I had to go to class to learn how to laugh

16 Jan

I was just practicing the laughter yoga I learned yesterday when I realized that I had to go to class to learn to laugh! How ridiculous is that? Given that I also went to a class to learn to breathe, maybe its not the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.

Although the exercises were a nice catalyst, there was absolutely nothing we did in the class that I couldn’t have done at home without the class. OK, so maybe the social aspect is a big part of if, but truth be told, I am far more likely to cut loose and act like a baffoon in the privacy of my home than in the company of ten strangers.

Why is it that we feel like we have to go to an officially sanctioned class or read a book written by an expert in order to do things we could well be doing on our own, without the expense of classes or books?

I’ve thought about this a lot, and if there was a book on it, I would probably have read it already. I think its because we want to do it right and we feel like it takes an expert to teach us how to do it right. God forbid we should get laughing or breathing wrong. Trust me I know how ridiculous this sounds, but I also understand a little bit about how the mind works, especially when it comes to learning, which often involves looking stupid.

Then there’s the social aspect. Even though I don’t want to look stupid as a I learn something new, there is power in learning with others. I learn from watching them, from seeing someone else make a mistake and not freak out about it, from seeing other people learn and grow and realize it’s possible. Given the nature of the class, the unconditional support I feel from others in the class is a big help as well. The unsaid feeling of “You can do it!” helps me believe in myself.

For an introvert like me, just putting myself in the social situation is a big deal. My MO is to read about it in a book or maybe watch a video in the privacy of my kitchen. Yet I know that its good for me to get out there sometime, if only to let myself know that I’m capable.

Laughter Yoga is not really a how-to class, so much as an opportunity to hang out with other people and do a bunch of silly exercises that involve laughing. At first it’s kind of awkward and forced, but after awhile it gets easier. Plus, even fake laughter is beneficial. Apparently your body doesn’t know the difference and you get all these wonderful benefits either way. Plus, some of the people are actually pretty darn funny. Actually I’m pretty darn funny and its nice when other people laugh at my schtick, even if they’re asked to by the instructor.

Check out Laughter Yoga here. http://laughteryoga.org/

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