While I was browsing Twitter recently I came across Who London, a social club for the over 50s based in London. I connected with the founder Alexandra Felce and we met for coffee.
Alex explained that she created Who London after her own, and her mother’s experiences of socialising. In general events weren’t well organised and people often cancelled at the last minute. That was if you had a group of friends to socialise with. Alex’s mother, Carole, found that it wasn’t at all easy to meet new people or to increase your social network once you were over fifty. So, Alex set to work creating a social club for people to enjoy each other’s company while taking part in a variety of activities.
Who London take all the hassle out of socialising by organising a range of events to suit every taste, including wine tastings, walks and tours, dinners, tai chi and laughing yoga. It was this last event that caught my eye and with absolutely no idea what laughing yoga entailed I signed up.
Not only did I sign up, I also roped in my friend Jane thinking the exercise would do us both good. With this in mind I turned up in full gym kit expecting to embrace my downward dog and perfect my pigeon pose while belly laughing with the rest of the class. In fact, our instructor Robin Graham went back to basics and explained the benefits of laughter. It turns out that a damn good laugh has many health benefits and may even prevent illness. Laughter can reduce the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, boost the immune system and can help in breaking down barriers between people, increase positive thinking and reduce depression.
Robin certainly had us breaking down barriers as we found different ways of expressing laughter and interacting with each other. There really was some laugh out loud moments which might have been due to the fact that even when he is being serious, Robin Graham has a way of making you laugh.
The lively group certainly put their inhibitions aside and went with the flow discovering that laughing yoga certainly makes you live in the moment, it’s hard to think of the work you’ve left behind or what to make for supper when you are fully immersed in laughter.
Although laughing yoga was nothing like I was expecting, not once did I lie on the floor or raise my legs above my head, it was fun, good stress relief and the gentle exercises helped to loosen up any tension in my neck and shoulders.
Who London have hit on a great solution for bringing older people together in fun and enjoyable situations, where the organisation is taken care of and there’s a real chance of building future friendships.
If you are based in London, looking for a little fun and friendship, Who London events cost from £6.00
Our class wasn’t as vigorous as I was expecting, but Jane and I did walk to and from our laughing yoga session which meant that we felt completely justified in having a glass of wine with our lunch – funny that!