Laugh Time With Flora is a series regular somatic Laughter Yoga classes run by dancer and Laughter Yoga Leader Flora Wellesley Wesley.
Each session consists of simple exercises designed to get participants breathing and laughing deeply, connecting with themselves and others, relaxing, and having fun in a playful, low stakes setting.
According to Dr Madan Kataria, medical doctor and founder of the international Laughter Yoga club movement: “Every time you open your mouth and laugh you are opening the door to happiness.”
It is through practice that we learn to let go of our self-conscious selves and are able to discover the beauty and depths of our own laughter. Through various vocal, somatic and imaginative exercises, LAUGH TIME provides a trail guide that enables people to release their inhibitions and unbridle their laughter. We explore and cultivate playful methods for self-inducing and cherishing our laughter together.
Open to anyone, classes can be done standing or seated. No prior experience required – just a willingness to give it a go and follow Flora’s lead. No need to feel happy on arrival.
4 x Classes: £19
Saturdays | 18:00 – 18:30 UK | Saturday Laugh It Out @ Laugh Time Zoom room
7, 14 & 28 May + 4 & 11 June
5 x Classes: £23
Bursary places also available.
Payments for class can be made through PayPal or bank transfer (account details follow in booking confirmation email).
By committing to a regular session, you will learn a whole array of ways to self-induce laughter and become more intimately acquainted with the sound, sensation and image of yourself laughing. The Summer Term’s May-June programme will leave you equipped with tools to deepen a self-directed practice over the summer holidays.
Yes, laughing is a form of exercise as well as a skill we can practice. It gets easier over time as one builds stamina doing it and confidence and pleasure inside the experience of it!
For educational, community and work place online and face to face workshop enquires,
I facilitate an array of online and face to face educational and recreational workshops and sessions for youth and adult learning groups, Sten dos and birthday parties, student cohorts, community clubs and organisations.
Laughter workshops can provide a unique bonding experience as people go on a playful journey outside their comfort zone together. This novel, adventurous and restorative activity creates a special atmosphere where people cannot fail, boosting morale, trust and confidence.
I also collaborate with STUDIO SOMA’s Kate Sagovsky on: EMBODYING HAPPINESS: Connecting Feldenkrais, Laughter Yoga, & The Neuroscience of Happiness. Feel free to contact us for enquiries about these 2.5 hour online workshops at studiosoma.info@gmail dot com.
Listen to Laugh Time
You can listen to excerpts of a Laugh Time class interwoven with pieces by Nora, the dance project that Flora co-directs, in this Changing Lives podcast (16 mins) on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Castbox.
What are the benefits of Laughter Yoga?
Laughing is fantastic for our emotional and physical health.
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 thus 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 world changes.” – Dr Madan Kataria, medical doctor and Founder of Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide
Who can participate?
People of all ages can participate but please note that these laughter sessions may not be suitable for everyone. Laughter Yoga is contra-indicated for people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, a hernia, severe backache, schizophrenia, are in their first trimester and have had miscarriages in the past, or recently underwent major surgery. I ask for people with epilepsy or anxiety to let me know before class, and encourage them to take charge of their participation. 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.
Young people 10-15 years old welcome with the accompaniment of an adult.
If you enjoy Laugh Time, please share it with friends and family members. Participating in a laughter class together can be a fun alternative way of spending time together and add to the sense of the occasion in your weekly routine! The more the merrier.
Online Laugh Time resources
For laughter inspiration, feel free to peruse my archive of Laughter Reels on Instagram @florawellesleywesley and more recent live classes @laughtimewithflora on FB & IG.
Mental Health Awareness Week, May 2021
MHAW prompted me to reflect on what I am able to contribute to the conversation and movement to destigmatize mental health conditions. Here are a couple of resources I’ve come across over the last 5 years that I’ve found especially comforting, enlightening and helpful: