There’s nothing like the healing effect of laughter – nothing like hysterical guffaws to levitate one above a piece of sad, dreary news and transform the tragic or depressing into just another facet of the human comedy. And it turns out that what makes you feel better actually is better for your body, reducing blood pressure and boosting the immune system, according to medical research.
But what if there’s no one around to make you laugh? Or everyone has run out of good jokes? Not to worry: By attending one of the December 9 laughter yoga sessions at the Beahive, located at 314 Wall Street in Kingston, you get to laugh even if no one’s being funny – all in the name of improving your health. The half-hour-to-40-minute sessions will be held at 7:30 and 9 p.m.
According to instructor Jim Gordon (who will be accompanied by Liz Morfea at the earlier session), the exercises of laughter yoga were invented in 1995 by a cardiologist in India, who wanted to find a way to keep people chuckling after the jokes had gotten stale. The sessions start with clapping and forced laughter, which quickly results in real laughter, since everyone is moving around, looking at everyone else and no doubt feeling ridiculous and increasingly giddy. Participants then do prana breathing: the yoga part of the exercises, which forces stale air out of the lungs and stimulates the body. They’ll do a greeting by shaking hands and laughing, which might be followed by singing – say, “Jingle Bells” as interpreted by the prana breathing sounds. “The idea is to recapture the innocent laughter of children,” said Gordon. “Children just laugh at the world, and adults forget to do that.”
Gordon said that to his knowledge, the sessions are Ulster County’s first introduction to laughter yoga (he got hooked and developed his expertise by attending sessions in New York City). There will also be a “happy shake” exercise – a laughter yoga version of making a smoothie in the morning – and the sessions will conclude with relaxed breathing lying on the floor (always my favorite part of a yoga session). The session is “guaranteed to make anyone better,” so don’t let the blues keep you from attending.
Plus, the suggested donation of $10 will benefit Family of Woodstock: another reason to feel good. Nonperishable food items will also be collected for Family. Doors open at 7 p.m., and no one, donation or not, will be turned away, Gordon said. For more information, visit https://beahivebzzz.com/events/event/laughter-yoga-benefit.