Now there’s a question that maybe no one else is asking. Perhaps the query will become more interesting as I offer my answer. After about 17 years of practicing yoga, I finally decided to become a yoga teacher. Many people will take the 200 hours of training to “deepen their practice” without any intentions to teach. Whereas that was somewhat true of me, I also had some yearning to combine my 35 years of teaching and coaching experience with my growing passion for yoga. I have been leading laughter yoga for a dozen years (just surpassing 550 sessions and 33,000 participants led), but this is a new challenge.

This morning as I was contemplating teaching my first “real yoga” class (Yoga for the Inflexible, offered by University of Alberta Campus & Community Recreation), I noticed that all my experience and acknowledgements were less salient than the concerns and nerves for teaching something new. I frequently put myself in the position of being a learner, partly to support my empathy for students. Yet, my lived sense of what it is like for the graduate students for whom I do a workshop each year about the first day of class was certainly heightened. I take some solace in knowing that all my past worries about new teaching experiences, like working with a translator in Thailand, ended up being unwarranted. The faulty internal dialogue says that maybe it was the anxiety that led me to prepare and is why it worked out. All this is background noise to address the inquiry I posed.

I’YinBolsterm teaching a class that I created combining Laughter Yoga and Yin Yoga both because I think it offers a novel contribution to what people are seeking and it is a real self-expression. I see that people are laughter_yogadisconnected from themselves, each other, and the planet. We are hungry for wholeness and we often can’t articulate the problem or see good solutions. Yoga provides a wonderful variety of ways to connect us to ourselves, yet it is often a solitary practice and it can too easily be what I call “yoga-inspired exercise” or yoga-robics. Laughter yoga is very social and it provides the sangha or community that I believe is part of the design and benefit of yoga. Yin offers a balance from our frenetic lives and it greatly reduces the chance that one will practice more striving and doing. It is a gentle way of passively letting go. Laughter is the yang or more active way of letting go.

I’m teaching Laugh Yin as a way to provide a balanced, social, practice of connecting with ourselves, each other, and the planet. I’m doing this because it provides unique benefits and I’m one of the few people to have the background and training to offer it. This will be a playful and heartful experience marrying two wonderful approaches to happiness and wholeness.

Laugh Yin will be offered on Thursdays from 4:35pm to 5:55pm in the Van Vliet Centre on the University of Alberta campus. If you are in Edmonton or know people who are, registration is available at https://www.activityreg.ualberta.ca/ using barcode 33696 or the Advanced Search and enter “laugh” to find the course.

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