Last week, I was invited to a laughter yoga session which was given by my friend Lucy. With all my skepticism towards yoga, I decided to attend. I figured that laughing couldn’t be bad for the soul, and in light of my stressful life at work an hour of laughter for no reason couldn’t possibly bring with it any negative outcomes.
I was not expecting to make any ground-breaking discoveries from the session, if anything I figured it would be a good opportunity to socialize and I, a sociable person by nature, am always open to such opportunities. The session was held at the instructor’s house and believe it or not the humor began even before I arrived. You see, I was lost and I arrived 15 minutes late to the session hahaha.
The house was empty as my friend, who is new to Amman, explained that her furniture had not arrived. You can read more about her problems with the container and the late furniture in her blog post.
This didn’t mean that we sat on the floor, as she had filled an empty room with bar stools and plastic chairs for us to sit on. Lucy started off her session by giving us a short introduction about laughter yoga, and it was at that point that I learned something new. According to her, laughter yoga is a practice based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as those provided by spontaneous laughter or laughter at a joke or a funny incident. She said that people usually start by faking their laughs but then even doing so releases the same hormonal effect as that of laughing for a reason. She told us about her training as a laughter instructor as well as her plans to open a laughing club in Jordan. Seeing some of the people’s frowns , especially at a red traffic light during Ramadan, I am sure that a laughter club in Jordan would be a good thing.
After her introduction, she instructed us to stand in a circle and to each create his/her unique laugh to mimicked by the rest of the group. She then guided us through a series of exercises, one of which involved shocking the person in front of us with a shout or a gesture that inspired laughter. She then moved on to make us play the mirror game . In this game, we worked in pairs where one person made facial expressions and the other person had to make the sounds that went with it using gibberish. In another exercise, which she called the Laughing Orchestra, we were asked to make a symphony with our laughs.
At first, I was fake laughing but then something about us standing in a group and laughing and playing like kids really got me to laugh from the heart. I was really unable to stop laughing by the last exercise, as that exercise involved guided laughter where we were instructed to sit in ten seconds of silence followed by ten seconds of laughter . I couldn’t stop laughing even in the ten seconds in which I was required to stay silent. I admit that at some points I was laughing at the group and at myself even, but I believe that there is nothing wrong with laughing at ourselves.
After the session, we all sat for a cup of coffee and snacks, and we got to know each other more. This meant that my initial aim to socialize was also met.
About the spiritual benefits of laughter yoga, I still remain a skeptic but the session was fun. I believe that in our adult lives, it is always nice to take a break from seriousness and to engage in something out-of-the box. It is nice to remember the joys of child- like games and the fun of silly laughter for no reason. Would I go again? My answer would be yes I would for sure. Regardless of reasons why, but after that morning session I was in a good enough mood to go about the rest of my day.
This is the nice thing about Amman, it is a city full of interesting activities. You just need to have the guts to try something new every once in a while.
Learn More About Future Laughter Yoga Sessions on Lucy’s Facebook Page