An uncoventional twist to yoga

Admittedly, I did have some preconceptions going into my first (and likely last) laughing yoga adventure. What I expected to find was a circle of people sitting in a dimly lit studio, who would begin by awkwardly laughing until genuine laughter began to erupt at the ridiculous image of forced hilarity. Not something I would normally seek out to do, but it had potential.

The reality was a series of more or less planned “exercises,” designed to make light of life’s formalities. We began by introducing our names and our jobs, then forcibly laughing one by one to break the ice. I am not a convincing actress. My awkward attempt at a “laugh” sounded more like a donkey’s bray. However, the instructor’s carefree attitude and genuine commitment to the activities provided a good platform from which to base our own imitations.

For some, having an entirely self-assured role model was enough inspiration to stand in a small group in the Uptown Waterloo public square and pretend to be dogs, or to mimic swimming through the air while loudly laughing. Power to those people, seriously. I really do think it’s admirable to have such disregard for the opinions of strangers, and to be completely at ease with acting in such an unconventional manner.

That being said, I am not one of those people. Perhaps what I learned from laughing yoga is that it’s not for the awkward at heart. It seemed to me that it was either the kind of thing you loved from the onset, or something that you did with a forced smile plastered across your face, while secretly glancing around to see if anyone you knew was watching nearby. Yes, yes they were. But that’s another story.

Although the group was only small, capping out at about eight or nine people, I think it’s fair to say it was a success overall. Those who attended were fully immersed, and seemed to truly enjoy themselves. While I did not personally gain a lot from it, it wouldn’t be fair to say that I found it to be a negative experience, or that I would expect it to be for others. In my opinion, it’s a matter of personality and not necessarily a consequence of a poor attitude or lack of confidence.

For better or worse, it’s not an experience I’ll soon forget, but for now I think I’ll stick to episodes of Friends and romantic comedies for a few quick laughs.

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