We had an unusual guest to stay as soon as Marguerite had packed her beret and headed off home. He is a laughter yoga coach called Jeffrey, whom I met on Laguna Beach (see blog in March). This is a man who spends most of his days laughing. The Laughter Yoga movement was started by an Indian doctor and is rapidly spreading across the world. There are over 3500 groups in India (some of whom meet up to eight times a day) and around 2000 throughout the rest of the world. Apparently there is even a group in Toulouse though quite what they have to laugh about beats me.
We were all sitting in the kitchen Monday evening when it suddenly started pouring with rain. The sort of rain that can soak you within three seconds. I had just hung out a mountain of washing so started weeping.
“Who turned on the rain?” asked Olivia.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha hahahaa,” said Jeffrey. I scowled at him.
“Sorry,” he said, sounding like a US Marine. “We’re trained to laugh in times of adversity.”
So this is what we should do when faced with a traffic jam, a sulking child, an over-cooked piece of toast, an empty bank account: we should laugh. Jeffrey, or Present as the children called him, maintains it is possible. You just have to train yourself to laugh and the health benefits are enormous.
The children called him Present due to the fact that he didn’t bring them one (how spoilt are they?): “OK, then you’ll be the present,” they said.
Last night Present led a Laughter Yoga session for us all. My parents-in-law came as did my friend Mary and her children. After about a minute Bea stomped off saying: “This isn’t funny, it’s just silly.” Half an hour later Leo followed. “I’ve had enough of this laughing,” he said.
I liked it, although my cheeks ached after a while. I have to admit the session I had on Laguna Beach with the waves of the ocean crashing against the shore was probably more relaxing than the one in my garden wondering where my two smallest children were and if my mother-in-law would ever speak to me again but it was fun and, having been in a rotten mood all day, I felt happier. I guess it stands to reason that if you laugh your body thinks you’re happy and so you are. And as Present says; “Laughter and stress cannot coexist for any length of time.”
He has gone now but I will try to carry on his work and laugh at the challenges the day ahead bring. Looking at the dismal state of our bank account ha ha ha ha, look, no money! ha ha ha ha. The mess in the kitchen ha ha ha, what a mess! ha ha ha. Henman out of the French Open in the first round ha ha ha. Oh well as long as Safin is still in, I’m laughing.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007