The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Havin’ A Laugh

on February 24, 2013

Friday I went to my yoga class at lunch and we had a guest instructor as our regular instructor, Liat, was away. Nothing against Liat, she is a very knowledgeable instructor, but Nash was the best yoga instructor I have ever encountered in my twenty plus years of being a beginner.

Sporting a Bieber-esque shag I wasn’t sure what to expect from Nash when I walked in to the class, but he had the mats out, placed an inspirational card at the end of each mat for us to read and had a seemingly endless supply of neckties to use as yoga straps.  He told us that he had a theme for each month and this month the theme was love, naturally. He talked about loving ourselves, forgiving others and that in order to beat karma we must truly forgive which includes forgetting. He also talked about the benefits of laughter.

He didn’t go into a lot of detail about laughter, but he did say something that I didn’t know.  Apparently one benefits from the positive effects laughter has on the body, regardless of whether it’s genuine laughter or not.  It seems that the act of laughing is what makes us feel good, even if we’re faking it.  When I got home I did a little research and found that Laughter Yoga doesn’t just make you happy, but it is thought to have a lot of significant health benefits.  According to laughteryoga.org,  one’s breathing and breathing patterns are connected to one’s state of mind. When one is stressed breathing becomes faster, more shallow and irregular, and one may even hold their breath.  All of this leads to an accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood.  Mental stress results from arousal of the sympathetic nervous system which is sensitive to carbon dioxide levels.  Laughter and more specifically Laughter Yoga focus on breathing from the diaphragm or diaphragmatic breathing which encourages breath patterns that increase the amount of oxygen rich air in our lungs and in turn in our blood. Laughter yoga helps to alleviate stress and it is believed to aid in healing and to help regulate blood sugar levels which can prevent the progression of diabetes.  It may also lower blood pressure, relax muscles, improve blood circulation and boost the immune system.

Nash didn’t talk about any of these things, but he did have us giggling and smiling for the better part of an hour. His teaching style had just the right amount of silliness to keep us chuckling without us thinking that he was a buffoon or an idiot.  He was knowledgeable and hands on and unlike some instructors who can sometimes put one on edge because they are so serious and ardent in their beliefs, and at least seem to be humourless it was like he was in on the joke. We were able to relax and laugh and not worry that we might inadvertently make fun of him and his beliefs.  I’m sure he is hippy dippy and he did talk about colours and karma and inner light, but he also seemed to know that not everyone shares his philosophy and that it wasn’t an issue for him. Laughteryoga.org says that laughter is most effective as part of a Laughter Yoga class, but I definitely think we reaped the benefits in class on Friday and I hope that I get to take another class with him soon.

– the Goddess

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One response to “Havin’ A Laugh

  1. love says:

    “Twenty plus years of being a beginner” Ha! That has really made me laugh! I am SO with you lol! x

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