September 08: Working the funny bone

September 08: Working the funny bone

Laughing robustly to oneself for no apparent reason: It’s a sign of madness, yes? Not if you’re Leigh Meredith. For her, it’s a sign of a life pointed in the right direction.

Meredith teaches Laughter Yoga, a highly physical practice that is almost zero percent yoga in the traditional sense and 100 percent laughter in the nontraditional sense. In her classes, Meredith builds through a series of laughing exercises (chucking, laughing without sound, laughing melodically, laughing in character—a party hostess, say) to a five-minute crescendo of uninterrupted—and contagious—laughing. You lie back, gaze at the ceiling and pump that diaphragm to keep the sound coming until your stomach muscles ache and your lungs are refreshed and you can’t quite remember what had you so stressed an hour ago when you walked in.

Ha! Leigh Meredith says, "The more you laugh, the more you love."

“We’re very used to living in our logical minds and they say, ‘Something is funny and therefore I laugh.’” she says. “Laughter Yoga says, ‘I laugh and therefore something is funny.’”

Meredith says real science backs up the idea that laughing releases feel-good endorphins, promotes greater absorption of oxygen, increases mood-lifting seratonin, and more. Check out her workshops at Studio 206 (296-6250).

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