How to throw a laughter javelin: Yoga workshop a hit at Hull centre
DOING impressions of an elephant or pretending to have an electric shock is bound to raise a chuckle.
At a new Laughter Yoga class launched in Hull yesterday, adults were transported back to their childhoods.
As adults, we only laugh about 15 times a day – compared to 300 times a day as children – but that soon changes when you join in the workshop, being held monthly at Age UK in Hull.
Throughout the hour, the laughter ranged from giggles to loud chuckles and tears of joy as participants pretended to surf, throw a "laughter javelin" and giggled through a make-believe mobile phone conversation.
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"One of the benefits of Laughter Yoga is that it breaks down barriers," said tutor Pam Medhurst.
"It also has lots of benefits mentally, but you do get cardio benefits too.
"You breathe in more oxygen, work your stomach muscles and it is good for the heart.
"As adults, we don't laugh enough."
The group starts with a few warm-up stretches, before they were invited to go around shaking each other's hands and pretending to have an electric shock.
Next, everyone introduces themselves by jumping into the circle and saying their name, before the entire group mimics the move back and says "hello".
Hilary Clough went for the classic "jazz hands" pose while her friend Jean was inspired by the Olympics with a Usain Bolt.
Hilary, 64, who lives in the city centre, said: "I thought the class was absolutely fantastic – I will definitely be coming again.
"I felt loads better after the class.
"My jaw was aching and I could feel my tummy muscles, so it is like getting a workout."
Although the classes are held at Age UK Hull in Porter Street, they are open to people of any age.
Younger people on work placements at the centre also decided to have a go.
Simon Hankin, 23, of east Hull, was the only male in the class.
"After a few minutes, the barriers were down and everyone was just giggling," he said.
"Before we started, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it ended up being really good."
Aimee Leighgreen had tears rolling down her face as she pretended to laugh while talking on a mobile phone.
"I really got the giggles," said the 20-year-old, of west Hull.
"I think it started off as nervous laughter but then I was just laughing at everyone else doing silly poses.
"My favourite bit was when we had to jump in the middle of the circle and say our name – I couldn't stop laughing at all the funny poses everyone did."
Laughter Yoga was created by Dr Madan Katria in India in 1995. Sessions are now regularly held in parks, before Indians head to work.
In much the same way normal yoga classes are run, the workshop ends with a calming breathing session before participants lie on a mat to meditate.
Magdelana Cox, 73, who lives in the Avenues, said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
She said: "It was very different and certainly makes you feel a lot better.
"I was very nervous at first, but by the end of the class I really liked it."
Classes will be held at Age UK Hull on the third Tuesday of the month.
The next sessions take place on October 16, November 20 and December 18 from 1pm to 2pm.
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