by Daniel Flynn: This video is what happens when you take a camera along and try to get people to do yoga with you on the streets of Portland.
Before becoming a yoga teacher and director of a non-profit, I’d done some comedy improv and recently I’ve missed it. I miss the co-creation and the immediacy of connection which is a true living in the moment experience that gives me such a feeling of aliveness. It’s one of the most pleasurable ways to connect, and the potential humor that ensues, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.
Laughter is something we all need to survive and to thrive. It’s how we lighten up and connect to each other.Without it we can become hard, bogged down and Goddess forbid: overly serious and grave, the path to the dark side indeed.
Maya, the great illusion
In a nutshell, Maya means illusion. In yoga philosophy it’s the illusion that you are separate from others, separate from the Creator (or Co-Creator if you will). It’s the illusion that you have to do it on your own. Humor reminds us to lighten up and realize that there is no separation.
We are always connected to infinite creativity, possibility and each other and it’s in our connections with one other where this creativity finds voice. The connection to each other is real. In a profound way it’s our hearts and laughter that are meant to be shared.
When we laugh with others we literally get on the same vibration. Just hearing someone laugh we start to smile. When we watch a comedy alone we may not laugh out loud, but when we watch it with others, we’re laughing away, riding a wave of co-created energy.
We are designed to laugh and celebrate together. Our brains are wired for it. As Richard Boyatzis, an expert in emotional intelligence says, “In a neurological sense, laughing represents the shortest distance between two people.” It connects us.
I work for a non-profit that teaches yoga to challenged youth, and I teach yoga in a lock-down facility for teen boys dealing with addiction issues. These kids are experiencing very challenging lives but they love to connect through laughter. They crave it. Being myself in the moment, bringing a sense of play helps me connect with them. It also helps them to experiment and play in the challenging poses that yoga offers in a non-judgmental way.
If we can laugh. we can endure.
When we lighten up and laugh, at ourselves and at the wonders of the human condition, we become free. Inhibitions and insecurities fade, emotions find a voice and release.
So take a big breath, allow yourself to connect with others, and exhale with a smile. Come back to the beauty and joy that is you. The world is waiting to laugh with you. It really is.