The work I do helps people reduce stress. It helps me reduce stress!!
That’s what BodyIntelligence is about – you learn how to interrupt your stress responses in any given moment so you feel more at ease in yourself. This has all sorts of benefits. It means you can move more freely and with better posture, experience less pain, feel more confident, and much more.
It involves mind AND body.
Mostly my work is about the Alexander Technique.
It is often deeply, transformative work. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Alexander Technique is now over 120 years old. One of the first-generation master teachers of the work – Marjorie Barstow (1899-1995) – is known to have said,
“Learn to laugh at yourselves: you always move better with a smile.”
I am not lucky enough to have worked with her myself, but I certainly have observed this to be true in both myself and my clients.
And, it turns out, smiling and laughter are proven stress busters.*
In May 2017 I did a weekend training to become a “Laughter Yoga Leader.” It’s probably not a coincidence that this was during a very challenging, you could say stressful, time for me managing the care of my ailing parents in England long-distance.
Laughter Yoga was probably the most fun training I have ever done.
I was first introduced to Laughter Yoga a few years earlier by my friend Miriam Grace – a psychotherapist in the UK, with whom I’ve run workshops in the past combining our expertise. I was struck by how such a simple idea could be so effective — and how compatible with Alexander Technique it seemed to be.
When I discovered a Laughter Yoga training close to where I live, I jumped at the chance.
Laughter Yoga isn’t yoga poses. It’s “laughter exercises” – where you laugh for no reason. It’s not based on jokes or comedy, or even being happy. During a Laugher Yoga session, you initiate laughter as an exercise in a group but with eye contact and childlike playfulness. You may start out faking it, but it soon turns into real and contagious laughter!
It’s fun, and surprisingly, can be quite a workout, too!!
The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on the scientific fact that your body does not differentiate between fake and real laughter if done with willingness. You get the same benefits to your health and well-being, including your mood, either way!
Since I did the training, however, I haven’t done anything with it.
Recently though, through a series of coincidental – or perhaps you might say synergistic – happenings, I, along with three other trained Laughter Yoga leaders are starting a Laughter Yoga club or group here in Wilmington, Delaware. It is thanks to my friend and client Shay, who lives in the community that will be hosting the meetings, that this is possible.
If you’re in the Wilmington area and would like to come along, it is free to all. It is part of the concept that it is a community offering.
We will be meeting from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays at the Buzz Ware Village Center in Arden (north Wilmington).
You can find other Laughter Clubs all around the world here: laughteryoga.org/finder/find-club
Laughter Yoga is fun. It lifts your spirits. It’s a whole mind-body experience.
I think body intelligence includes laughter, too!
October will be the month for laughter – the month to start intentionally including more laughter in my life.
Won’t you join me?
I’d love to hear from you on your own experiences with laughter. Have you ever done Laughter Yoga, or something similar, where you laugh for no reason in a sustained way? Have you noticed the effect of laughter on you in terms of your mood or well-being? As always, I’d love your feedback. Please leave your comment below.
*You can find a few links to studies done on laughter and Laugher Yoga at: laughteryogawithalexa.com/science/
UPDATE: September 2020
Since March 2020 our Wilmington Laughter Yoga group has conducted sessions online. For information and to join us, go to Meetup.com/Wilmington-DE-Area-Laughter-Yoga-Meetup-Group