The 52: Lesson Forty Seven: Lighten Up! Laugh! It’s Good for You!

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butterflyblueskyGo ahead.  Lighten up! Indulge yourself. Have a good laugh.  You will be doing more to benefit yourself than you might imagine!  Your body and mind will indeed feel lighter because you will be releasing “happy” hormones into your system.  You will be increasing the strength of your immune system.  The oxygen levels will be greater  in both your body and your brain. You will cast out anxiety and stress, all while having a good time doing it.  And you will increase the energy of light and joy and love all around you.  It sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

One of my favorite yoga classes has been on this very subject, of being light.  We focus on feeling our bodies growing lighter and more free.  We laugh freely throughout the class and sometimes sharing our favorite jokes.  One of mine is this:  What did the yogi say to the hot dog vendor?  “Make me one with everything.” Haha.  Then the yogi gave the hot dog vendor a $20 bill.  When no change was offered, the yogi said, “Hey, where’s the change?” The vendor said, “Change comes from within.” Hahahaha!

This class is not a trivial thing.  It offers important lessons about being the Light itself, about not taking ourselves or the world too seriously (an epidemic of seriousness and spiritual conceit has run rampant in the yoga community), and serves as a reminder that everything, including the goofy and wacky, is there for us as a gift of Divine Consciousness.

LESSON FORTY SEVEN

LIGHTEN UP!

What a perfect moment to lighten up!  As daylight hours diminish here in the Northeast United States, some of us feel starved for light.  Holidays arrive with the traditions of lighted candles and sparkling glitter.  But it is nice to know that we, you and I, carry the Light within us all the time, and we experience it in many ways.

Swami Muktananda, a Siddha Yoga guru who has inspired many of my teachings and who seemed to take me under his wing (though he had already left his body or, as we say, died) said this:

See the world as a divine play, as the light of your own soul, and enjoy it while still laughing happily.

I have fond memories of a video containing many clips of him laughing.  It was shown at a special ceremony at an ashram celebrating Muktananda’s life.  The laughter on the screen was contagious.  After that, and much to my surprise, it seemed that he took to manifesting some very funny objects into my yoga room, all with a lesson contained within.  He taught me the value of being light and of laughing.

I needed that lesson! It helped me to remember that Dr. Bernie Seigel, the author of many books about those facing life threatening diseases, always lauds the miraculous ability of laughter in the process of healing.  In recent years, a new kind of yoga has emerged.  It is called Laughter Yoga.  It encourages childlike playfulness (who wouldn’t like a return to this?) that results in bursts of natural laughter. It was begun in India by a medical doctor, Madan Kataria, seeking to learn if cancer patients who laughed (in this special class he invented) would be more likely to heal.  Proof was shown and, today, Laughter Yoga is circling the globe.

What about you?  Are you weighted down with so many serious responsibilities that there is no time to laugh?  Give yourself permission!  Let’s call it a prescription for good health and happiness.  The doctor orders that you prioritize laughter!  Here are some ideas:

  • Watch a funny movie.  Maybe something you have seen before or a new one.  Pick one that makes you laugh out loud.
  • Hang out with a friend with whom you can share some funny times, someone who makes you laugh and encourages this lightness within you. If you can’t see someone in person, call them on the telephone.  I have some friends who share my ludicrous and silly sense of humor and I always feel so much happier after talking with them. No one else understands our merriment, but we do.
  • Choose a book of cartoons or humorous writing.  I have favorites around the house.  The Far Side still makes me laugh and a big coffee table book of cartoons of The New Yorker is guaranteed to evoke humor, though not the same as the sillier books I have.
  • Remember moments in the past when you laughed uncontrollably.  You know the kind of laughter that can’t be suppressed but bubbles over. I have many to draw from.
  • Check out TV series, even old ones. We have the complete set of the Monty Python series.  One look at the “silly walks” and I will be laughing.
  • Seek out original and novel ways to laugh.  Put it on your schedule as a priority.

Remember that it is up to you to choose your form of humor.  Let it spring directly from your heart and soul.  Let it sustain you.  See how much lighter and happier your life will become — and how much healthier you will be, as a special side benefit.  I’m not kidding!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

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About deannemincer

Deanne Mincer has been a long time student of religious and spiritual studies. For many years, she was a practitioner of yoga and in the late 1980's she was drawn to share her enthusiasm by becoming a yoga teacher. Her certification, from the Himalayan Institute, was a comprehensive two year program including the study of anatomy, diet, nutrition, Ayurvedic medical practices, the methods of teaching hatha yoga, the science of breath and the study of raja (the royal path of yoga) philosophy. She has taught yoga, meditation, and spiritual classes for more than twenty years. In the mid 1990's she became a follower of Siddha Yoga where she experienced a spiritual awakening called shaktipat and her teachings took on a new and freshly informed understanding. As Deanne continued her studies, she learned level one in Reiki and also sutdied with Henry Grayson, Ph.D. where she refined her work with muscle testing and the complex of energy healing methods Dr. Grayson has developed for use with his patients. Dr. Grayson's work is illuminated in his books, Mindful Loving and Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind. Deanne teaches group and private classes in yoga as well as stress reduction programs and meditation in many forms (sitting, walking, whirling, meditation in action, and "sleeping" meditation called yoga nidra). She has developed methods of using yoga in treating those with life threatening diseases as in the programs she designed for Gilda's Club and Friends in Deed in New York City. She was a consulting producer on an alternative health program for CNBC's Alive and Wellness, and she has demonstrated yoga on network television. Deanne created the audio DC, Inner Light Yoga with Deanne Mincer and she has spoken widely and demonstrated meditation in many venues. Deanne is an enthusiastic and joyful teacher. She is known for the keen interest she takes in her students' physical and spiritual development. She stresses that each student should work at their own pace in a non-competitive and caring environment. You can read some of the comments her students have shared in the Tesimonials Section of this site. Her teaching is grounded in her own steadfast spiritual awareness - that each of us is a being of eternal light and love and that we can all come to knowing this truth for ourselves. She is eager to help guide you on this joyful path of body, mind, breath and spirit.

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