As part of the LifePower Yoga Mount Laurel challenge, I’m exploring one of the seven axioms of yoga each day and sharing what it means to me. If you’re interested in joining the challenge (and winning some Lululemon swag), you can find all the dets here.
#4 Laughter and play are the fountains of youth
The average child laughs over 300 times a day. Those laughs are reduced to a mere 20 times a day by the time we reach adulthood.
If laughter really is the best medicine – the fountain of youth – why aren’t we laughing more as adults?
Last March I went on an intenSati retreat in Tulum, Mexico. After we finished doing some self-work one afternoon, my teacher told us to lay down on the floor in a chain so that one person’s head was on another person’s belly. Being the type-A that I am that needs to know what is going on, these types of activities stress me out. In fact, I wasn’t alone in my ‘I don’t want to do this’ discomfort. There was a lot of tentative energy on that floor wondering what we were doing.
After we filed in, Patricia asked someone to tell a funny joke. More silence. Apparently when put on the spot, no one has anything funny to say. Gradually people started talking and out of no where the right side of the room erupted in laughter. On the left, we were bewildered as to what was going on and to the purpose of this activity. Hildie, Shelley and I started talking about how the only thing we could think of wouldn’t be funny to the group and only to us. And as we began to talk about how Shelley got caught in a NYC subway turn style (seriously who does that?), we erupted in laughter – and so did our entire side of the room! We all couldn’t stop laughing, even after we forgot what we were laughing about.
You see, when your head is on the belly of someone who’s laughing, your head bobs up and down which for whatever reason, makes you laugh more. And so this laughing fit continued until we were all crying-laughing.
That exercise stuck with me because I think so often we get caught up in the rut of routine and are unwilling to do or try anything new. Unlike our child counterparts who spent hours exploring, playing and testing, as adults we’ve become accustomed to our routines. Problem is, in the rut of routine and to-do lists, we’re unable to see the many opportunities for joy that life presents in any given moment.
Today, make time for exploration and innovation – or hey! Grab a few of your friends and try the ‘Head on the Belly Laughter Game’. If you can’t start it with a good ole joke, here’s another way to get the chuckles flowing.