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Debra Simpson Feb 1, 2009

Laughter Yoga with Debra Simpson

When it rains, it pours. Before, I'd get lucky if a passing yogi/yogini would conduct a yoga session during his/her brief stay. After that, I was on my practise until someone comes along again. The dry spell would often be a stretch. Just about 2 weeks back, Erica Boucher extended to Sagada her own brand of yoga. Now, another certified yoga teacher, Debra Simpson, conducted the first ever, Laughter Yoga in the Philippines. She is trained in the discipline of Laughter Yoga from India and has come to Sagada to offer volunteer work for the St. Theodore Hospital's Wellness Center.

It's already a proven fact that laughter provides therapeutic benefits to the body - it boosts the immune system and relieves stress. There are even documented cases of patients curing themselves from cancer just by laughing it out.

Humor Not Required
Interestingly enough, the body cannot distinguish a fake laugh from a real laugh. So, even without humor, faking a laugh provides the same therapeutic benefits as a real laugh. Moreover, faking a laugh eventually generates the same 'feel good' sense of joy like genuine laughter. You come out of it a little less burdened by the day's toll on you. And as a group exercise, laughter has this uncanny attribute of being contagious. It wasn't long before all of us were laughing like crazy.

Laughter Yoga
This is perhaps the most different type of yoga I've participated in. There are no asanas, no meditation...just role-playing where you laugh your heart out while interacting with all other participants.

Laughter Yoga is the brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria, an Indian physician from Mumbai who started the first laughter club in a park on 13th March 1995, with just 5 people. Today, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 social laughter clubs in 60 countries.

Laughter Yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama). Anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group but with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.

Ending Thoughts
It used to be widely regarded that humor is necessary for laughter to take place. Now, that has been proven to be false. You can begin to laugh at will, and just by laughing, you heal yourself. How's that for a cure? Laughter is free, fun, readily availalbe, and has no side-effect unlike medication.

There are too many people out there consumed by stress and go through weeks without a hint of laughter completely oblivious that the antidote is just a laugh away...literally! The advent of Laughter Yoga has come.

Thank you Debra. The light in me honors the light in you.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

(Feb 11, 2009) Debra here at Bliss Café...lovely person.

(Feb 2, 2009) Thank you...I'll share it in class tomorrow...Namaste!

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