If you are looking for a way to live a happier, healthier, and more well-balanced life, there may not be a more fun path than through the practice of Laughing Yoga. It is simple, free, and gives you an excuse to laugh out loud even while chained to your cubicle.
Just tell your boss you are working on developing your well-being so that you can better flourish as an employee. I’m sure that will go over well.
I guarantee that your doctor will approve.
That is unless you have a lung, throat, or mouth issue that makes it difficult to laugh. That would really suck sweaty balls.
What is Laughing Yoga?
First, the practice of laughing yoga I will describe here is NOT the same as laughter yoga. Laughter yoga is a practice where people get together and laugh. Laughing yoga isn’t just that. It’s an approach to life that can be exercised on your own.
If you already practice yoga, the term “yoga” can bring memories of serenity, calm movements, and peace of mind. Or, for some of us, the word can bring about images of a studio with skinny people doing lots of weird stretches with sweat dripping down their backs (talk about sweaty balls).
However, the word yoga isn’t just about stretches and postures. Yoga simply refers to practices that lead to connection, or lead to unification. Unification of what you ask?
In the Hindu tradition, these postures and stretches are part of a practice referred to as Hatha Yoga. However, there is also a Karma yoga, which is unification through our behaviors and choices. Bhakti yoga refers to a practice of love, compassion or devotion. And there is also Jnana yoga, which is a path of connection through study and pursuit of wisdom.
All of these yogas developed in the Hindu tradition as practices to connect (unify) with one’s true self.
Do you ever get the feeling that life is too chaotic? Ever feel as if you’re pulled in lots of different directions? A simplified way to think about a yoga is as a path to unify yourself. Think of yoga as practices to help you live a more whole life, rather than a fragmented one.
If you’re a spiritually inclined person, you can think of yoga as a way to realize the unification between you and the whole universe; realizing the intimate connection that has always existed, but that we often forget because we become so focused on our tiny, finite self and finite desires.
And, if you’re not a spiritually inclined person, you can think of yoga as a way to live a more authentic, balanced, complete life.
(Ha! If you thought the earlier sweaty balls comment seemed out of place before, how about now?)
Psychology tells us that a majority of human behaviors are the result of unconscious processes. A lot of how we think and behave in the world is the result of either evolutionary programming or cultural conditioning. Why do you desire a fancy car? Why do you desire more money? Why do you want the high paying job? And the list goes on.
All of these desires are actually conditioned into us by our environment. We are not born wanting money. Nor are we born wanting a promotion.
Our culture puts so many expectations on us that it is impossible to live up to them all. As a result, we can get torn apart. It’s as if there’s no way to be okay since our culture tells us we’re never okay. We’re always lacking. We’re always incomplete. There’s always more or better to be had.
The result is that our mind is conditioned to have related thoughts: thoughts of lack, thoughts of dissatisfaction, thoughts of negativity, etc. Our minds also replay mistakes of the past over and over again, possibly with the hope of avoiding the same mistake in the future, but does all of this really help? Our minds also can be in a constant state of worry and stress imagining all sorts of possible future pitfalls and future issues, possibly with the hope of avoiding them. But, as you’ve probably noticed in your own life, most, if not all of the time, these worries cause us more stress than they are worth.
So, how can we stop these negative thoughts? How can we better unify ourselves so that we aren’t pulled apart by our constant striving, worrying, and stress?
Believe it or not, it has been scientifically shown that humor can accomplish this in many ways. The most important is that it can help recondition our perspective and patterns of thought.
If we were conditioned to be pulled apart by negativity, why not choose to consciously combat this by conditioning ourselves to do the opposite? When you think about and interact with the world, why settle for seeing problems and things to stress out about? Why not condition ourselves to see our issues as simply mole hills rather than mountains. Why not condition ourselves to live lightheartedly instead of making everything so grave and serious?
You can do this by simply beginning to laugh more. You can do this by conditioning yourself to see the funny in the world, training your brain to think humorously.
This is what laughing yoga is to My Hyena. It is the practice of conditioning the muscles in the brain (metaphorically speaking) that are needed to combat the negative thoughts and perceptions that are conditioned into us from birth.
How to do Laughing Yoga
It’s so simple, really. To do laughing yoga, just set aside some time each day to laugh at something.
Learn to appreciate the humor of something. Read a joke. Watch a funny video. Laugh at silly people talking nonsense on a poorly produced comedy podcast.
So Now What?
That’s laughing yoga. It sounds too simple to be true, but the idea of eating less and working out more is a simple idea too, but still people struggle with weight loss. The same is true of laughing yoga.
We at My Hyena have been dedicated to trying to share humor, since according to the old adage, laughter is the best medicine. We believe laughing yoga is the way to go.
Our goal for our site is to give you just one thing to warm your brain up for laughter. Just one thing to inspire you to look at the rest of your day in a lighthearted way.
And we hope you start today, if not by laughing at our silly stuff, then by laughing at something -anything!
By the way, did I mention sweaty balls?