Laughter Yoga

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All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.
August Wilson

 

Have you heard of Laughter Yoga? Laugh for No Reason by Madan Kataria decribes how laughter when done mindfully and in a group can be therapeutic. There aren’t any large studies to back up the efficacy of Laughter Yoga, but there is no denying the power of joy. Cultivating a sense of calm or peace helps reduce stress, increase oxygen intake and promote an overall sense of well-being.

 

Hey- sounds good. I’ve always been a fan of a big belly laugh.

 

I’m also a fan of a good acronym. Maybe it’s too many years spent in training sessions.

 

Acronyms are everywhere. Human Resources and Training people use them at work. Personal Trainers use them to get us motivated. Support groups use them to help each manage challenging moments. Texting wouldn’t be texting without them. Whether you think they’re hokey, cool, or annoying they seem to work because they stick in our heads.

 

John Cleese (one of the funniest people of all time) spent sometime with Dr. Kataria to check out Laughter Yoga in action.

Here five ways to keep the L.A.U.G.H. in your heart and life.

 

Love makes the world go round. The Beatles may have been on to something. All you need is love. Well it’s not all you need but it does help. Studies show that love makes us healthier. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Loving a pet reduces stress. People in happy marriages live longer. People who have loving friends and family are more grounded. And above all loving yourself is paramount.

 

Appreciate the little things like a warm spring breeze or the first sip of your morning coffee. If you were smart enough to grasp this concept from a young age congratulations, it takes others years to come to this realization.

 

Understand that life is not about control but more about letting go and being in the present moment. When we focus on what is happening right now stress over past missteps and future problems melt away. Buddhists say that worry is useless. If you have a problem and can do something it- then do it. If you can’t do something about it you can’t, worrying will not help. This isn’t a dress rehearsal.

 

Grow indefinitely. “Why stretch when you can reach?” Our lives are a journey. We can choose to learn something everyday or we can choose to think we know everything. An open mind creates an open heart.

 

Hope is defined by wikipedia as the emotional state, the opposite of which is despair, which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.[1] It is the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the act of “look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence” or “feel[ing] that something desired may happen”.[2] Other definitions are “to cherish a desire with anticipation”; “to desire with expectation of obtainment”; or “to expect with confidence”.[3] In the English language the word can be used as either a noun or a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use.[4]  

 

Armed with these tools there’s nothing we can’t do.

What inspires you to keep laughing?

So go guffaw.  Namaste y’all!

 

Keep laughing!

Laugh for no reason

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Adventures in Yoga- Attitude of Gratitude

The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga

These days, I have an attitude of gratitude.

I’m speaking in slogans again.

It’s trite and corny. But truth be told, I’m a  lil trite and a lot corny so, there you go.

How we choose to respond to a situation can be the difference between a fence mended or a bridge burned.

I’m talking about gratitude.

Each morning I make a  mental list for all the things for which I’m grateful. It plants the seeds of a great day.

Life is short. Thanksgiving should be every day.

The term ‘gratitude’ is the latest to make the buzzword list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth discussing. An overused word perhaps, but gratitude has the ability to make change our day, promote healing and make our lives better. In 2007 Robert Emmons wrote a book, Thanks: How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. For over 8 years Emmons researched people who practiced gratitude. The findings were quite telling:

  • Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
  • Maintaining a gratitude journal for three weeks resulted in better sleep quality and duration, more energy and even more time spent exercising.
  • A grateful approach to life can be one of the most effective ways of coping with disease, disability, and even death.

 

  1. Keep a gratitude journal– it keeps you focused on what really matters and inspires positive thinking
  2. Thank people without wanting a ‘You’re welcome’ in return
  3. Smile- research has shown that smiling can actually be good for you. Wired.com had an interview with Marianne LaFrance who wrote Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Work, Sex and Politics. She has studied the impact of smiling on the human body. So turn that frown upside down. It will truly make you feel better.
  4. Reflect– taking a moment to think about what makes us grateful changes our attitude. It can make tough moments easier to get through. Take a moment to remember that you got through hard times before. You can get through them again.
  5.  Repeat– repeating actions cause habit, both bad and good. So repeat good actions and create positive habits that you can keep for life!

So now you. What makes you get grateful?

Make a list. Check it twice.

Reading it out loud can be nice.

Namaste y’all.

Yoga and Stroke Recovery

Yoga as a Part of Stroke Recovery?

For years yoga has been touted to make you feel more well-rested and centered. In the past few years its come in to the spotlight as more people have discovered some of the physical benefits. But a paper published in the American Heart Association Journey has said that if you suffered a stroke less than six months ago, yoga may be good for you too. The study was conducted with 47 participants at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

“For people with chronic stroke, something like yoga in a group environment is cost effective and appears to improve motor function and balance,” said Arlene Schmid, lead researcher and assistant professor at the University said in a statement.”

The yoga was practiced in a group setting and focused on gentle postures, meditation and relaxation. There was also an improvement in balance. Though it was a small study there is hope. Renee Pande, MD wrote in the Harvard Medical Journal Blog, “Furthermore, survivors in the yoga groups had improved scores for independence and quality of life and were less afraid of falling. This is something that has scope to be a boon to stroke survivors.”

