My daughter always encourages me to “practice yoga” – “it’s good for you mom.” And yes, she’s right. Every time I take a class, I feel better – more relaxed and definitely more flexible.
So when I recently read about a “Laughter Yoga” class at Studio Beju in Duvall, I knew I had to check it out. My motivating thought was that I typically laugh at myself as I am attempting certain stretches so I am already doing it to an extent.
I called Randee Young, owner, with LaughterGlow to find out more.
Her classes in Duvall were on summer hiatus so as an alternative she invited me to a class she was teaching at Fairwinds Retirement Community in Redmond.
Not knowing what to expect, I showed up in my yoga gear, with my yoga mat, and water bottle. I walked into the classroom and realized immediately that I was overdressed so to speak. Regular street clothes would have sufficed and since chairs were arranged in a half circle it was unlikely I’d need my mat. But it was a good opportunity for me to immediately laugh at myself so I knew I was starting the class off right. (Please note that the senior classes are typically taught in chairs whereas other classes with younger clientele involve moving around more.)
There were five lovely ladies, who were residents of Fairwinds, in the class with me. Randee welcomed everyone, and let the ladies know that I was participating to learn more about Laughter Yoga for a story that I was writing.
As with all yoga classes (or at least the ones I have attended), we started with breathing exercises. Then along with the breathing, we added stretches, and you guessed it laughing, giggling, and smiling. More fun and humor followed with us making silly faces and laughing at each other in our small group. I may have started out faking my laughs, but soon I was truly laughing. Maybe in part because I was wondering what anyone who walked by might have thought of our antics.
As a class leader, Randee has an aura about her that makes you instantly feel good. She is relaxed and helps you relax as well. Her smile is genuine, and she really seemed to enjoy laughing with us.
As Randee explained Laughter Yoga is good for us on many levels. Laughter releases endorphins that give us the “feel good factor.” It promotes positive thinking, improves respiration and circulation, and reduces stress and tension.
Laughter Yoga is really a thing too – throughout the world – no joke. Dr. Madan Kataria developed it over 25 years ago. Randee learned about it from a guest speaker at Fairwinds. She enjoyed the class so much she became leader certified and now has her teacher certification, which allows her to train others.
The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits. Clinical research has proved that laughter lowers the level of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, etc.) in the blood.
Following 30 minutes of fun, Randee ended the class with a total relaxation segment that left me refreshed and clear-headed.
As I was driving home, a driver who was driving very erratically cut me off. Admittedly, I had a flash of anger that I was able to turn off I know due to the class that I had just taken. I thought about that driver, and many others who could benefit from yoga and a dose of laughter in their lives. When I later mentioned this to Randee she agreed and said that Laughter Yoga has helped her deal with traffic by letting out a “Ha, Ha, Ho” instead of letting getting angry.
Randee has spent most of her life in Washington state and has lived the last 10 years in Duvall. In addition to her LaughterGlow business, she is the Guest Services Manager at Fairwinds.
I asked her what she enjoys most about Duvall. She said she loves the small town feel of Duvall and the access to the outdoors. Randee along with her husband and dog spend many afternoons on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
Classes at Studio Beju will start again in the fall according to Randee, but in the meantime, she’s available for private and group sessions that promote team building and support. Randee is looking “for more opportunities to spread the joy of laughter.”