By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 4/20/2015

Every month our active, older adults meet for Jim Dandies, our longest running small group. There is a meal, a speaker, and good times. The laughter flows freely, and that is why I was skeptical when I heard that our speaker was going to have us engage in group aerobic laughter. Organized, aerobic laughter, have you ever heard of such a thing? Now if you're like me, you've probably laughed until you've cried, but you probably haven't laughed until you've broken a sweat. I imagined CrossFit trainers adding tickling to their morning workout of the day or the Wellness Center adding a comedian to their staff.

HA-HA-HA. Breathe. HE-HE-HE. Breathe. We were very self-conscious at first. Then it happened, people began to be less selfconscious of their own gestures and began to look around the room and just laugh.

Amy Cuddy, a Harvard psychologist recently completed a study demonstrating that positioning our bodies a certain way actually affects our biochemistry. Strike a powerful pose and you feel more powerful. In need of inner peace? Then pay attention to your breathing. We were doing just that.This is something the church has always known, yet we have forgotten. There is no separation between body and spirit. We are embodied souls who need to tend to both our inner and outer life. By the end of the day, I was convinced that group aerobic laughter was indeed good for the soul. All of our gestures of Grace have meaning.

So laugh, breathe, meditate, or strike a pose.