My grandmother had a stroke when she was young. I used to linger in the back of my mind when I was in my 30s as I continued to smoke. Now that I yoga, it’s nice that yoga gives me peace of mind, literally.

This is yoga. And it can heal you.

Namaste y’all.

In the Meantime in Between Time

yoga, reflection, relationships

(Originally published on a&o )
When I was younger a haircut usually meant I just broke up with someone or some other major change was happening (before Britney). This would be great for awhile. Short hair is flattering on every face (people are wrong when the say short hair doesn’t work for everyone- they are silly so there. Topic closed).

I had a roller coaster relationship with one boyfriend and would cut my hair short after a fight because he hated short hair. He also hated tattoos. Yes, you are damn right I got not one, but two. That’s a story for another day. Back to the root of the matter.

Get mad, cut the hair short. It’s sexy! It’s liberating! Inevitably I would decide it was time to grow it. This usually happened after seeing Ashley. What you may not know about my sister is that she has a super power. Every time she blinks her hair grows an inch. That  woman has a great head of hair. Her awkward period between short and long hair seems only to last 5 minutes. This is hyperbole but my point is still valid.

Mine takes longer.

Your mojo is off. This thinking of course is absolutely ridiculous. Please know that on an intellectual level I understand that my brain, insight and ability to contribute to society should outweigh how I feel when I look in the mirror and see that my hair is not short but not long. It doesn’t. It’s…uncomfortable. And then one day you are in the bathroom and glimpse someone who looks like you, only better. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be so tied to the external. It’s a process baby, chill.)

My in between phase with my hair is finished.  I’m not going to to wax philosophical about my natural hair etc, etc  or that Black hair is a hot button issue etc., etc. I mention the natural state of it because it’s healthier than it’s ever been and I don’t plan on cutting it again.

I can leave my hair alone it and frankly don’t think about it that much except lately how it relates to the disquieting feeling that’s been sleeping next to me. That not quite icky feeling that makes me dream sideways. I mean, I acknowledge on the outside I’m entitled to feel weird, my life in my forties looks different than I planned. I’m starting over and building something from nothing. I’ve committed to making some pretty major changes to see my dream of my own company through. I get that. Heck, I’ve coached people on this stuff. But over the past two days nothing seems to fit. I don’t like the recipes I’m dreaming up, and yoga has been great/crappy at the same time.  Dakota (my dog) seems to be acting wackier than usual. I pause finally.

Life is changing and so am I but not in the ways that I planned. But I plead with myself to go with it. Quite the act of derring-do for the control freak. I whine but I’m pushing forward and should be pleased at how much is done. There’s just more to do. And like Veruca in Willy Wonka, ‘I want it noooow’. But I plan, breathe make progress and do yoga. This is a growth spurt, it takes force to push things to the surface. So while I may not like the way my life looks right now I can pull it back in a ponytail or just let it be, because I know if a few months I’ll catch myself in the moment and say ‘Whose life is that?’. And it will be mine.

Namaste y’all!!

Adventures in Yoga Teacher Training – Breathe Baby, Breathe

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I took a spill today. Yes, I’m that girl. Clumsy.

I’m thinking about getting one of those medic alert bracelets. You know, you have this fear when you live alone that you will fall and be stuck (or even worse, dead) in some horribly painful or more specifically embarrassing position. Ass in the air; underwear with your head wedged between the toilet and the sink (why on earth didn’t I replace the roll and let roll behind me). Fortunately, that’s not what happened today. I was walking to the front door to grab Dakota’s leash and slipped on some water from her dish. Dakota has a placemat; she must have been shaking her head around like a banshee to get the water where she did. In any case my legs went up and I came down, right on my hip and shoulder.

Giant Buddha

The whip of the movement pulled my neck and I was splayed like a cartoon character. The dog runs over with this look like, ‘Oh, hey, there’s some water on the floor- head’s up.’ Hoisting myself up I wondered for a split second what would have happened if I really took a harder tumble? Yikes. But I live in a big building so I suppose I would have only need to have waited until the guy comes to vacuum the hallway and he heard my pathetic whimpering.

I didn’t feel a thing until later. Settled at a bistro table ready to type my heart out I reached for my laptop and hello. The pain enough was sharp that I yelped an ‘Oh shite!’, except I didn’t yell shite.

Immediately, my mind mind started to race about the things I couldn’t do. I couldn’t turn my neck, I couldn’t do yoga, I couldn’t do the things I had planned for the day. This all happened in an instant. And in the next instant I took a freaking breath. I inhaled into the pain. It’s amazing the shift that can happen in your body when you that inhale. The more you resist something the more it persists.

On my mat I gently (and I mean gently) stretched and gave myself some space. One of the biggest aspects of yoga is to practice non-violence against yourself or anyone else. Reminded once again that yoga is what you do both on and off the mat. I didn’t go to class which was one the smarter things I’ve done in awhile. That and buying a bigger mat for Dakota’s water bowl.

This is yoga…and I love it.

Namaste y’all.