Laughter Yoga with a Parkinson’s Support Group in London Laughing for the Health of it

Very excited to have worked with a Parkinson’s disease support group last month in London.

The call came through after they saw laughter yoga featured on BBC 2  “Trust me I’m a Doctor” You can see the video here.   Laughter Yoga is a very powerful complementary wellbeing tool. Click to Watch Laughter Yoga on Trust me I’m a Doctor

I have been a fan of my colleague in the USA Gita Fendelman since stumbling upon her work with those suffering from chronic conditions.  I had not realised that Gita is a parkinsons sufferer. This i found out when researching laughter yoga and Parkinson’s disease.  You can hear Gita’s incredible story here and there is no shadow of doubt that Laughter Yoga is helping not just Gita but those she works with. Gita has found laughter yoga to be highly beneficial to her quality of life.

So up until now in addition to working with laughter yoga in corporate wellbeing, I have been very lucky to share laughter yoga with people who suffer from various illnesses and ailments including Cancer, Chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS/ME, Bipolar, Chronic Pain, Depression, Anxiety and more…… This was a first for me to work with a group suffering from Parkinson’s.  I checked in with colleagues who had all had great results with such groups.

The most incredible thing to note is why Laughter Yoga is so good for those who suffer from Parkinson’s.  When we laugh we release a cocktail of chemicals including dopamine into the system and this is big one with regard to PK and helpful for alleviating some of the physical and emotional symptoms of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s starts with the slow degeneration of dopamine. Dopamine helps to regulate muscle function and movement. Dopamine supports our overall energy production and feelings of happiness.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s occur as a result of a dopamine loss.

There can be various other symptoms connected to the disease such as low mood, depression, anxiety, pain which are all ailments and issues that laughter yoga can help with.  Laughter Yoga is an instant stress release, helps to reduce blood pressure and lifts depression. It also boosts the immune system and increases circulation and oxygen levels throughout the body and brain. The endorphin’s we release when we laugh are said to be stronger than morphine which helps with any pain. We also know laughter can help boost our immune system.

So I was delighted to be contacted by a Parkinson’s Support Group in London for a laughter yoga session.  After doing my research I planned a workshop  that I felt would work. I gathered as much info as possible prior to the session.  I was told that the participants were within different stages of the illness with one person in a wheelchair and all with differing degrees of mobility.

I planned a seated session where we were seated in a tight circle with a space in the middle to allow for movement. This way I could include everyone. Each exercise was prepared so it would be suitable for both seated and movement so those who could stand were encouraged to  interact with those seated.

I arrived early and very quickly noticed there was one lady who was very obviously less mobile than the rest of the group, with her head down and she was sat next to a guy who was helping to care for her. A few people did not have any obviously noticeable symptoms so it was a very mixed mobility group.

Started the session with a song that I felt everyone would most likely know and took copies of the words to hand out.  The song, “My Bonny lies over the ocean” turned out to be a good choice. I also took some egg rattles for a couple of reasons. We could create some movement and rhythm whilst we sung the song. This also allowed me to see how much movement people had at the start of the workshop. It was a lot of fun to shake the rattles as we sung creating lots of rhythm and movement. When we sing it instantly lifts our mood and raises the energy.  Actually singing and laughter share many of the same benefits.

I handed out the egg rattles, and the guy helping the less mobile lady wrapped her hand around an egg rattle.

Everyone managed to shake the rattles, and we sang My Bonny. I also gave everyone the option of replacing the song words with Ha Ha’s and Ho Ho’s etc: so same tune, and laughter sounds.

The song did exactly what I wanted, and we were ready to roll. I managed to check out movement etc and then started the sharing of name intros followed by Ha Ha’s, sending lots of smiles and giggles around the circle.

For all exercises we had an option of standing up or remaining seated, greeting laughter where we greeted one another by shaking hands and laughing. Cell phone laughter (receiving the funniest call ever), laughing at our self, laughing at aches and pains and more.

