The Best Medicine – Last week I talked about laughter and how it really is “The Best Medicine” I briefly touched on Laughter Yoga and referred to Liliana De Leo’s website www.lilianodeleo.com . I was interested in her take on laughter and how she started to use it in her practice. Liliana De Leo discovered Laughter Yoga in 2006. As a fitness professional working as Fitness Program Director at the YMCA at the time, she saw both the physical benefits of the Laughter Yoga
and the emotional resilience it built within herself and her students. She went on to become a Laughter Yoga Teacher in 2011 and then a Laughter Yoga Master Trainer in 2017.
Now I am hooked on the idea! I started to watch some of the U-tubes on laughter Yoga done by her and others. At first I felt silly laughing and forcing myself to laugh but it becomes really catchy. Laughter sets the spirit free to move through even the most tragic circumstances. It helps us shake our heads clear, get our feet back under us and restore our sense of balance and purpose. Humor is integral to our peace of mind and ability to go beyond survival.” ~Captain Gerald Coffee, POW in Vietnam. I visited Vietnam last February and learned more about the horror stories during those times. If laughter could help people through that conflict and devastation I am convinced that we all can benefit from it.
Liliana believes that our life challenges are likely due to one, two or all of these kinds of events. She calls them the dreaded D’s; Debt, Disease, Divorce or the Death of a loved one. Each carries a certain degree of stress and can create a very heavy heart within us. “It is easy to fall victim and engage in a major pity party complaining to anyone who is in earshot. I have nothing against sharing these challenge with others. In fact, it’s important to share this
vulnerable time and get person-to-person social support. What is important after sharing the problem with others, is to get in a state of mind focusing on the possible solutions to help alleviate the problem.”
Now this is where her ideas resonate with me. I am reminded that I always talk about taking charge of you own health. We all all manage stress differently but I think everyone can laugh or learn to laugh. What may help people to become solution-focused is to try to find the humor in the conflict or problem or tragedy. Trying to find humor may help us to not take the situation or ourselves too seriously. Liliana admits that this is often one of the hardest things to do! “I have often laughed in moments I only wanted to cry. What happens after allowing ourselves to laugh is a sense of strength takes hold of us. If we are able to laugh in the face of adversity, we become stronger.”
It is probably much easier to remain upset, sad angry and/or frustrated when unanticipated circumstances cause havoc in our lives. It takes strength to decide to engage in the action of laughter in moments of distress. Some of us may be able to chuckle by ourselves and others may more easily learn to do so in groups. Once learned, laughter can be used in many situations…traffic, line ups in grocery stores, car break downs and on and on. Once integrated into how we respond to life’s events even more tragic situations can be made to feel just a little bit lighter.
Liliana holds Living Laughter workshops and two and five day Laughter Yoga teacher training sessions. For more information, call (514) 575-2033.