Laughter Yoga!

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

It fills your lungs and body with oxygen, clears your breathing passages, exercises your lungs, and relieves stress. We're talking about laughter yoga.

"Well first of all, I like to laugh a lot," says Linda Revis, a great-grandmother who teaches laughing yoga. "What may start out as a very fake ha-ha-ha can really turn into a genuine belly laugh."

She says the idea is that laughing enhances your emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

"I've just found that throughout my life, humor has helped me out of so many situations," says Revis.

Her goal now is to help others through simple, and often ridiculous, laughing exercises.

"I'd love to see my students laughing more," says Alice Leonhardt, who teaches at Blue Ridge Community College.

At first she was visibly apprehensive, though eventually let go.

"The stress release is wonderful," says Leonhardt. "I'm going to be going through empty nest syndrome with my daughter leaving for college. My son is already there and I'm going to need some laughter in my life."

While she hopes her students aren't watching this, she would recommend it in the classroom. Studies show that laughing lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood and confidence, increases pain tolerance and blood flow, and is a natural face lift.

"I've talked to Linda about maybe coming in to the clinic and maybe doing some workshops there," says Elizabeth Nichols, who is a crisis counselor.

In her office, laughter is often hard to come by. Every day, Nichols deals with people who may need psychiatric help.

"If people could just realize the benefits of just being able to laugh at everyday situations, then it doesn't have to be a comedy act on TV or at the movies," says Nichols.

Laughing yoga has helped Revis as well.

Revis says, "I found out my husband was gay and it ended our marriage. I felt very betrayed, very devastated, and very depressed. It's like I didn't care whether I lived or died. Now I can talk about it and laugh about it. It's funny, because it's a great line: 'Yeah, my ex-husband is gay.'"

Revis says time heals all wounds, but if you can't wait, so does laughing,

She says, "It breaks down the barriers between people, when people are laughing together they're not seeing whether you're male of female, you're not seeing whether you're black, white, Hispanic. You're just laughing together."

Revis plans on taking her class to the workplace and Valley schools.

For more information please contact Linda at healer54@hotmail.com or call (540) 885-7808


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