mind and body mirror one another, and that breathing is the link between the two. This is extremely important because when you deepen your breath, you calm your body (the heart rate quickly slows down following the exercise since there is less work to do; the blood is already charged with fresh oxygen). When you calm your body, you calm your mind (you cannot be physically relaxed and mentally stressed at the same time). When your body and mind are relaxed you start becoming more aware of the present. The ability to fully live and experience the “now” is of utmost importance because it is the only moment where we can experience happiness. Being in the now frees us from the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future and enables us to enjoy simply being.
How it all started
In March 1995 Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician from Mumbai, India, decided to write an article called “Laughter – the best medicine”. The outcome of his research for this article surprised him greatly. Decades of scientific research had already proven that laughter has a documented positive impact as form of complementary preventative and therapeutic medicine. In particular he was impressed by the findings of Norman Cousins, an American journalist was diagnosed in 1964 with a degenerative disease and given at best 6 months to live, yet managed to heal himself completely using laughter as his main form of therapy.
Being a man of action, Dr. Kataria decided to try this out for himself and went to his local park on March 13th, 1995, with the intention of starting a “laughter club” where people would share jokes. Somehow he managed to motivate four people to laugh with him. This small group quickly grew to over 50 participants within a few days. The format was the turn-by-turn telling of jokes or anecdotes.
Within days however the stock of good jokes was depleted and participants complained. They did not want to listen and even less take part in the telling of stale or vulgar jokes. Rather than abort the experiment Dr. Kataria had the idea of dropping jokes altogether. What he had observed was that when the joke or anecdote being told was not funny, one person laughing was usually enough to get the whole group to laugh: laughter is contagious. He experimented with this idea of laughing for no reason and it worked well. Playful behaviors naturally ensued, and participants started to create their own laughter exercises: You pantomime a simple movement of daily life (e.g., you shake hands to greet someone) and simply laugh along. His wife Madhuri Kataria, a Hatha Yoga practitioner, suggested breathing exercises be included to build upon the yoga connection of laughter. A journalist heard of this unusual gathering of adults behaving like children (Laughter Yoga has a very strong focus on the expression of childlike playfulness) in a public space and wrote an article about it in the local newspaper.
The behavior was odd, but the health benefits were real. Inspired people started to come to Dr. Kataria for advice on how to start their own “Laughter Clubs”. Everything else grew from there.
**TO FIND US**
We are at:
Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre.
Peterborough City Centre
(halfway down Cowgate, behind the old Post Office down the Keebles pedestrian alleyway).
Parking is free down Cowgate and Priestgate after 6:30pm, but spaces are limited. The nearest car park is NCP behind TK Max/B&M.