The most incredible thing happened during this session and I felt like i was witnessing magic, the magic of laughter 🙂  The lady who appeared less mobile than the others stood up and joined in. She started off a little uneasy on her feet but I could not believe she had stood up. By the end of the session her head was up, she shared a few words too. It was almost like she had come alive. It felt like the group in the main really enjoyed the session and everyone remarked that they felt better at the end of the session.

This was one of my most personally satisfying sessions. I so so enjoyed working with this group and hope it will be one of many.

The way forward, I recommended telephone and skype laughter to the group and a daily dose of laughing for the health of it.  The group were given various exercises and tips which they could bring in to everyday life. It will be fabulous if they choose to do some more laughter yoga sessions or if members of the support group can attend a local laughter club.

Following on from this session, I have been approached by a Dementia support group which is amazing.

In my research I have found the following articles really useful.

and the article below by my colleague in Australia Connie Costa

Laughter As A Complementary Therapy For People with Parkinson’s

For more info on Parkinson’s please visit Parkinson’s UK – www.parkinsons.org.uk

Laughter Yoga for Health and Wellbeing in London Laughing for the health of it

Laughter Yoga never ceases to amaze me and I continuously hear more and more stories about how incredible this very powerful tool is for so many people.

Laughter Yoga is and has helped colleagues, participants and clients. In this blog I share just some of their amazing experiences and stories.

One lady, I will refer to as “N” who suffers from bipolar sent me such a lovely email of how laughter yoga is helping her. It brought tears to my eyes when I read it. I know it is helping her and she very rarely misses a class but to receive her heartfelt email was just beautiful.

Laughter Yoga helps with Bipolar

“How can I describe laughter yoga? To me it is an invaluable happiness tool. I started laughter yoga about a year ago and have been a strict devotee since then. Every session brings me much joy and lifts my spirits by allowing me to laugh and play and regress back to childhood silliness. I have bipolar and have found laughter yoga a fabulous tool to lift my spirits when I’m feeling really down. Even when I feel fine, laughter yoga lifts you up and brings peace and calmness of mind. Odette is a fabulous leader whose laughter and joy for her work is infectious.”

Laughter Yoga reconnects us to laughter and joy

A guy I will call “George” also a regular at class. When he first came along I wondered if he was enjoying the class as he looked somewhat awkward and he was the last person I expected to come back again but then I received an email from George keen to know when the next class was. He had realised how he had become stuck in his intellect and had actually forgotten how to laugh. G had found the laughter yoga really helpful in reminding him how it felt to laugh. Regular Laughter Yoga classes helped George to reconnect with laughter and joy.  The more we laugh, the easier it flows 🙂 Just like turning a tap on that has been off for some time.  From this situation, I also learnt not to make assumptions about anyone’s experience and just because someone may look awkward at their first laughter yoga experience, one never knows what they are really experiencing and feeling inside. Laughter can be a very complex emotion and once we allow ourselves to push through our comfort zone, magic happens.

Laughter Yoga for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ME 

Celia arrived at class having been recommended Laughter Yoga by a forward thinking GP 🙂  C has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS which is also known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis) and C is also suffering from anxiety. She has not missed a class yet and has been coming along for a few months. I can certainly see a huge rise in her confidence. I wish I had taken before and after photos 🙂 We have a chair on hand for C so she can take a seat anytime during the class. Most of the exercises work well for those who are seated. C is enjoying the classes and I am really hoping she keeps with the LY as I have many colleagues who have remarkable stories of how Laughter Yoga has helped with ME.

Laughter Yoga as a Creativity Boost

Another one of our regulars, I shall call M. M just loves to Laugh and comes along to do just that and he often also joins us at our after laugh socials. A few months ago we had a fabulous group of laughers and the laughter meditation was a very very long one, truly very powerful. M totally reached that point of catharsis which is an incredible release and very powerful in it’s own right. So when M got home his writing just flowed. M is a script writer and he had reached a bit of a block with this particular script. The laughter yoga had helped to boost his creativity and got his creative juices flowing once more.

I also see many many changes with our regulars, far to many to mention but the most obvious one is how their confidence grows with regular laughter yoga practice. It is literally like seeing a flower bloom, just incredible.

