The week at Pathways Healing Center, Minneapolis, begins with the chuckle of Laughter Yoga exercises, which may seem unconventional, but are most uplifting. It provides the joy of laughing for participants who attend this exercise routine that combines laughter with deep yoga breathing.
The session is conducted by Pete Girard and his wife, Jan, who discovered this mood-lifting technique 10 years ago and were highly motivated to follow it and teach others the magic of laughter. Their class is a mix of quick activities and participants take part in a variety of exercises, such as the laughter milkshake, the sprinkler and the woody woodpecker. All are meant to generate simulated laughter that targets breathing in the head, chest and diaphragm.
It goes beyond free-flowing humor as the whole experience is orchestrated to create a connection among the group members and to help them leave all inhibitions to get the full benefit. Most participants feel it is childlike, helps to let their guard down and keeps them in the present, which leads to feelings of genuine moments of joy.
Laughter Yoga takes places every Monday morning at Pathways in Minneapolis. The classes are free and begin at 9:30 a.m. To learn more, contact Pathways Health Resource Center.