Jeannine Carman a certified Laughter Yoga leader in Winnipeg, Canada, regularly hosts laughter workshops primarily with seniors, some with severe dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and she says the benefits are evident right away.
According to her a lot of people get scared and the most common reaction is that 'this is just too weird; I don't want to allow myself to be silly.' But when you're allowing yourself to laugh on a daily basis, you realize the benefits of it, and how you can let go.
Her class starts with just a smile, a deep breath to relax, a giggle and then a full blown belly laugh. The idea is to relax and let go of stress or negativity, and to feel good about yourself. The laughter and good vibes spread throughout the class and before long everyone is smiling.
For the seniors, the class is a way to let go of stress and be silly with one another.
Some comments from her class attendees:
Jeannette Fillion, 76 : With everything that goes on in this world, you don't feel like laughing all the time. When you go to a place like this and you start laughing, it takes weight off you and you feel better after you laugh a little bit. Because people don't laugh enough, they need to come to class more often.
Ange Fouasse, 84: It takes stress away. It's good for my whole body, for my whole person. I think it's wonderful and I never miss a class.
Carman is participating in World Laughter Day, which takes place Sunday, May 3. There will be a Laughter Yoga session at the Oodena Circle at The Forks from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit Laughter Yoga's website.