Friday, March 30, 2012
Yoga Conference 2012 - II
Kids laugh hundreds of times a day. As much as four hundred times a day, according to some research. Adults, typically, about 11-15 times (and that is usually laughing at someone or something, or one of the polite social titters).
I didn't keep count, but I did spend a full two hours coaxing laughs through play and mugging. At times it reminded me of my high school theatre arts classes, other times it reminded me of pure play as a kid in my backyard.
You don't have to wait for laughter to find you. You can find the laughter.
A drummer helped set the pace. The teacher, Salimah Kassim-Lakha, didn't explain 'why' it was important, but I felt the sound take me out of my isolated space into the shared commons. The rhythm helped put me in the present. Having someone there 'live' vs. a tape created room for some interplay and improvisation.
Laughter is a present moment experience... Just laughing for the sake of laughing. Fake it till you make it. Why not? The body actually has a hard time differentiating between real and fake laughter, scientifically speaking (respiration and heartbeat accelerate, immune responses increase). Physical benefits are well-documented.
The time spent was deeply cathartic. I slipped over into tears at a few points (the last time I cried must have been years ago). At another point, I was all laughed out and just sat back and enjoyed the laughter of others. When their peals ebbed, mine rose again. It was as if we were filling the space around and above us.
I realize this is a little 'out there' for some people, but it was truly a wonderful feeling and a great endorphin high. The next day, when I walked onto the show floor, Salimah was giving a demo in the garden space. Guess what? The laughter was contagious. I walked by her later in the afternoon and said hello - we both just burst out laughing.