I attended a rather interesting program at a public library a few towns over from me. The program was “Laughter Yoga.” I have heard about using laughing and breathing techniques for relieving stress, but I never actually did it. I learned that a doctor from India, Dr. Madan Kataria, developed Laughter Yoga as a wellbeing workout.
There were six of us in the program, plus the presenter. The presenter talked briefly about the premise of Laughter Yoga. Then, we got right to it. We began with a few laughter chants (“Ha Ha Ha, Hee Hee Hee, Ho Ho Ho”). Surprisingly, those simple chants turned into contagious laughter. Once we all settled down, we did more chants, more laughter, and so on. We were encouraged to make silly faces or movements to further our laughter. I laugh just thinking about my experience in this program. I did some more research on Laughter Yoga, and Dr. Kataria states that it is entirely possible to achieve the benefits from laughter just as much as when you are alone or in a group. So, I’m sitting here laughing. My dog is looking at me like I just got out of the loony bin, but it feels good. School, work, boyfriend problems, packing and moving are all stressful things in my life right now, but I’m laughing. All of my stress is on the back burner, even if it is just for a moment.
I highly suggest everyone take some time out during his or her days and laugh. You might feel like a weirdo at first, but it is very refreshing.
I think programs like these, which deviate from book groups, crafts, and other programs usually offered at a public library, are important for all patrons. Different programs offer a new and informative outlook for patrons. Librarians can also create booklists or pathfinders that relate to what is taught in a program, and reach out to their patrons. Reel them in with a fun program, and keep them coming back to the library for more information.
Here is Dr. Kataria's website about Laughter Yoga, and below is a video of Dr. Kataria explaining the premise of Laughter Yoga.