So many of our regulars come along for help with anxiety, depression and probably most common of all Stress. Almost everyone mentions how they feel better and less stressed after a laughter yoga session or class.

For regular Laughter Yoga Classes please visit http://laughteryogawellness.co.uk/laughter-yoga-classes-and-workshops-in-london/

For further info or to book a Laughter yoga wellbeing Workshops for your group or business , please click to contact us today.  We have experience of working with small/medium and global organisations, community groups, charities, hen parties. In addition to the incredible wellbeing benefits, our workshops are ideal for team building too!!

You too can learn how to help others and lead laughter yoga classes and workshops. We have dates coming up in October/November 2017 in London for Laughter Yoga Training Courses in London. We are also happy to travel to you to deliver our training courses. Please register via http://laughteryogawellness.co.uk/laughter-yoga-leader-training/ for further information and bookings.

Laughter Yoga for for Red Nose Day We made our laugh matter more so than usual!

Laughter Yoga with our London Laughter Club for Red Nose Day

We had a fabulous laughter class with all proceeds donated to Red Nose Day. Following on from the laughter we headed to The Bread and Bean Cafe in Archway where the laughter continued over a cuppa.

In total Laughter Yoga Wellness raised £74 for comic relief. We were part of a team of Laughter Professionals who held Laughter Clubs and events throughout the UK with a Team Total of over £700 raised by Laughter Yogis for Red Nose Day. Special thanks to my laughter colleague Maggie who inspired us all to get involved.

Join us for our next laughter on 15th April in Archway. Bookings via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/laughter-yoga-london-wellbeing-workshop-and-social-tickets-31030251317

 

Illustrations of Woodland Laughter by Shoko Kimura Laughing in Nature with our London Laughter Club

Laughter Club on Saturday was extra special for a number of reasons. Firstly embracing the lovely Summer weather we decided to Laugh in Nature and what a better place than Queens  Wood, an ancient woodland in North London.

Queen’s Wood was once called Churchyard Bottom Wood, and was originally part of the Great Forest of Middlesex. It was said to be the site of a plague pit. In 1898 it was purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by Hornsey Urban District Council, and renamed Queen’s Wood in honour of Queen Victoria. (Thank you Wikapedia 🙂 )

The second reason that made our Laughter Club session extra special is because we were joined by Shoko Kimura, an illustration student and as part of her MA: Communication Design course, she is working on her major project about how she can demonstrate a humorous approach to her reportage illustration. She is researching ‘Laughter Yoga’ because of the importance laughter has in our daily lives. The theme is to combine laughter and observation drawing.  As part of her project she had a quick interview with a few of the participants.

Shoko has so very kindly shared her illustrations with me. We were pretty much constantly moving and enjoying the feeling of freedom that the woods allows. Totally awesome that she captured these incredible illustrations in the short time that she had. Love Love Love them. So very talented 🙂  Check out Shoko’s Website http://www.shokoportfolio.com/

Laughter Yoga Illustration 3
A slightly different Meditation at the end.
Laughter Yoga Illustration2
and some breathing exercises that originate from Yoga

Ooo and for our final treat, we were joined by Francesca,  a Laughter Yogi friend who shared some awesome games with the group.

So the day began when we met for a cuppa at the Woodland Cafe which was great to get to know one another before the session. A rare opportunity to do so prior to the session.

Then during the workshop we had Tree Laughter obviously! Hi Hi so we swayed like trees and laughed as our trees blew in the wind. To round off a fabulous afternoon of laughing in the woods we went to the pub for more socialising. I must say, there is something truly special about laughing in nature and I am sure the trees loved it too 🙂 Ha Ha

Finally a few shots of Francesca and Kasia grounding with tree energy 🙂

Laughter Yoga in the Woods

Woodland Laughter in London

 

Why Laughter Workshops ?

I love nothing more than a deep belly laugh and I realise that I am very lucky that laughter and humour comes naturally  to me, well most of the time although Laughter Yoga has helped me to learn to laugh more freely in the face of adversity.

