I started a laughter practice by myself when I was bored during lockdown, exploring what I’d learned through clown classes (London Clown School) and Voic(e)motion workshops (Guy Dartnell). Feeling lighter for it, I decided to try opening up a participatory session to others. I’ve now done an online Laughter Leader training with Laughter Yoga (United Mind) and am eager to keep up a regular practice that anyone can join.
Laugh Time with Flora is a series of regular online Laughter Yoga sessions. Each one consists of simple exercises designed to get participants breathing and laughing deeply, feeling good, and connecting with themselves and others.
No prior experience or wit required, just a willingness to give it a go and be playful. Open to adults and children.
Schedule week commencing 1 June (all times GMT+1)
How do sessions run?
If you wish to join sessions:
• Please fill in this short Registration & Liability Release Form. Once you have submitted this I will send you more information about payment and how to join the session.
• Zoom calls this type of conference call a ‘Meeting’. To know how to join a Zoom Meeting watch this video.
What are the benefits of Laughter Yoga?
Laughing is fantastic for our emotional and physical health.
Laughter Yoga exercises are based on the scientific fact that the body does not distinguish between real and fake laughter so even if you don’t feel like laughing to begin with, you can still reap many physiological and psychological benefits from participating. Simulated laughter often topples into spontaneous laughter.
Extended laughter (what we practice in Laugh Time) is a form of aerobic exercise, kind of like internal jogging. It engages muscles all over the body – especially the diaphragm, abdominals, and intercostal and face muscles – and, just like a cardiovascular workout, it releases ‘feel good’ endorphins that help us relax.
It also increases the net oxygen intake in our body and brain, expels stale air from our lungs and improves our circulation, boosting our alertness, energy and motivation levels. Using our diaphragm muscles also activates the vagus nerve (part of the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ branch of the central nervous system), reducing stress levels and strengthening our immune systems.
The activity of smiling, laughing and connecting with ourselves and others, even online, is also a great social bonding exercise that can lift our mood for the rest of the day.
In these sessions we will practice deep, hearty, extended laughter and are looking to develop our capacity to laugh unconditionally, or ‘for no reason’. This may sound hard but actually, like most things, it gets easier with practice and in Laugh Time it’s a team effort – you are not alone!
“When you laugh, you change and when you change the whole world changes around you.” – Dr Madan Kataria, medical doctor and founder of Laughter Yoga
Who can participate?
People of all ages can participate but please note that these laughter sessions may not be suitable for everyone. Laughter exercises are contra-indicated for people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, epilepsy, any kind of hernia, severe backache, major psychiatric disorders, are in their first trimester or recently underwent major surgery. This list is for guidance only and is not exhaustive. If you have doubts about participating due to a health condition, consult a medical professional for guidance first. In the sessions themselves, use your common sense: no strain, no new pain. Stop if anything feels uncomfortable. If you need a rest, rest. The class can be done sitting down or standing.
If you enjoyed Laugh Time, tell others about it! The more the merrier.
You can listen to excerpts of my laughter class interwoven with pieces by ‘Nora’, the dance project that I co-direct, in Sarah Vermont’s Changing Lives podcast (16 mins): on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Castbox