LAUGH­TER

The Covington News - - Front page -

Laugh­ter yoga has been found to help al­le­vi­ate de­pres­sion, mental stress and even re­lieve pain from arthri­tis and can­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to www. laugh­teryoga.org, the con­cept of laugh­ter yoga is based on a sci­en­tific fact that the body can­not dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween fake and real laugh­ter. So one would sim­ply start laugh­ing, how­ever fake and un­ap­peal­ing as it can be, it would not be long be­fore the fake laugh­ter turns into some­thing gen­uine. When in a group, laugh­ter will be­come con­ta­gious.

“One of the things about laugh­ing for no rea­son is that it gives you the dy­nam­ics of breath­ing. When there are more peo­ple it be­comes in­fec­tious — it’s very hu­man,” Eleazer said.

“It also de­pends on whether you al­low your­self to feel that child-like play­ful­ness, be­cause you can’t laugh when your mind is oc­cu­pied with the wor­ries of to­mor­row and yes­ter­day. If we can just let it go for a minute and leave it at the door, I’m sure it will find you. And that al­lows you to be more cre­ative,” she ex­plained. “When you’re think­ing about the same thing over and over again, how do you be­come cre­ative?”

Laugh­ter yoga has be­come a world­wide prac­tice that reaches about 60 coun­tries. First launched by Dr. Madan Kataria, the idea of laugh­ter yoga is sim­ple: it is laugh­ing un­con­di­tion­ally com­bined with Yo­gic breath­ing (Pranayama).

“The mind is an ex­cel­lent ser­vant, but a ter­ri­ble mas­ter. It’s a slave driver. And if you can’t con­trol it, your mind won’t be fo­cused. When you’re fo­cus­ing and mak­ing your mind work, it gets tired. Most peo­ple in the West don’t re­al­ize this. You have to take a break,” Eleazer said.

For the last four months, Eleazer and Stubbs rou­tinely visit Mer­ry­vale As­sisted Liv­ing ev­ery two weeks. The laugh­ter yoga ses­sions seem to be both ther­a­peu­tic and ef­fec­tive.

“Some of the el­derly that suf­fer from de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases are un­able to ex­press emo­tion prop­erly. So go­ing around to them and giv­ing them eye con­tact and laugh­ter, you can see it in their eyes and the pos­i­tive ef­fects it gives them. The eye con­tact we give them al­lows them to be jus­ti­fied of their laugh­ter,” Eleazer said. “It helps them be grate­ful of their own ex­is­tence.”

“In a reg­u­lar ses­sion, there is a lot more move­ment and more vig­or­ous. We’re sweat­ing at the end of it,” adds Stubbs. “Even with those who don’t par­tic­i­pate and are in the corner rolling their eyes, their re­ac­tion to us is enough to dis­tract them from their world, which is the main point, to give your mind a lit­tle es­cape. And I know they will re­mem­ber the ses­sion when they go home that night, es­pe­cially when they look at the smi­ley face sticker we give out at the end of each ses­sion.”

Eleazer and Stubbs have pre­vi­ously held ses­sions at the Back to Well­ness Clinic in Rut­ledge for two years. They have had ses­sions at ex­pos and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties like Mer­ry­vale. How­ever, laugh­ter yoga is not limited to the el­derly. Eleazer and Stubbs feel that this would also be great for church func­tions, an­niver­sary par­ties, fam­ily gath­er­ings and busi­ness meet­ings.

“We’ll even do bach­e­lor par­ties,” Eleazer jokes.

For ap­point­ments, call Sue Eleazer at (770)4641145 or Cindy Stubbs at (678)409-1939. For more in­for­ma­tion about laugh­ter yoga, visit www.laugh­teryoga.org.

“Laugh­ter is like kiss­ing. It’s all good, some’s bet­ter. Laugh­ter is meant to be shared,” Eleazer said. “There’s enough sad­ness and stress out there and we want to bal­ance it out with laugh­ter.”

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