“Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health.” -Proverb

In my efforts to maintain personal balance and manage my health, I am always on the lookout for new ways to develop more self-awareness, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. Recently, I began taking an Iyengar yoga class as yoga therapy, supplementing my regular yoga practice as well as my chiropractic visits. (Since my car accident in 2008, spinal alignment has been wonky at best!) What an interesting experience!

The Iyengar practice is much more focused on correct body alignment in the poses. Our instructor is a man who has no qualms about calling a spade, a spade…and if you are not in proper alignment, he will help you get there so you can feel the difference and be able to get there yourself over time with practice. In a recent class, I learned a whole new way to feel Downward Facing Dog pose. Did I ever!

Basically, it began with understanding that the hips, legs, and ankles need to move in a certain way to do the pose correctly for the body. Getting into the pose, my instructor pointed out where I was having problems finding the correct alignment, but I just could not grasp what he was trying to get me to do. So, he and a fellow yogi assisted me in the pose, taking two straps and placing them into my hip creases around my thighs while I was in the downdog pose, then lifting up and out, ensuring the correct torque of the hips, legs, and ankles, and the lift and separation of the buttocks. He noted that it was very important in the pose to enable the release of the anal pucker.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that it is very difficult for me to not make a wise crack when the opportunity presents itself. And the opportunity surrounding the words “anal pucker”? OMG!!! So there I was, feeling “lifted and separated”, extremely grateful that I was not “gassy” that day, and hoping like hell that I could keep my calm because I was close to collapsing in gales of laughter! (Those of you who are old enough will remember the old Cross your heart bra commercials that talked about how the bra “lifted and separated” the “Girls” for a sleek look – that phrase has a whole new meaning to me now!)

That laughter bubbling up inside me was just as, if not more, therapeutic to me than the actual yoga session itself!The pose was good, and it is helping me with my awareness and alignment – but I get into the pose now with a bigger smile on my face, remembering the humour of the situation each time.

Laughter and cheerfulness are the base platform of who I am, how I cope with life in general, and how I react to the world at large. Yes, there are hard times, and there is sorrow in the world. But I choose not to dwell there. Looking around, there is so much to smile at, laugh at, or find hysterically funny. And every time we do that, we heal ourselves just a little bit more.

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” -Irish Proverb

So – didja hear the one about the horse that walked into a bar?…

Namaste – and keep seeking the laughter all around us!