So why laughter yoga or a laughter workshop ? That is a good question and interestingly enough, initially I did not get it at all. As someone who laughs a lot I found it rather strange that people would need to force laughter when they could laugh freely but laughter is infectious so let it out, forced or real and it soon becomes hearty and real 🙂

Without a doubt laughter yoga is fun, social and a great way to meet people and make new friends. Not everyone can laugh freely and we often do not have enough opportunities for spontaneous laughter in our busy lives. I have just today received an email from a guy who came along to laughter club asking when the next one is, he enjoyed it so much and he realised that he needs more laughter in his life. Sometimes we just take life too seriously and forget to laugh, or even how to laugh. This is why Laughter Clubs are so important and the reason why many Laughter Leaders offer community laughter clubs.

Laughter Clubs provide an opportunity to bring laughter in to your life without leaving it to chance.

The other amazing thing about laughter is how quickly it bonds a group together, a great team building tool and of course the social element. Some amazing bonds and friendships have formed in my own laughter club.

A Laughter workshop provides a safe environment where it is okay to laugh without judgement so it provides a safe space to laugh away, a total release for many.

So what is the difference between spontaneous laughter and the sort of laughter you will get in one of our workshops.  There is a big difference in the fact that in an average laughter session you will most likely laugh for around 10-15 minutes where as general day to day spontaneous laughter, tends to be for a fraction of that, at around 5 seconds. You are also leaving laughter to chance, you may or may not come across something funny.

The laughter that really benefits our health is the extended deep belly laughter and this is something we practice in our laughter workshops. We do need that extended 10-15 minutes of laughter to really reap the health benefits. A typical one hour laughter workshop does just that.

Laughter for Depression

I recently had someone come along to my laughter club who suffers from bipolar disorder (aka manic depression). She contacted me the next day to tell me how much the laughter yoga had helped her to “release the demons”, as she put it. Laughter Yoga and Laughter Workshops are very effective for helping people with depression, anxiety and so much more, simple yet effective and a wonderful way to release and re-energise. On that note, I should add that there are some contraindications as with any form of exercise.  People suffering from minor and major psychiatric disorders can participate in a laughter session except those who are not in touch with reality e.g. schizophrenia, Hyper mania (manic part of bipolar depression)  sometimes known as bipolar II. Even a short Laughter Yoga session can make so much difference, in particular in the workplace where stress is a huge issue causing illness and absenteeism.

I work with a several holistic tools in my Stressbusting Laughter Workshops. A combination of all or some of them, Natural Laughter Skills, Laughter Yoga, Gibberish and Sound Meditation.

Life is better when you are laughing laughter_thumb LaughterMeditcine

 

World Laughter Day London Laughter Crawl a celebration of Laughter in London

Totally excited to be celebrating World Laughter Day in London on 1st May 2016 at 1pm. Hosted by Laughter Yogis Suz and Odette

world laughter day London

For further info and to join us please visit http://laughteryogalondon.eventbrite.com/

We have a fabulous day of spontaneous laughter along with some laughter yoga exercises. We will start the day off at Trafalgar Square and then head off as a group, hopefully picking up more people to join us along the way for more laughs around London.

Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha See you there !!! 🙂

World Laughter Day 1st May – Laughter Crawl of London

#laughteryogalondon #worldlaughterday #worldlaughterdaylondon #flashmob

One Minute Laughter challenge Nominate your friends to Laugh

So it all began on April Fools day after a few failed attempts at April Fooling my friends, I decided to call a friend of mine who really needed cheering up and I challenged her to a one minute laugh and timed her. It was completely hilarious and allowed her to let go, release and laugh in the face of adversity. That is something we can all learn to do by bringing in more laughter in to our lives. Laughter Yoga is the perfect platform for all of us to laugh wholeheartedly in a safe non judgemental environment. This can really allow us to release, feel better and give us the strength we need during hard times.

The day continued with around 8 or 9 laughs on the phone in person and on facebook voice chat. Wow, what a day! so much fun which had me completely buzzing and full of energy for the rest of the day.

