One of my gifts is creating a safe space for fun uninhibited movement, dancing, laughter, and expression. Wepa!
What is Laughter Yoga Dance Party you ask? It is the spiced up version of Laughter Yoga. Laughter yoga was made popular as an exercise routine developed by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria, who writes about the practice in his book “Laugh For No Reason” As of 2011, there are more than 8,000 Laughter Clubs in 65 countries.
In my classes it is common to dance to merengue, reggae, reggaeton, middle eastern music, and more.
It is also common to laugh your bunz off…
Even if you don’t feel like you are in the mood for laughter…
WE FAKE IT TIL WE MAKE IT…
Once we start our two minute laughter meditation our “fake” laughter turns into unconditional laughter. Some people start laughing so hard, they find it hard to stop.
Did you know that on average children laugh about 200 times a day, while adults laugh about 12 times a day?
Since I have been teaching LYDP, I have learned one thing,
there is so much sadness, depression, and loneliness out there.
In some of my classes-
*I have met people who have never danced. I had a new student join my class the other day. I noticed everyone got up for dancing, except her. When I reached for her hand, she shared with me that she didn’t know how to dance because she’s never tried. I looked at her and said… “Well, let’s try… there’s nothing to it… all you have to do is have fun…” I almost cried when she got up and started to move. This woman was about 70 years old.
In my classes, I have also met…
*People who can’t remember the last time they laughed
*Elders who are always alone.
*Single women who are both mom and dad to their kids and have no family support
*Parents who have suffered the loss of one or more of their children
*Men with depression
*College students filled with stress and anxiety
*Career men & women filled with stress and anxiety
*Children filled with stress and anxiety
*many who are carrying deep grief
*people healing from emotional, verbal & physical abuse
The reality is that many of us are carrying such heavy loads. Laughter Yoga provides a vehicle where some of these deep emotions have an outlet for releasing.
In this chaotic, fast moving, stressed out world, many people have forgotten how good it feels to share a hearty laugh with someone, how amazing it feels to dance uninhibitedly, and how freeing it is to be in a space where you can share a “primal” scream as loud as you can and not have to worry about what others think, and the liberation of allowing yourself to play and be “childlike”.
It is a healthy fun way to release pent up energy and stress in a safe setting…
What are the benefits? There are many… I often hear that people feel less stress and tension… Headaches and body aches gone or reduced… Most people feel relaxed, lighter, and happier.
I’ve taught Laughter Yoga Dance Party at a Senior Center for almost three years. The Elders I share class with teach me so much. They allow themselves to laugh. They try new things. They try movement and dancing even when their bodies aren’t feeling strong enough to stand. They still try. They make every effort to live in the moment.
When they hear a song they really like, I can see how their faces transform with excitement and joy. It is so beautiful to witness. The other day, we had an Elder participate in my class who could barely stand and was carrying a portable device that helps him breathe. He was laughing, clapping and he participated as best he could. He even joined us for the moving meditation from his seat. The smile on his face is a priceless moment. It was so beautiful to witness and I am so grateful for the experience.
I have also had the pleasure of sharing my Laughter Yoga Dance Party Class with NY Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez who joined the Seniors and I for some dancing during my Holiday “Parranda” version of this class. We use some of the native instruments, such as maracas, guiros, palitos, and dance to our parranda favorites.
I have even shared this class with our newest council member Antonio Reynoso…
But I think one of m favorite Laughter Yoga Dance Party moments happened during a Health Fair…
About 40 people gathered in a big circle… And it didn’t matter… that there was so much variety in ages and backgrounds, from Grandma to lil toddlers, from Spanish Speaking Only to English Speaking Only, and multiple cultures… we laughed together, danced together, and breathed together… OH and we danced the Gangnam Style together… HILARIOUS!
Oh yes, I forgot to mention… I teach this class in English, Spanish, and I also teach Bi-Lingual Spanish/English LYDP classes. My favorite thing about the Spanish/English classes is the bridging of languages, cultures, backgrounds, and ages.
Wepa 5 billion times!
Dancing in our heads…
We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.
— Albert Einstein