By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
I had the opportunity recently to join more than two dozen residents of the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in McHenry, Illinois, for an introductory session on Laughter Yoga.
None of us had ever experienced Laughter Yoga before so we had no idea what to expect.
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Motivational Speaker Caryl Derenfeld conducted the session. She is the owner of a company called Learned Conversations.
Caryl explained that Laughter Yoga was developed by Dr. Matan Kataria of India as a way of achieving better overall health and well-being. It consists of a series of exercises that involve breathing, stretching, clapping and laughing.
Laughing increases your oxygen intake, Caryl said, which benefits both your body and your mind. It also increases your endorphin levels and reduces stress.
One of the beauties of Laughter Yoga, especially for older adults who may have some frailties, is that you can do it while sitting in a chair or while standing.
A key is that you are laughing for laughter’s sake. You are always laughing with other people, not at other people.
Caryl added that your body does not know the difference between real laughter and fake laughter. All that I ask is that if you do fake your laughter, you do it to the utmost.
We spent more than 20 minutes participating in the Laughter Yoga exercises. This was followed by a period of meditation and then feedback from the residents who participated.
For more information on Laughter Yoga, I invite you to visit learnedconversations.com/laughter_yoga and to watch these videos of a conversation I had about the Laughter Yoga session at Heritage Woods of McHenry with Janet Michel, the community’s Director of Resident Services, and Jenneen Hansen, Director of Marketing.
For those of you near the Quad Cities, a Laughter Yoga program is being held this Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Aledo, Illinois.
The program will be conducted by Tara Wassel from Homebound Healthcare.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”