I had my laughter yoga club the next day which provided an opportunity to video a few more one minute laughs as well as one more on April Fools day from an unsuspecting friend who visited. He is a full time carer and boy oh boy did he need it! He loved it 🙂

Check out some of our One Minute Laughs.

This has followed on giving me the idea of bringing more laughter in a really fun way to not just my friends but their friends, friends of friends and so it will go on creating a massive chain, a ripple of laughter.

So now I begin my mission to bring laughter to as many people as I can 🙂 Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha.

The idea will be to nominate some friends, they in turn nominate theirs, have your timer at the ready as although one minute does not sound like a long time, when you are laughing continuously it seems like forever! Ha Ha and it feels like a workout.  It really is a workout, so they will need to be fit enough for the challenge!  Apparently 10 minutes of laughter is equivalent to 30 minutes on a rowing machine! Better still if you can video your friends laughing, with their permission of course, I will be happy to showcase the best clips on my youtube channel.

Let the Fun Begin 🙂

Using my contact form, you can send me a link to the recorded clips and those that are selected will be showcased on Laughter Yoga Wellness London.

Here’s the link to my Youtube Channel and be sure to subscribe if you want to keep in the loop on the laughs.

Click to contact me with a link to your video along with permission to share.

#laughteryogalondon #laughteryoga #oneminutelaughter

 

 

 

 

One Minute Laughter Laughter Yoga Wellness Workshops in London

So today is April Fools Day and my two attempts at fooling friends failed miserably.  Still feeling mischievous and in the mood for fun and laughter I decided to telephone a few friends to cheer them up with one minute of laughter, stop clock at the ready! Ha Ha

On Saturday I hold my community Laughter Club in Holloway North London at The Kindness Offensive on Camden Road and I will be taking some video clips of one minute laughter so decided to practice a little.

My first victim! okay, willing participant 🙂 really needed cheering up which was perfect as laughing in the face of adversity can give us so much strength when we need it most to face life’s challenges. So I rang my friend and laughter yoga colleague and we had such a hoot. She was so thankful for that brief one minute of laughter as it really picked her up and made her feel so much better.  Actually that one minute extended in to more like two as we both could not stop laughing.

I proceeded to call 2 more friends followed by four more on facebook telephone chat. I now feel fantastic and knackered as laughter gives us a workout! It really does. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their one minute challenge. Try it! Ring a friend, have your timer ready and you will most likely be surprised by this simple yet effective way to boost energy and feel great, a perfect start to your day.

Subscribe to our You Tube Channel and check out our very first One Minute Laughter Video.

One Minute Video Laughter with Ian, a full time carer 🙂  What a sport and he loved it. Not only did he Love it, but he needed it! As you can probably imagine it is hugely stressful to be a full time carer so although just a minute, I feel this was quite a release for Ian.

In a typical one hour Laughter Yoga Workshop you will experience between 10-15 minutes of deep belly laughter.

Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha 🙂

#laughteryogalondon #laughteryoga

Click to Subscribe to our You Tube Channel

 

Laughter Club in London Feeling Good with Laughter Yoga in London

We have just launched our new London Laughter and Socials allowing members of the public to experience regular laughter classes with optional socials after the class.  Frequency varies but usually at least fortnightly.

Laughter workshops are ideal for social bonding, team building and so much more. We are on a mission to get London laughing and make it a happier and healthier place to live  🙂

Laughter Yoga has so many Health Benefits ranging from boosting our confidence and motivation, enhancing creativity, stress relief and generally helping us to feel good. As the saying goes ” Laughter is the best Medicine” and for some people those words have rung true!

A laughter yoga workshop is ideal for almost any group setting. We offer our wellness workshops and services to private groups and parties too. Our Health and Well-being workshops range from a one hour laughter yoga workshop to a full half day which can include various holistic stress busters including a Gong Bath or Sound Meditation.  Contact us to discuss your requirements for your group.

Our Laughter classes are usually fully booked so early booking is advisable.

If you wish to join us, please visit our profile page on eventbrite for news of our public laughter classes where you can register to join us via   http://laughter-yoga-wellness-london.eventbrite.com/