Glen Wilkins tests out the new Joe Hoare Online Course
The course was split into three separate sections during the day, each short and achievable even when I felt like I had no-time. I practiced morning, lunchtime and evening and there were online videos to help.
The morning practice was a series of smiling exercises. Smiling at yourself in the mirror seemed quite strange at first, and I did feel a little uncomfortable. I’m not very happy looking at myself, so this was hard for me, but after a few days it became easier and was actually fun to do. You are asked to be aware of your feelings while you do the smiling practice and to write them down in a notebook each day. I chose to write about all three practices together in the evening.
The last part of the morning practice was to smile (appropriately) at a stranger during the morning commute. It was a really nice way to start my day off. It gave me a short space to breathe and to stop thinking about what may happen during the day. It made it easier for me to smile during the day and I also became more aware of what I was feeling at any moment, as well as setting a nice tone for the day ahead. I did notice (on a good day) that people were smiling back on the train, and that felt good.
The midday practice uses movement and physical activity to banish stress and it is a great way to break the over-thinking cycle – something that has affected me all my adult life – so I was keen to try this. Again, it is short and easy to do, stretching, shrugging shoulders, rolling your neck and shaking to loosen you up. Then outside for a brisk walk; this was nice and easy in the sunshine in the local park. It was very relaxing but also a welcome relief after working at my desk in front of the computer. Again, you had to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings before and after the exercises and to note them down.
The evening practice for me was the most enjoyable and easiest to get into and is based on breathing exercises. I’ve been practising breath meditation for a few years now so I enjoyed this very much and it didn’t feel much different to my usual evening routines. During the exercise, I try to concentrate on the feeling of the air entering my nostril – it’s an easy way to get focus. This part of the course is the longest at 5-10 minutes and really helped me to get to sleep. The final part of the evening practice is to write down three things that you are or have been grateful for that day.
At the end of each week I got an email from Joe asking me to look through my notes for the week. To reflect on how the course had affected my week and to be aware of feelings and thoughts.
I really enjoyed the course, felt calmer and happier and, for me, it helped me to be more aware of how I felt during the three weeks and helped me to switch off that auto-pilot that I go into regularly. I occasionally missed a practice, but Joe says that’s fine and that as soon as you start again the positive effects come back almost immediately. I’m still continuing all three practices as they are quick and easy and enjoyable.
I’ve also got back into writing in my notebook about how I feel and think. I’ve had a very positive experience with this course. KS
FIND OUT MORE
Joe Hoare is one of the UK’s leading Laughter Yoga therapists, who has dedicated himself to encouraging people to connect with their benign, creative individuality and to perform at their best.
Living More Joyfully is a 3-week online course from Joe Hoare that costs £33.
As a New Year special offer exclusively for Kindred Spirit readers, Joe is offering the course for just £22, saving you £11 on the normal price. Simply enter the access code HH22 at payment stage. Offer ends 31.1.18.