Late last week, I jumped in my car and headed about 505 kilometres west of my hometown to present a conference workshop. If I was in Europe, that would be like driving from Paris to Bern and then a bit further. Instead, in Australia, I was still within my own home state of Queensland.
Driving, rather than catching a plane, provides perspective. It gives some insight into the vastness and diversity of this great land and the challenge of social connection.
About 200 women headed to Roma in the Maranoa, gathering for the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) annual conference focusing on nurturing the innate strengths of its members to encourage their leadership in community.
Yes, there was discussion of burning issues like accessibility to reliable telecommunications and farm safe practices.
Foremost, QRRRWN provided two days’ to refuel energy levels, reframe thinking and renew friendships: to top up their resilience tool kit for personal, family and community applications.
And they’ve gone home with, among other skills, some laughter yoga techniques.
It’s easy to laugh when in company: it takes more practice and determination to laugh alone for wellbeing. A previous blog covered my favourite 5 laugh alone exercises. Here are a few more to add to your routine.
These three accentuate the slow deep yoga breath with gentle stretching.
Rise and Smile
Stand tall with legs about shoulder distance apart. As you take a deep breath in, raise your right arm, with clenched fist, above your head and stretch as much as you can towards your left. Exhale “haaaaa” through your mouth with a smile and an unclenched fist. Close your mouth and fist on the inhale and repeat three times. Then change sides and repeat as before.
As you take a deep long slow breath in through your nose, lift your shoulders. Exhale through the mouth with a strong “Haaaa” and let the shoulders drop. Repeat a few times
Hold your arms out in front, at shoulder height, palms up. As you breathe in slow and deep, feeling your belly extend, draw your arms in towards your chest. Imagine you are dragging that breath in with your hands and lungs. Hold the breath for as long as is comfortable. As you exhale, extend your arms in front as though you are physically releasing the breath. Repeat 3 times. Now inhale as before but hold a little longer and let the breath out as an explosive laugh.Want to do it again? Go for it!
The following laughter yoga exercise taps into inner joy.
Treasure in your hand
Conjure up a favourite memory: a treasured thought. This is precious to you. Grasp it, hold it tight in one hand, curling your fingers around the ‘memory’ and covering it for safe keeping with your other hand. Move your ‘treasure’ to your eye line and peek inside, smiling. Laugh to yourself. This is your secret treasure and it’s with you whenever you need it.
You can laugh alone. Go ahead – do it for your health and wellbeing. You know you’ll feel good!
(c) Heather Grant-Campbell aka Heather Joy