“The enlightened mystic most associated with laughter is Hotei…a large man with a big belly who traveled from village to village in sixteenth-century Japan. Hotei’s laughter was so contagious people all found themselves doubled over with laughter, and they forgot all their judgments. Even when they asked him questions about enlightenment, Hotei would just laugh. Soon they forgot their questions, the laughter was so infectious… After laughing with such totality, they found that all their senses had sharpened. Their whole being had become lighter, as if a great burden had been lifted… Something from the unknowable depth started ringing bells in people’s hearts.” (discovermeditation.com)
The best thing about laughing yoga? It is itself a joke! Granted, it’s an inside joke, but is, nonetheless, a joke. The science of yoga is simply a methodical approach to right living. It assumes an underlying principle of conscious intelligence. As we age, we often forget how to stand and sit, how to move and use the body. How to breathe, and yes, how to laugh.
We fall into unconscious habit that is effective for getting through life. It’s based on how we learned to use our bodies as infants up to the age of 5, or so. We learn principally by mimicking others. Then, as we get on in life, people say to us, “You walk just like your mom,” or “You sound just like your dad.” Now you know why, and you also know why various dis-eased conditions are found in a number of family members. When you adopted the unconscious habits of your parents, older siblings and others, you unconsciously adopted the conditions that led to their health problems. That does not mean that you haven’t the potential to move like a ballerina or a gymnast, it simply means that you have never cultivated the ability to move as they do. Yoga contends that your body is genetically programmed with the intelligence to move with the grace that you admire in others. The ability is there, It simply needs to be reawakened.
So, it is advised that if your body feels stiff, painful, and moves with the grace of an aging ape, you should find a good hatha yoga class where you can examine your body as it is, and watch as it grows to it’s fullest potential at this time in your life. And if, God forbid, you have forgotten how to laugh, get thee to the abode of Hotei, the Laughing Buddha. One of his disciples will happily, and with great joy, lead you there.