Laughter yoga session lights up November blues; practice combines poses with relaxation

Many practice yoga to attain a feeling of inner peace and serenity — and sometimes loud peals of laughter.

Sweeney Hall on Wednesday evening was filled with contemporary music, yoga and laughter as laughter yoga took over the basement of the hall.

Wheeler Residence Hall Director Sara Olsztyn led a group of about 20 female students in a routine that utilized both traditional yoga poses as well as exercises from laughter yoga.

“We don’t get time to act silly all the time,” said Olsztyn, who is also a certified yoga and laughter yoga instructor.

Laughter loga combines relaxing, breathing, movements and silliness to change the mood of participants.

“They can call this yoga because it has a lot to do with breath.” Olsztyn said. “A full on laughter yoga session is awkward, so we’re going to do both.”

Before the session, Olsztyn asked the group how they were feeling and the most common response was “stressed.”

Olsztyn said 98 percent of the time the feelings are different from the beginning of a laughter yoga session to the end.

The basement of Sweeney Hall was no exception as the most common response from participants at the end of the session was “relaxed.”

“I feel very stretched out,” said Clarkston freshman Anne Marie Hart. “It was refreshing.”

Olsztyn prepared the group to begin laughing with a central piece of advice.

“The No. 1 rule is ‘fake it until you make it’,” she said.

The fake laughing began immediately as the female students all introduced themselves, but the fake laughs quickly turned into real laughs.

While some of the participants had done yoga before, many others have never tried it.

“I was an athlete,” said Chelsea Culter a Carleton sophomore, “but I’ve never done any slower stuff.”

Culter said she felt a stressed before the session but felt relaxed, and “a little tired,” after the session.

As it came to an end, Olsztyn led the group in a routine of classic poses, which led into a cool down exercise.

The session closed with Olsztyn telling the group when they feel alone, they can always remember the connection they share.

She said, “We are all connected to each other as CMU students.”


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