Kind Promise: I will celebrate this moment.

On Saturday, I participated in a laughter yoga session. Laughter yoga is the brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria, a doctor in Mumbai, India. He recognized that the physical process of laughter encourages yogic deep breathing and, with a handful of friends, developed the practice. Now, there are more than 6000 Social Laughter Clubs in about 60 countries.

The laughter club in Minneapolis is facilitated by Jody Ross.  Jody was at Mayo Clinic for treatment of fibromyalgia pain when she happened upon a laughter yoga session. Her symptom relief was so immediate she knew she wanted to make it her life’s work. She now is a “certified laughter life coach” and heads the Laughter Center in Minneapolis.

So there we were, on Saturday, 100 women with MS waving our arms around, wiggling our bodies, making eye contact and laughing for no reason. I was mostly faking it, though 100 people pretending to laugh with each other is pretty funny. Luckily, our bodies experience the same benefits whether our laughs are genuine or not. Physiological benefits include:

  • oxygenating the blood and major organs
  • releasing endorphins, our natural opiates
  • moving lymph fluid around the body to help clear out waste products

I am, sadly, one of those people who laughs without making noise. On Saturday, I was making the ha ha, hee hee, ho ho noises along with everyone else. Watching Jody (who admits that she is faking it of most of the time) encourages me to expand my laughter vocabulary and make gratuitous out loud laughter one of my self-care practices.

If I need to remember how it’s done, I can watch baby Micah laugh at ripping paper.