Laughter Yoga and Mindfulness

02 April 2012 at 18:37

It was great to see Goldie Hawn on TV recently.  She is so full of energy and just exudes a joyful spirit with such a ready laugh she must be a joy to be around.  I’d heard her on Woman’s Hour on radio 4 earlier in the day, talking about her new book, written with Wendy Holden ’10 Mindful Minutes’. Being a fan of mindfulness meditation myself and knowing how it can improve wellbeing I was keen to get hold of her book.  I’m pleased I did.  Her book explores the use of mindfulness techniques with children at home and within schools.  It’s a fabulous read, drawing on the rich vein of work around mindfulness, Goldie highlights the benefits of a more mindful approach to life and how this can be (relatively) easily taught to children.

The emotional and mental health benefits are becoming more and more recognised. A more mindful approach to life can help build resilience and promote more positive approaches to wellbeing and life in general. We’ve being incorporating mindful meditations into our Laughter Yoga sessions within schools for some time now, so it was lovely to hear from Goldie that other people also support the messages that we’re giving out to schools, teachers, parents and most importantly children.   

One of my main influences in supporting my own health and wellbeing has been Thich Nhat Hahn, his books on Meditation, Mindfulness and ‘Right Living’ have been an inspiration to me and whenever I read his work it always encourages me to strive to be a better person. One of my favourite meditations is perhaps one of the simplest, and one I often use at the end of a Laughter Yoga session;

 

1.       Breathing in, I calm my body.                                                 Calm

Breathing out, I smile.                                                               Smile

2.       Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.                      Present moment

Breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment.                Wonderful moment

Bringing yourself into the present moment and recognising its beauty and its wonder despite the pain sorrow and sadness we can sometimes feel.

David R. Hamilton reminds us of the need to ‘count our blessings’ which might seem to have a religious connotation, it also links to the approach that Albert Ellis would use when developing Rational Emotive Therapy, whatever the situation is you’re in now, it could be worse! This idea always reminds me of a comment an elderly American gentleman said to me in a lift once. I was on holiday and as we entered the lift I said, passing the time of day, “Have you had a good day?” and he replied with a ready smile, “Every day above ground is a good day”. With that both of us had a chuckle and then went our separate ways.  But that simple message has remained with me.  It’s true; life is precious, special and a joy. If we can, regardless of our faith, belief system or background recognise the sentiment of the four noble truths, one of the core teachings in Buddhism; that there is suffering, suffering has an origin, suffering can cease, there is a path out of suffering, we can affect change in our lives.

Living and being in the present moment can really benefit our overall health and wellbeing. It is also true that there can be many paths to the same destination.  Laugher Yoga also allows us to dwell in the present moment.  Our focus is at first consciously focused on our breath but then the infectious nature of laughter starts to exclude the cognitive process of thinking about what we are doing. We just do.  We lose ourselves in the moment. We are dwelling in the present moment and enjoying that moment. Noticing how we feel, the physical sensations, the emotions and the thoughts that can drift in and out of our minds as we connect through Laughter Yoga.  As Eric Harrison says, “meditation relaxes the body and calms the mind rapidly; it is the best way to reduce stress; it improves your health and helps with many common illnesses; it makes your thinking clearer and more imaginative; it puts you in touch with deeper emotions; it dispels sadness and confusion…it can bring peace, beauty and wisdom into your life” Laughter Yoga does the same. So it would seem that laughter, meditation and mindfulness, are not so different paths to the same destination.

Very good, very good YEY!!

 Thanks for reading,

Simon and Sandra

Author: Simon and Sandra on 02 April 2012 at 18:37 Comments (0)  

Page Through All Articles <> Return to Blog Homepage