The serious business of laughter

20140526-115257-42777160.jpgI have been thinking about “the serious business of laughter”, because using laughter as a yogic practice seems so absurd. Why would anyone engage in something like this…laughing for no apparent reason. How bizarre! Especially in a world where terrifying events happen in increasing frequency.

My reasoning for pursuing laughter as a yogic practice is this: in laughing with a group, for no other reason than to laugh, frees us from taking ourselves too seriously. If we are not bound up in our private concerns or fears, we can think better, and maybe, just maybe, we will be more free to come up with ideas that are positive, and will help overcome the challenges of our time. Being silly in public, laughing with strangers, for example, in an organized yoga session, is an art, a gift, to others and to ourselves. It frees our inner child, is a temporary relief from the usual cares and concerns which most of us struggle to address in our daily lives. Wisdom lies within, and has been recognized by sages, philosophers, even playwrights. Shakespeare recognized the power of the fool, whose position as jester permitted deep insight. Now, I am not advocating becoming a fool, or a court jester, but an interlude of silly interjected into someone’s day could certainly help build resilience in the face of personal tragedy, personal responsibility, illness, and various other kinds of travails. So, the business of laughter, especially Laughter Yoga, is a serious business.

I promise I will post more of my thoughts on this as time passes. My regular yoga practice is quiet, contemplative, physical. I am preparing to teach yoga in a senior center, to start in July, so I am orienting my personal practice to a gentle stretch session. I think, though, that as I learn more about using laughter exercises, that may very well inform my preparations for teaching this, and future, classes.

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