When I was still living in Louisville, I looked forward to my bi-weekly yoga classes. The instructor was one of the best I’d ever had leading me through a yoga practice.
She was young and optimistic yet very spiritual and inspiring. She would begin each class telling us a story about her weekend and tie it back around to being balanced or living life with intention. Then she would lead us through a challenging practice that left me feeling drained and energized at the same time.
It was, as yoga should be, the perfect balance.
The universe, though, is tricky and likes to tip the scales a little every now and then just to make sure we’re paying attention. Such a nudge happened not long before I moved when I walked into class and found *gasp* a substitute.
I almost turned around and walked out, but I’m not normally afraid of change, so I decided to give her a try. The practice was fine–a good mix of vinyasa and warrior poses.
We were almost finished when the universe gave another nudge. I was ready to end the practice as usual with corpse pose when, instead of instructing us to lie down, the substitute told us to take a comfortable seat.
The expressions on everyone’s face was a variation of, “Huh? What’d she just say?”
“Laughter is powerful,” she continued as if she hadn’t just lost everyone a second ago, “It calms us, makes us feel lighter, and restores our spirits.”
She instructed us to close our eyes and try a few, “Ha-ha’s”. It was quiet except for her own chuckles.
“Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks,” she said. “Put a smile on your face, and laugh.”
Soon, I heard a faint giggle from the back corner, a gaffaw from somewhere to my right, and a full-on belly-laugh from the front. Within seconds the room was rumbling with laughter…deep, high, loud, soft, each laugh as different as each variation of crow pose.
What started as stilted turned to genuine, and after a full minute, the room was filled with roaring laughter. I’m sure the muscle heads in the weight room next door were complaining about the “slackers” in group exercise.
After another minute, the laughter died down, and as everyone regained their composure, I realized our sub was right. I did feel lighter and calmer and just as restored as if I’d spent the last two minutes in the ultimate relaxation pose…maybe even more so.
Today, April 14, is International Moment of Laughter Day, so take a minute to laugh, even if you find nothing humorous about your circumstances, put a smile on your face, and laugh like no one’s listening.
You’ll feel better for it. I promise.