There’s one creative class that’s been scaring more Gymboxers than we’ve ever seen before. No, not Deathrow. Not even Flatline. It’s… Laughing Therapy. And why wouldn’t it? Us Londoners aren’t necessarily the best at rocking up to stuff that almost guarantees some level of social discomfort. But as our blogger Lucy would find out, it really does do you good to have a bit of a giggle from time to time…
It was a viciously cold Tuesday evening. I was hangry, with only a dry rice cake for comfort. I’d spent the last hour of the working day losing my shit at various technological objects that seemed to plan a co-ordinated assault on my patience and sanity. Did I feel in the mood to turn up to one of the weirdest sounding classes Gymbox had ever launched? No. No I did not. But would I emerge on the other side of Laughing Therapy a less aggy hag? Well, it’d be impossible not to.
Master Trainer Jess welcomed us into the room acknowledging the closeness of the mats and laughing about it setting the tone for the awkwardness we were about to endure. Sure, it may sound like a Londoners’ worst nightmare. But it soon transpired that being given the green light to yank the standard-issue stick out of our arses is quite liberating, really.
So, what actually happened in the most ludicrous 45 minutes of physical activity I’ve ever experienced with my clothes on? Well, first of all I learned that the principles of Laughing Yoga that this class is based on have been lowering stress, improving mood and even boosting the health of people around the world for some 25 years. Knowledge I felt particularly grateful of as soon as Jess got us giggling and jiggling around in downward dog as if I had a ‘saltshaker’ in my butt. Well, who am I to deny science?
In terms of the non-condiment-based movements; relaxation followed by a number of sun salutations, twists, stretches and breathing exercises began our mission to eradicate grump levels. Even though we worked through “proper” poses, Jess invited us to do it our way – to keep it loose, expressive and to have fun with the way each move felt. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete newbie or some MegaYogi; the focus of the class is about doing what feels good – something everyone seemed to experience judging by the vibe of the room.
So, what about the laughing bit? Escalating quickly from yawning to silent chuckling to full-on cackling-like-a-lunatic, it’s essentially something that helps you explore different ways of breathing. It was a kind of ‘letting go’ that also spilt over into sporadic outbursts of dance, hand clapping and chanting that would have made the me-of-25-minutes-ago want to weep. But mood already fully enhanced, there I was flailing with the best of them.
Things did get… weird. I don’t want to go into detail (*spoilers*) but let’s just say that anyone touring the gym and dropping by Studio 2 that evening may or may not have seen a room full of adults rolling into happy baby going “wheeeeeeee!!”
I could say something about laughter being the best medicine, but let’s be honest – there’s probably a fair few NHS staff who would dispute that. But as a semi-professional whinger and champion stress-head, I am deliriously happy to confirm: Laughing Therapy gets the nod from me.
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